Hi. I’m a 17 year old girl who comes from a Christian family. All my life, I have heard my father say that people who are not straight are pawns from the Devil. He says there is no worth for him. I’m struggling because it seems like he’s starting to notice things about me. The more I try to hide it from him, the more he smothers me with praise for being a “good, Catholic girl” who “refuses to give in to the Devil”. Sometimes, it gets to the point where I feel like I might explode. I want to be able to tell him, but I’m afraid he won’t accept me for me. I’m still curious about myself, because whenever I’m with a male, I think that being with a female is possible and vise versa. But sometimes, it’s more towards women.
First of all well done for getting in touch about your issues. None of us can solve all this stuff alone. We all need the help of others and that help is out there, you just have to go looking for it and when you find it, take that help. I know how hard it is to live in an environment where you are getting negative messages about being LGBT all the time. we all live in that world, but together we are going to change it. Being a confused about your sexuality and questioning it, is perfectly normal and natural. Know that you are just perfect the way you are, and the way God made you. You are going to have a happy and fulfilled life just as you are, whoever you are. It can help to remember that most people who express anti LGBT sentiment do not know any LGBT people, they have never talked to them or had to experience what it is like to be on the recieving end of homophobic bullying. Their views come from ignorance about what being LGBT really is. This sounds like it is the case with your Dad. There’s no question that he loves you and wants the best for you and like any parent, fears for your safety, but I suspect if he really knew how much his behaviour towards you is hurting you, he’d soon change. Of course you fear he won’t accept you because he has given you every reason to believe that he wont.
Coming out to your parents is very hard and you should feel no pressure to do this until you are absolutely ready. You already know that it’s going to be hard so I think the best thing you can do is prepare yourself. Get educated about coming out to your parents. Understand that they are going to be filled with fears for you based on all the negative and ignorant things they have been told over the years and the distortions of what it says in the bible about being gay. They are going to be full of questions and make many negative statements, and if you can answer some of them and counter some of their fears, then you will feel stronger and more sure of yourself and this will help them to go on their own journey of acceptance.
So here are some places to start that you can check out and that I think will help:
You might find it helpful to write out and rehearse things you want to say. Check out the Human Rights Campaign’s “Resource Guide to Coming Out” at http://www.hrc.org/documents/resourceguide_co.pdf helpful. In addition, on http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/youthresource/comingoutquestions you’ll find an article called “Coming Out to Your Parents: Questions to Think About” which may be of help to you.
Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is a great organization, made up mostly of parents, which supports LGBTQ people and works to help parents and others to become more supportive and accepting of their loved one’s sexual orientation/gender identity. On their website at www.pflag.org click on “Get Support” then click on “For Family & Friends” where you’ll find the pamphlets “Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for Parents of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual People” and “Frequently Asked Questions about GLBT People,” which, if you’re comfortable, you can share with your parents to help them become more understanding and accepting of you. PFLAG also runs support groups where parents and others can discuss questions and concerns they have about a loved one’s sexual orientation and where LGBT people can discuss issues they’re having with people in their life. On their website, you can search for a chapter near you. If no chapter is near you or if your family members won’t attend, you could still contact the nearest chapter and get support and learn ways to help them become more understanding of you.
Please know that you can definitely be religious and gay at the same time. It might also help you to know that though some people, including certain religious leaders, may believe and teach that homosexuality is against the Bible and that you can’t be a good Catholic and be gay, there are many religious leaders and members of religious communities who teach love, acceptance and equality for all of people and are supportive and accepting of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people. To learn about the Biblical scriptures that teach compassion and support for gay people, you might consider reading through the numerous guides on Soulforce’s “Resources” webpage at www.soulforce.org and also reading the PFLAG guide “Faith in our Families: Parents, Families and Friends Talk About Religion and Homosexuality” at http://www.pflag.org/fileadmin/user_upload/FaithinourFamilies.pdf” If you’d like to read more about various opinions regarding faith and sexual orientation, there is also a great resource online called The Institute for Welcoming Resources at http://www.welcomingresources.org/. It is the most comprehensive and up to date website devoted to providing religious and faith based resources for the LGBTQ community.
I hope you find these links helpful, and remeber that we are alawys here for you
The Trevor Project