My story begins long before now. I am gay and I was raised by an ultra-conservative religious family. My parents taught me that homosexuality is sinful and unnatural. I attended church services and a Christian school for most of my early life until I demanded that I be allowed to attend a public school. This was a very difficult decision because I had to leave everything I knew behind including my religion and all my friends.
When I arrived in public school I had a geometry class with an old childhood friend of mine whom I had known years ago. As children I could remember him kissing me and making romantic gestures but when I saw him as he was today I dismissed any thoughts of his being gay or even possibly bisexual. He was a muscular football player and he was even somewhat of a bully. A lot of girls liked him and he generally hung out with fellow jocks. He didn't seem at all like someone who could be gay...
Eventually we became friends again and as we grew closer we came out to one another and over time began to feel feelings for each other. Today, one and half years since we re-met, we are in a serious relationship, a relationship known to all our friends and everyone at school. His family knows as well. They are very open-minded on the subject and highly accepting of both of us.
My family on the other hand is not quite so open. While I have never actually come out to my parents or my siblings I now wonder if they are suspicious. They have reason to be. My boyfriend and I are always together; we are inseparable. But as time continues I begin to find difficulty in keeping up my two lives. The homophobic sentiment that is so abundant in my household is becoming far too difficult to bear. My parents have threatened to take away my car, to confiscate my college fund and to throw me out of the house on the mere suspicion that I might be gay. My mother, to whom I have insinuated that I am gay, makes me feel as though I am destroying her life and my family's life. Sometimes I feel as though I am going to faint from all the persecution and depression around me. My friends and boyfriend are supportive and have even offered me a place to live should my parents throw me out. They seem to think that my family hates me, but in spite of all their negative comments about gays and despite the fact their threats I believe they might still love me.
Sometimes I just want to die. I have thought logically about suicide before and it seems as though each time things start to get better a crisis befalls me. Please, please help me! Just listen to me and if you do listen then please reply! Speak to me at length and give me some advice...please.
It is enormously important for you to recognize the tremendous strength and courage that you've demonstrated in your life. This includes
1) Demanding to be allowed to attend public school and thereby getting away from a homophobic school environment
2) Developing a long-term intimate relationship and not allowing homophobic teachings to stop you from being yourself or from entering a loving relationship
3) Coming out to your friends and boyfriend's family
Unfortunately, as you have experienced, the impact of homophobia can be devastatingly painful. It can lead to feeling badly about oneself; rejection by loved one's and abusive behavior. It's natural to want the love and support of your family first and foremost. Your parents can still love you but sometimes, their homophobia can make it difficult for them to see the pain that their behavior and attitude are causing. Remember that dealing with your homosexuality and coming out has been a process and continues to be a process for you. Families may also need time for this process. There are times when family members, despite strong homophobic attitudes, can process their loved one's sexual orientation and move toward acceptance.
Given your parent's teachings about homosexuality and their behavior at the mere suspicion of your being gay, it's understandable that you may not feel safe coming out to them. PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) is an organization primarily of parents that helps people dialogue about sexual orientation. They can provide you with information that, if you feel safe, can be passed on to your parents. There are no guarantees, but it might be a start. Their website is www.pflag.org. Please bear in mind, however, that you are not responsible for “destroying” your parents’ lives: you are simply being who you are. Children do not come with a guarantee that they will become the people their parents may want them to be.
Leaving one's family is a very difficult situation, and I hope it does not come to that for you. It's extremely troubling when your situation pushes you to a place of wanting to die and to thoughts of suicide. If you have not yet done so, I strongly encourage you to contact our toll-free helpline at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386) as soon as possible. You will be able to speak with someone who is sensitive to the struggles that you are experiencing. They can also provide referrals to local mental health resources to further discuss these issues, including your feelings of depression and thoughts of death. Please remember that you need not go through this alone.