Hello, my name is Drew. I'm a Nursing student and my little sister (17) came out to me a few weeks ago. She lives in a very small town in the Oklahoma panhandle with my mom and is a Jr. in high school. She is having a hard time with the kids and even teachers at school, badgering her about her sexuality and she feels like she just can't get ahead and can't succeed. I want to help her and be the person she can come to. My mom is very supportive but my sister doesn't seem to want to open up to her. This evening she posted a very concerning status on FaceBook. It concerns me because so many kids that are being bullied are taking their own lives. I couldn't handle my sister doing that to herself. How can I help her? Where do I begin? Thank you.
First of all, thank you so very much for being such a caring brother to your sister. I'm sure that having you as a support means so very much to her!
Do you know, or could you ask her, if there is someone at her school (a teacher, counselor, principal) who would listen to her and really hear what she has to say about the harrassment she's experiencing there? It is THEIR JOB to make sure that she is, and feels, safe at her school. If she doesn't feel like there's anyone at the school, is there another adult (parent of a friend, or an adult friend of her own) who could approach the school administration, on their own or with her? It could really help to have another person there with her when you deals with the school staff. Also, you or she could look at the website for GLSEN, the Gay. Lesbian and Straight Educators' Network (GLSEN - their site is www.GLSEN.org ). They work to combat homophobia and transphobia in school, and to ensure safe schools for ALL students. Their site could point you and her in the direction of Gay/Straight Alliances in her area, or just give her ideas on how to deal with her current situation.
Please let her know that we at The Trevor Project are always glad to be here for her. She might want to check out TrevorSpace (www.TrevorSpace.org), the online social networking site for 13-24 year olds. There's also TrevorChat (www.TrevorProject.org/chat), and online messaging service that can help her with more questions. Of course, if she seems to be feeling worse, please encourage her to call the Trevor Lifeline (1-866-4-U-TREVOR) at any time. We will always be there for her.
Thanks again for being there for her -she's lucky to have you.
Signed, The Trevor Project