I've had feelings for girls ever since I was little and I still can't come to terms with myself. I came out as a lesbian to my parents when I was 12 and they flat out rejected the notion and convinced me that it was a phase; since then, I can't find the courage to come out again and I'm still trying to convince myself that it's a phase. My school and home environment isn't supportive at all and I don't know any other lesbians at all (even though I live in New York City, ridiculous...). I just want to know what to do, I want to meet other people like me but I have no idea how to go about it and I don't want other people to know.
New York NY
Thank you for writing Ask Trevor and sharing your story with us. It takes a lot of courage to disclose something so personal. It’s wonderful that you are in-touch with your feelings and have confirmed your sexual orientation at such a young age. It must have been very difficult that your parents were not supportive and accepting of your coming out at the age of 12. Please know that you are not alone.
In trying to figure out whether or not to come out, and who to come out to, it is helpful to ask yourself the following questions: Are you worried that if you told your family and your friends, you would be unsafe physically or emotionally? And, if you told your parents, are you concerned that they might kick you out of the house? If you decided to tell your parents and they kick you out, it is important to have a safety plan, meaning a safe place where you could live and be taken care of financially. Some people decide to wait until they are living on their own and are financially independent before telling members of their family about their sexual orientation. Some people are fine just saying their sexuality while others find it better to ease into the discussion by first talking about a LGBT actor or character in a movie, book or television show and see how the people in their life react. You might find it helpful to write out and rehearse things you might say. There are resources to assist people in coming out. You could refer to the Human Rights Campaign’s “Resource Guide to Coming Out” at http://www.hrc.org/documents/resourceguide_co.pdfl. In addition, on:
Your family and/or friends may need time and help to become more understanding and supportive of you. PFLAG-- Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, 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/gender identity. 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 or 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 or 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 they may help.
To chat with other young people like yourself, please visit The Trevor Project’s social networking site, TrevorSpace ( www.TrevorSpace.org). Please do not hesitate to call the Trevor lifeline at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR, 24 hours 7 days a week, if you need to talk. Feel free to write back anytime with any more questions you may have. Take care, Anon!