How do I tell my family that I like guys as well as girls? They won’t accept me, I know it. I’m really scared.
Many bisexual people worry about telling their family about their sexual orientation because they don’t know how they’re family will react so you’re definitely not alone. It is totally normal to be scared of being rejected by your family when thinking about telling them you’re bisexual especially when you know, possibly from negative things they’ve said or from beliefs they have, that they won’t accept you. At this point, the overall most important thing you can do for yourself is protect your emotional and physical safety. When thinking about telling your family about being bisexual, it can help to think about a number of things. What does it feel like keeping this part of your life a secret? Are you concerned that if you came out they would treat you so differently that life would become too hard? Do you think if you told them you’d be unsafe physically or emotionally? If you did decide to tell them, do you think that would kick you out of the house and if they did, it would be important to have a plan as to where you’d live, how you’d support yourself financially and finish school. If you don’t feel safe, then this might not be the best time to tell them. Remember that the decision is ultimately yours and if you don’t feel that now is not the right time, that’s absolutely okay. www.outproud.org is a great website that has online brochures filled with questions to ask yourself as well as ways to prepare talking about it with your family. One is called “Coming Out to Your Parents” which discusses issues you may face as well as prepares you for questions and responses they might have. Another is called “For Parents of Gay Children” that can help them to be more understanding of you.
There is also a great resource all across the country for parents that might be struggling with their kids coming out. It’s called Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), and they have 15 chapters in North Carolina alone! Check out their website at www.pflag.org and find the chapter closest to you. Every chapter has a helpline for parents. In addition, many of the chapters also run support groups where parents and others can talk about their feelings and ask questions about their loved one’s sexual orientation and where LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people can discuss issues they're having with people in their life.A lot of young people find it helpful to have their local PFLAG chapter’s information handy when they come out to their families. On their website, click on “get support” then “For Family & Friends” where you’ll find a pamphlet called “Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for Parents of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People.” If you felt comfortable you might share it with your parents.
It can help to talk with a trusted adult, such as a relative, teacher or school counselor about your concerns. It can also be helpful to talk to other young people who are going through the same sort of struggles as you so that you can bounce ideas off of one and other, learn what others have done to help them through this situation and really make great friendships. The Trevor Project operates a great, free site called TrevorSpace (www.trevorspace.org) which is a social networking site (like facebook.com or myspace.com) except you can meet up with other young people ages 13 to 24 who identify as bisexual (or gay, lesbian, transgender, questioning or who are allies). I hope you’ll sign up and meet some other young people who can be a support to you. Also on Trevorspace, under the “news” section, you can find articles about coming out written by young people. If you are near the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill part of North Carolina, then consider checking out Triangle Community Works’ A Safer Place Youth Network (www.tcworks.org/aspyn). It’s a great program for young people in the area and they also have a local helpline all North Carolinians can call at 919-821-0055, Sundays through Thursdays from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. If you are closer to Charlotte, then consider checking out Time Out Youth at http://www.timeoutyouth.org/. They are another GREAT organization for young folks going through a lot of the same stuff you are, and I think you would make some great friends who can get to know you and help you through what sounds like it might be a tough coming our process. If you are closer to Asheville, then think about checking out GenXY at http://www.myspace.com/gen_xy. They also have a lot of great programs for youth. Finally, if you are closer to Wilmington, then check out the OUTWilmington’s Youth Group at http://www.outwilmington.com/138937.html. They have meetings twice a month, and it looks pretty cool too.
I also encourage you to talk with one of the great counselors on The Trevor Helpline who are here for you 24 hours, 7 days a week at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR. They answer many calls from young people who are thinking about if, when and how to come out to their parents. They also answer calls from young people who are dealing with other issues including relationship and school problems, depression and feeling suicidal. Our counselors can also work with you to find other resources in your area.
Ultimately, it’s your decision about coming out to your parents, but there are tons of local resource as well as those of us at The Trevor Project that are here to help you. Please don’t feel that you have to come out on anybody’s schedule but your own; it’s your life and you have a lot of control over it. Good luck, and know that we’re rooting for you and always here for you at The Trevor Project.