How do I explain to my family about me being bisexual?
Talking with your family about you being bisexual is a very natural thing to want to do as it lets them know about a very important part of your life. Just like you, many bisexual, lesbian and gay people wonder how to talk with their family about their sexual orientation because it's hard to know how their family members will react-will they be accepting, will the change the way they treat you or even reject you? You show how smart you are in thinking through how to talk with your family and in reaching out for help in trying to figure out what would be best for you.
In deciding whether or not to tell your family about your sexuality, it would be important to ask yourself a few questions including: How does it feel keeping this part of your life a secret? Is it causing you stress worrying that they might find out? Do you think you'd be unsafe physically or emotionally if you told them? Are you worried that if you told your parents that you're bisexual, they might kick you out of the house? If you did decide to come out to your parents and they did kick you out, it would be important to have a safety plan, meaning a place where you could stay and a way to continue to go to school and support yourself financially. Some people wait until they’re living on their own and are financially independent before talking with their parents about their sexual orientation. If you don't feel that now is the right time to tell your parents about your sexuality, that’s absolutely fine. What's most important is that you're comfortable and safe.
If and when you do feel ready to talk with family about your sexuality, you could tell them how much they mean to you and that you want to share an important part of your life with them. Some people are fine just saying their sexuality while others find it better to ease into the discussion by first talking about a bisexual actress or character in a movie, book or television show and see how their parents react. You might find it helpful to write out and rehearse things you might say. You might find the Human Rights Campaign’s “Resource Guide to Coming Out” at http://www.hrc.org/documents/resourceguide_co.pdf helpful. In addition, on http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/youthresource/comingoutquestions you'll find an article called "Coming Out to Your Parents: Questions to Think About" which may be of help to you and on www.associatedcontent.com/article/30172/advice_on_coming_out_to_your_parents.html you'll find some additional helpful tips in coming out.
When you do tell your family, they may have questions and need help in understanding you being bisexual. Some people who may have negative feelings about LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people or initially have a negative reaction to learning that a loved one is bisexual, can with help, move to a more accepting place. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is a great organization, made up mostly of parents, which supports LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) people and works to help parents and others, including friends, to become more supportive and accepting of their 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 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 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 LGBTQ 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 won't attend, you could still contact the nearest chapter, get support and learn ways to help them become more understanding of you. Other resources you might share 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 family's about their child's sexual orientation and “Straight Parents, Gay Children: Keeping Families Together.” There are no guarantees but they may help.
In trying to figure out if, when and how to talk with your family about your sexuality, it can be helpful to talk with someone that you trust such as a friend, relative, teacher or school counselor. It might also help to talk to other LGBTQ young people who may have similar questions and concerns. If your school has a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) you might attend some meetings. You can call the GLBT National Youth Talkline at 1-800-246-7743 for peer to peer support. You could also 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. It's a great supportive community where you can connect with others all over the country some of whom may be questioning whether or not to come out to people in their life. On www.youth.org there is a good article on coming out: www.rslevinson.com/gaylesissues/comingoutstories/blcoming.htm. They’ve also got lots of coming out stories, which may help give you ideas about the best way to talk with your parents. You might check out I’mfromdriftwod.com and read some stories written by other LGTBQ youth as they try to figure out how to talk with people about their sexuality. When you're ready and comfortable, it might help to attend local LGBTQ social and support groups to help you with your questions and concerns about coming out to your family. You can visit The Trevor Project’s local resources page at http://www.thetrevorproject.org/resources.aspx and click on the state of New Mexico to find LGBT resources in your area.
If you’d like to talk more about your questions and concerns, you can always call the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR. Our understanding crisis workers are here for you 24 hours, 7 days a week. They answer many calls from young people who are trying to figure out if, when and how to come out to people in their life. Please know that you don’t have to go through this alone and that we are always here for you at The Trevor Project.