Dear Trevor, My name is Tyler and I’m 15 years old, 16 in February, and I live in Lutz FL. A lot of crap is going on all over the place… I’m homeschooled so i only get out, with friends and stuff, on 1 day of the week, at a Christian homeschool “coop” day… I try to come out to 1 of my closest friends, but she’s anti-gay and immediately shot it down like it was nothing and wont acknowledge it. My parents are divorcing right now… And it doesn’t help that I feel like coming out SO badly… But my mom, whom I am closest with, is Christian (so am I) and I can’t come out to her because she is constantly making remarks about how being gay / Bi / lesbian is “pure evil” and “completely against the bible”. My dad has been really distant over my past 15 years.. I’m not going to point fingers, cause that’s not what I do. But he tells me to “take off my bowtie” or “take off the scarf” (little things that really bug me for some reason) because they’re “not what normal guys wear” / “It’s not even appropriate to wear it today” when he’s secretly texting my mom about “how it’s too feminine and I shouldn’t be allowed to wear it. I just want some strength in my own life… I feel so weak and helpless… I see people like on TV who are openly gay (as the character and real life) and I wonder “Why can’t I be like him?” My mom purposely makes sure I never watch anything with a gay or Bi person in it. So I purposely (secretly) keep up with shows like GLEE cause I look up to people on that show.. And I feel like I can relate to some of the actors lives. I just feel so lonely through all of it though… I don’t have anyone around who truly understands me.. I feel broken and hurt and I don’t think I can take it anymore.. It’s exhausting and I feel completely hopeless… How do I get through this? How can I come out to my mom without her freaking out on me? I don’t want to feel like I’m going to Explode (emotionally) anymore..
Ok I re-read through my letter.. I feel bad because I sound like a little teenage brat who’s unhappy because he didnt get his way… I really hope that’s not how I come across because it’s not who I am. I know there are people who have it FAR worse than I do and I should be grateful… And I am! I just don’t know where my life is going to end up and I feel scared and need to know what to do… Thank you so much for even being there for us and thank you for your time.
Letter submitted by:
I am so glad you took the time to write to us to get some ideas on coming out to family and friends. You have already demonstrated great courage and strength by trying to come out to a friend, even though it didn’t work out as you might have hoped it would. And although you apologized for the tone of your original letter, which was just fine, you show compassion and awareness toward others by acknowledging that your personal circumstances are not as bad as some people experience. That is really thoughtful and kind.
It sounds like being homeschooled makes it challenging to meet other people going through similar things as you are. If you would like to chat with other LGBTQ young people who can relate to what you are going through, consider joining our safe, online social media community, TrevorSpace at http://www.trevorspace.org. TrevorSpace can also be a great way to get suggestions and thoughts from other young people on how to come out.
Deciding if, when, and who to come out to is a very personal decision. It is great that you can see characters on TV and public figures living very openly gay lives but every person’s situation is different – for example some parts of the country and some professions are more accepting than others – so you can only make the decision that is right for you. Coming out can be a serious, life-changing decision, and a lot of people struggle with it. Strongly held religious beliefs or stereotypes of what is masculine or feminine, which your letter provides examples of with your parents, can make it even harder for someone to be accepting of LGBTQ people. It’s common to want to be open to your parents about your sexuality, but it’s also okay to keep it private for fear of their reactions. If you think there’s a chance their reaction could be dangerous or that they might kick you out, it’s important to have a safety plan; one that includes a safe place to go, a way to continue going to school, and a way to support yourself financially. What matters most is to do what is best for you, yet keeps you safe.
I can’t tell you if you should or how to come out. If you decide that you want to, and believe it is safe for you to do so, The Human Rights Campaign’s “Resource Guide to Coming Out” http://www.hrc.org/files/documents/ComingOut_ResourceGuide.pdf is a good resource. It presents both the advantages and considerations of coming out and you might find it helpful.
You describe yourself with words like hopeless, weak, and helpless. These words do not reflect the strength I see in you through your letter. You are brave and I admire your courage. Feel free to write to us again at Ask Trevor. Also, if you need to talk, you can always call the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We really are all in this together, and we certainly have your back!
The Trevor Project