Hi, I am Lily and I am a sophomore. I can’t tell my mom that I’m bisexual because I am worried she will get very angry. Also, the mean girls at my school have been teasing me a lot and calling me really mean names. My friends don’t care but it really hurts and I want to be able to be me and not be embarrassed. Please help.
You show so much courage and strength wanting to be open about you and in reaching out to Dear Trevor for help with everything you’re going through.
Please know that no matter what you're hearing from the mean girls in school, being bisexual is natural and normal. Many teenagers in your situation try to deny their sexuality in order not to have to feel the hurt and embarrassment you’ve been experiencing. The fact that you still want to be exactly who you are in the face of the teasing at school and your fears around how your mother might react shows how confident and strong you are and I know that may not be easy for you.
It's very natural to want to share such an important part of your life, namely being bisexual, with your mom, but it's understandable that you'd have concerns about telling her because you don't know how she'll react-will she be accepting, will she be angry and change the way she treats you or will she even reject you? It's hard to know for sure until you actually tell her. In deciding whether or not tell your mom about your sexuality, it can help to think about some questions. What does it feel like keeping this part of your life a secret? Is it causing you stress worrying that your mom will find out? Do you think if you told her, you'd be unsafe physically or emotionally? Is there the possibility that she'd kick you out of the house if she learned that you're bisexual? Many people wait until they’re out of their parent’s house and are more independent financially before telling their parents about their sexuality. If you did decide to come out to your mom and she did kick you out, it would be very important to have a safety plan, meaning a place where you could stay and a way to attend school and support yourself financially. If you do decide to share this part of yourself with your mom, you might find the Human Rights Campaign’s “Resource Guide to Coming Out” at http://www.hrc.org/documents/resourceguide_co.pdf helpful. If you decide that now is not the right time to talk with your mom about being bisexual, that's absolutely fine. What's most important is that you're safe and comfortable.
Your mom might need time and help to understand your sexuality. On www.bisexual.org you'll find a lot of helpful information on bisexuality. If you click on resources, then bisexuality-general information, then "Bisexuality 101 from PFLAG" you can find information that may help. PFLAG (Parents, Families, Friends of Lesbians and Gays) is an organization made up mostly of parents, that supports LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) people and helps parents and others become more supportive and understanding of the loved one's sexual orientation. On their website at www.pflag.org click on "get support" then click on "For Family & Friends" where you'll find a pamphlets called "Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for Parents of GLB People" and "Frequently Asked Questions about GLBT People" which, if you felt comfortable, you might share with your mom. PFLAG also runs support groups where LGBT people can talk about issues they're having with people in their life and where parents and others can discuss questions and concerns they're having about a loved one's sexual orientation. You could contact the PFLAG Boston chapter at (866) 427-3524 or email@example.com to learn about their meetings. Other resources that may be of help to your mom 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 these resources may help your mom to be more understanding and accepting of you.
I'm so sorry that the mean girls at your school are treating you so badly. Often those girls are people who fear those who are not exactly like them and have a lack of information or misinformation about people of any sexual orientation that isn't straight. You deserve to be treated with respect and to feel safe in your school. It may help to know that there are things that can be done that could help you and the situation in your school. If your school has a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) you might attend meetings and get support and work with other students to help make your school a more accepting place. You could consider talking with adults at school such as a teacher, principal, or counselor about what's been going on as it is their job to make sure you are not being bullied and that you feel safe in school. GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) works to ensure safe schools for ALL students. On their website at www.glsen.org click on "what we do" where you can find programs which may help people in your school become more understanding and supportive of you. One program is called "A Day of Silence" which brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Each year, the event has grown, now with hundreds of thousands of students coming together to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior. Another program is the No Name-Calling Week which is a week of educational activities aimed at ending name-calling of all kinds and providing schools with the tools and inspiration to foster a dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying in their communities. Another resource that can be of help is The Trevor Project's workshop program which contains the film "Trevor" to be used with the workshop guide (which can be downloaded for free) to open up discussions with ALL students about how language and behavior can affect the way an individual feels about themselves. You can find these resources by going to The Trevor Project home page and clicking on "read more" under "parents and educators" or by calling The Trevor Project offices at 310-271-8845. If there is a teacher, school counselor or administrator at your school with whom you feel comfortable, you could talk with them about using these programs to help people become more understanding and accepting of you.
It sounds as if your friends are very supportive which is wonderful. In addition, it might help to communicate with other LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) young people who are confronted with many of the same issues you face every day and learn what has help them. You could join TrevorSpace at www.trevorspace.org the Trevor Project's safe online social networking site for LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24 their friends and allies. There is also a special site at www.biresource.net which dedicated to those who have come out as bisexual. On it you will find links to literature and other information specifically created for those who are facing similar challenges. In fact, if you click on “Bisexual Resources” at the top of the page, you can even find resources right there in the city of Boston!
For additional support, you can always call the Trevor Helpline at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (866.488.7386) for help, suggestions or just someone to listen. Our understanding counselors are here for you 24 hours, 7 days a week and you can speak with someone who really cares and who can offer help with dealing with those “mean girls” and with coming out to your mother should you ever choose to take steps in that direction. Again, I want to say how brave you are for standing up for yourself and staying determined to be YOU. Please know that you are not alone and that we’re always here for help and support at The Trevor Project.