I’ve been wanting to come out to my family and friends for along time now but its been hard. Everytime I think about doing it I just feel more ashamed of myself (because of the way I was raised). Recently I have found comfort in hiding my pain and sorrow in alcohol and I just dont know what to do anymore. I know drowning my pain in alcohol is not the answer but because of the way I was raised Im afraid to come out and tell my family. Can you please help?
First I want to commend you for contacting us to help you with your problem of coming out to family. The way you were raised has nothing to do with who you really are. We were all raised with what our parents felt was right and wrong. Much of what our family passed along to us was given to them by an even older generational way of thinking. You are a viable and worthwhile individual created and loved by many.
Coming out to family and friends is not something that will ever be easy. It might be helpful to make a list of your most trusted and close friends. After you generate this list choose one individual, or if it’s a couple, two individuals you would feel comfortable with coming out to. Many times you can tell which individuals will be accepting and supportive. I would also like to suggest you go to the website for PFLAG. This group is comprised of parents and friends of Lesbian and Gay individuals, and they have a lot of resources on how to engage family and friends in a healthy discussion of your individuality. We also have a website called Trevor Space that can help you with many issues: www.trevorspace.org
You also mentioned that to help dull some of the pain you are feeling about coming out to family, you are finding drinking eases the pain. This is true, but the numbness is only temporary. Once this wears off, the issues still remain. We offer assistance through our site where you can directly chat with a real voice, and they can help you through this rough period. You can overcome this feeling of shame, you have nothing to feel ashamed of. You are a brave individual and being forthright with all who love you will be difficult but it’s not impossible. You may be surprised at their response. Use our site further to help you discover even more resources. Thanks for contacting us.
The Trevor Project
I’m so sorry to hear that you are having trouble with coming out to your family and accepting yourself. First and foremost know that you have nothing to be ashamed of, and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. You are a wonderful beautiful person, and exactly who this world needs you to be. I hope that deep down you truly know that you are special and that you have so much greatness to contribute to this world. There are going to be times when you feel down or alone but in those moments its important to remember that you are never alone, there is a tremendous community of love all around you that loves you and is supporting you every step of the way.
The first step must be to find someone you trust to talk to. Either a parent, aunt, uncle, teacher, pastor, or neighbor find someone who you feel comfortable talking to and let them know how you feel and what is going on. If you dont feel comfortable opening up to someone in your life there is always the Trevor Hotline (866-488-7386), they are there for you day and night to talk to and help you through whatever is going on in your life. Letting someone in and taking this chance for a healthy outlet for your pain is a great first step towards alleviating it. Alcohol may make you feel a bit better in right now but in the long run turning to alcohol will only serve to intensify the problems. If you truly feel as though you cannot get by without the alcohol it is something to talk with a trusted adult about. There are many resources out there for you to help make this better and we are here to help you every single step of the way.
As for telling you family, having someone you trust to talk to about this first will help make everything easier. It is great to go into these conversations with a plan and a trusted adult of friend will be able to help you. There are also many resources that can help you figure out the best way for you to come out to your loved ones. Here are a couple links to some guides written by the HRC and GLSEN that have helped many people figure out the best way to them. (http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/resource-guide-to-coming-out) (http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/news/record/1290.html). But the most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to do anything until you are ready. This is an intensely personal decision and you need to make sure that you are ready to tell your loved ones. Coming out is a writ of passage for all LGBT people and one that we all go through eventually – but there is no set time table for when you must do this. Make sure it feels right to you, and it will make everything that much easier and more liberating.
Whatever you decide and whenever you choose to come out know that you are an amazing person. Having the strength to reach out for help is something that many people struggle with. You have such an incredible strength within you and all of us out here love you and are behind you no matter what. I know in my heart that things are going to get better for you – having reached out for help has already put you on the path to making things better for yourself.
From all of us at the Trevor Project,