I am a lesbian. I just got a promise ring from my girlfriend but my dad calls it a “fag ring” and when I try to tell him I don’t like it he gets mad and yells. So what do I do?
I’m really glad that you wrote to Ask Trevor with your questions and concerns. Let me start by saying that I’m very happy to hear that you are in a committed relationship. That must have felt wonderful to get a promise ring from your girlfriend. Congratulations! However, I’m sure that it is very difficult not to have the support from your father. It’s one thing that he is not able to understand your sexuality and support your relationship, but another that he uses the term “fag” and yells at you. It’s important for you to recognize that just as it took time for you to understand your own sexuality and feel comfortable coming out, your family and friends need time to process this information and understand it in their own time. It may take some time for your father, but in the meantime, you could let him know that his words are hurtful.
Your family and/or friends may have many questions about your sexuality and may need time and help to become more understanding and supportive of you. Parents, 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. 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 family members/friends 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/friends won’t attend, you could still contact the nearest chapter and get support and learn ways to help them become more understanding of you.
Other resources you might share with them are the books “Now That You Know – A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Their Gay and Lesbian Children” which addresses many issues and questions that arise for parents of gay and lesbian children and “Straight Parents, Gay Children: Keeping Families Together.” There are no guarantees but these resources may be helpful to you.
If you have any questions in the future please feel free to use Ask Trevor again or The Trevor Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR, TrevorChat, or TrevorSpace. We are always here for you!