I am amazing at tangling my life up in problems.
I am a Lesbian. I’ve know for almost two years now. And I’m so tired of hiding it. Some days I’m fine with who I am, but others I just want to crawl under a rock. I think that being out-ish would help. I am also on a deadline because I’m going to college next fall. I want my friends still to be a part of my new life when I move though.
The problem is that I have a boyfriend. We’ve dated for a long time, even when I wasn’t even sure of what I was or was okay with it. I don’t want to tell him I’m gay. But I do think we need to break up before I can be out to my friends. I just don’t know how to without hurting him too much or having him hate me. My family is majorly controlling except that they approve of him, so they only give me freedom when we’re together. I’ll get disowned by at least half my family eventually.
I think my friends will be okay if I tell them. I figured out I might be a lesbian when my best friend confronted me and told me she didn’t like girls. I was kinda obvious before I realized. I said I didn’t like girls either, then started dating my boyfriend. My other best friend just lets people assume she’s bi.
Currently, I try to bottle up my emotions as much as possible, and then when they become too much I explode. And I really try to be respectful and not think of girls at all. I am a part of the school’s GSA, but I can’t be out there because one of my friends goes too. Irony, being kept closeted in a safe environment by a supportive friend. I have found that I really like gay-fiction with authors like Ellen Kushner and Malida Lo.
I’m tired of standing still. Being closeted is holding me back. I just don’t know how to start moving forward.
Letter submitted by:
Hi Mari: I’m really glad that you decided to write. You sound like an incredibly strong, wonderfully thoughtful young lady. And I don’t think you sound like the kind of person who would tangle up her life in problems. It’s clear that you’ve given a lot of thought about what to do. It also sounds like you are very concerned about how your family and boyfriend will treat you. I think it’s awesome that you’re going to college in the fall and that you want your friends to remain in your life once you’re there. That’s the mark of a loving person who wants to maintain friendships through life’s changes.
You said that you’re on a deadline to come out because you are leaving for college and you feel like you need to tell your boyfriend before your friends. No matter what or when you decide, it is YOUR decision and what’s most important is that you are safe and comfortable on YOUR timetable. If you told your boyfriend and your family, what do you hope will happen? What do you hope to say? What would be the best response from your boyfriend and your family? What are you most concerned about? Are you concerned that your boyfriend will tell your friends before you get the chance? Are you worried that your parents might kick you out of the house? If you decided to tell them and they did kick you out, it would be important to have a safety plan. That means securing a safe place where you could live and continue to go to school and a way to support yourself financially. Some people decide to wait until they are living away from home (like college) and are financially independent before telling members of their family about their sexual orientation. Again, no matter what or when you decide, what’s most important is that you are comfortable and safe when you do so. In trying to figure out whether or not, and when, to come out, it can help to ask yourself some questions including: What does it feel like keeping this part of your life a secret? Does it cause you a lot of stress worrying about them finding out? Are you worried that if you told your family or your friends, you’d be unsafe physically or emotionally?
I think it’s wonderful that you think your friends will be OK with it if you come out. It sounds to me like you know your friends well, and that you really trust them. I know that it’s hard to keep your feelings bottled up, especially if they are uncomfortable to discuss with someone else. Do you think you can trust your friends to listen to you, to help you and support you? What do you hope you will hear from your friends if you decide to come out to them? Do you think you you can trust your GSA to help? Your GSA should ALWAYS be a safe place for you. That’s why it was created in the first place. Do you think you could talk to your GSA’s faculty advisor? Perhaps your school’s guidance counselor, or another teacher or adult in your school who you trust? Please know that you have the right to feel safe in your school and that no one ever has the right to make you feel unsafe in any way.
And Mari, please keep in mind that if you ever need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to call The Trevor Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR. You can also log onto TrevorChat, and TrevorSpace (www.trevorspace.org) is a safe, online social networking site for LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24, their friends and allies. It’s a great supportive community where you can connect with others who might have had or are having the same questions that you have. We are always here for you.