Dear Trevor, I have been feeling like no one understands me lately. Like whenever someone in my family fights it somehow ends up always being my fault. And my parents are always commenting on my weight and saying how I need to stop eating so much. I have been wanting to come out as a lesbian to my family for a year now but with this stuff happing I don’t know what will happen. What should I do?
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I’m glad you had the courage to reach out when things at home are difficult. It can be very stressful when you feel like no one understands you and when family members are fighting and you feel pulled into the middle of it. When that happens, try to take yourself out of the situation by going to your room and listening to music or reading a book, talking to a friend, or going out for a walk. Your parents should be supportive of you and not try to make you feel uncomfortable about your weight or what you are eating; sometimes parents think that they are being helpful in making negative comments, but all it does is make you feel upset. What’s most important is that you should be comfortable and confident in your own skin.
It is your decision as to when and how you want to come out to your family. It’s an important decision and you have to make sure that you are comfortable and safe in your home environment. In trying to figure out whether or not to come out, it can help to ask yourself some questions: How does it feel to keep this part of your life secret? Does it cause you stress worrying about your family finding out? Are you worried that if you told your family you might be unsafe emotionally or physically? If you told your parents would you be concerned that they might kick you out of the house? Some people decide to wait until they are living away from home and are financially independent before they tell their family about their sexual orientation. What’s most important in all of this is that YOU feel safe and comfortable.
There are resources that can help as you decide about coming out as a lesbian. The Human Rights Campaign’s “Resource Guide to Coming Out” at www.hrc.org/files/documents/ComingOut_ResourceGuide.pdf may be helpful. In addition, there are resources at www.amplifyyourvoice.org, including information on coming out to parents.
It might help for you to talk to a trusted friend, teacher or relative that can understand your feelings. I also encourage you to check out www.trevorspace.org. This is The Trevor Project’s online social network for LGBTQ youth ages 13-24. This is a safe space for you to connect with other young people with similar questions and find a supportive network of peers. You’ll find that you’re not alone, and that there are people you can reach out to for support.