How do I come out to a right-wing conservative family? My mom is the type to post political statuses on Facebook that fit in with her beliefs and bans shows that she claims are made by liberal freaks. She doesn’t know how much this hurts me whenever she disagrees with something I support, such as vote no to the marriage amendment in Minnesota. I really wanted to say to her that I should be given rights just like everyone else but I bit my tongue and mumbled something insignificant instead. I just have this sinking feeling she won’t understand or accept me. It’s even worse with my dad. It’s really hard to talk to him about anything because we just grew apart. I always feel like I’m a big disappointment to my family and it just hurts. They only people that know I’m gay are two of my sisters and they found out by reading a love letter I received from my girlfriend. I have only talked to one sister about it and she supports me but I haven’t brought it up with the other because I’m scared. I get really upset that I even have to feel like this when if everyone were accepting of all walks of life, no one would have to get hurt or be afraid of shaming the family. I just want to be honest with everyone but I am just so scared.
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Thank you so much for your letter and for reaching out to get some help and advice.
I know it can be a scary thing when facing the idea of tell your parents that they don’t seem to be understanding about. I am glad that you have your sister as support because that is always important. I can’t make the decision for you because the choice to come out will always be your own but I can tell that some people do find a peace within themselves when they don’t feel like they are hiding anymore. It can open opportunities that can lead to more friendships, which makes people feel less alone.
If you are trying to decide if you should come out to your parents it may be beneficial to look at how keeping this secret affects you. Do you feel bad hiding a part of your life from your parents? Does it make it feel stressed out thinking about how they may find out? If you decide you want to come out to them, it would also be a good idea to think about whether or not you are going to be ready for their reaction, whatever it may be. Also, do you think that you would be unsafe in any way after telling them? I would encourage talking to your sister as well and getting her input on what she thinks about telling your parents. I have seen people have a hard time at first with this kind of news but given some time, they came to be supportive and understanding. Just remember that people can surprise you. My stepmother’s father was very strong minded about certain things as well. I wouldn’t say he was “anti-gay”, he was just more like “it doesn’t affect me so I don’t care”. Anyway, because of that my stepmother was very afraid to tell him that she was gay, however when she finally did tell him, he was nothing but supportive and accepting not only of his daughter but also her new family. If you are still unsure if want to take this step or not you may also want to read an article called “Coming out to your parents: Questions to think about” which can be found at http://amplifyyourvoice.org/youtheresource/youtheresource_comingout
If you do decide to tell your parents and are just not sure how you may find it helpful to look at the Human Rights Campaign’s “Resource guide to coming out” which can be found at http://www.hrc.org/files/documents/ComingOut_ResourceGuide.pdf Also if needed you can give your parents information on your local PFLAG charter. The website for that is pflag.org and then follow the Find a chapter link at the top. Another resource you can give your parents is to encourage them to read “Now that you know – A Parent’s guide to understanding” or “Straight parents, gay children: Keeping families together”. These resources may help your parents if they are having trouble accepting or understanding