I have a big problem. Lately, I have been more open about being gay, but I have also been feeling really sick. One night I was almost crying about it because I thought I was going to go to hell when I die. I even dropped out of some of the classes because I don’t want to be harassed. It’s been a while since I have come out (10/1/2005), but my mom thinks my life is wrong, and only one of my brothers understand what I am goin' thru. The only time I feel any happiness is when I am on MySpace or chatting with a few of my gay friends. Please help me… I feel scared and alone.
During our life, discovering things about ourselves (such as you realizing that you're gay) can open us up to many great experiences, including developing supportive friendships and having romantic relationships. Homophobia, which arises from narrow-mindedness, bigotry and/or ignorance, can impact us in a way that interferes with that openness and can work in a destructive way that shuts down parts of ourselves. It can come from many places including families (your mother thinking that your life is wrong), school (where harassment can push you to drop classes you want to take), and religion (which may say that if you're gay, you'll go to hell). Working against homophobia can take a great deal of effort.
If they are open to it, you might consider referring your family to PFLAG (www.PFLAG.org), an organization made up mostly of parents, that provides education and support for gay people and their families. In addition, your parents might consider reading a book entitled "Now That You Know: A Parents' Guide to Understanding Their Gay and Lesbian Children."
Despite the hurtful and damaging messages you've received, it's encouraging that one of your brothers understands what you are going through and that you have gay friends with whom you can talk. It would be important, supportive and healthy for you to continue to build on these relationships, to create more understanding and love in your life.
It is concerning that in being more open about being gay you have been feeling “sick.” It’s also of concern that the experience of (or anticipation of) harassment has caused you to drop out of classes. Is there a school counselor or trusted teacher you would be safe to talk with about these issues? If not, please call The Trevor Helpline at 866.4.U.TREVOR (866.488.7386), and speak with someone who is well acquainted with the issues with which you are dealing.
Remember, Nathan, that there are lots and lots of wonderful people in the world who will accept and support you just as you are. It’s hard right now because you’re still so dependent on your family in so many ways. But even if they continue to be close-minded about your sexual orientation, you will soon be able to strike out on your own and find a more supportive community for yourself.