My homophobic parents and I have often touched on the subject of homosexuality, with them basically stating that if I am not straight, they will kick me out. I'm 19 and a sophomore in college, so I currently have a place to stay for this semester, as well as a car and my own bank account.
Today I told my mother that I voted for Obama because I support LGBT+ rights, and she said she didn't know me and was very upset. The last time she found out I wasn't straight, she fell into a depressed state and put herself on medication. (Please note that this was less than a week, I have suffered severe depression for about five years and it was only until last month that I put myself on medication.)
In short, she's a danger to herself and me. She once bought a plane ticket to London because I didn't answer my phone once (I did send her an email, though!) while I was on a spring break trip with my school. How can I protect myself from her, as well as make sure she doesn't do anything drastic to herself? I plan on moving out and distancing myself from them, but I'm scared of the consequences it might have on her. She's an awful person who has ruined my life, but she's also a human being and I don't want to harm her.
Tonight I'm going to visit my girlfriend behind their backs (I'm AFAB) and I am scared that she might try to come find me and hurt me or her. What should I do?
I apologize for the jumbled words, I can't think straight (haha!) right now.
I am really glad you felt comfortable enough to reach out to us here at the Trevor Project and I am so sorry for everything you are going through. It sounds like you are having such a tough time, and your mothers reaction to everything certainly doesn't help you or her. No one has the right to make you feel disrespected, or be rude or mean to you based on your sexual preference, orientation, gender, or gender identity. In the perfect world you would be supported by your family however sadly, this is not always the case. I see a lot of strength in you - that you are able to be clear about your gender identity, and sexual orientation - it's not always easy to be honest about how we feel and what makes us happy, but it's so important that you are able to do this. Many people struggle with these questions, with coming out to their families, with finding a supportive network - what you are doing takes a lot of courage and strength.
Your main concern should be your safety at all times. Regardless of how your parents will react you need to make sure you have a safe place to go to, financial independence, and a support system. It sounds as though they have not been supportive at all of your lifestyle and may not be when you speak with them. Keep in mind that people do change and their first reactions aren't always how they feel, or how they will treat you in the future. Although this can be really difficult and sad to realize, not everyone in your life will support your lifestyle, or will have a positive reaction in the beginning.
If you are concerned for your safety (and the safety of your girlfriend) I would strongly suggest thinking about the following questions before talking to your parents. Although these questions are difficult to predict the answers, they can get you thinking about what may happen, potential outcomes, and prepare you more fully: How difficult is it for me to not talk about my girlfriend, sexuality, or gender identity with my parents? What would it be like emotionally, for me to wait to talk to my parents until I have a stable job, am 100% financially independent, have a permanent place to live, and don't need to go back home unless I want to? Even though it is stressful now to hide this part of my life from my parents, will it be more stressful for me after talking to my parents if they are not supportive? If I do talk to my parents, and they have a negative reaction, where can I go that is safe right then? Where can I spend the night (or a few nights if possible)? What happens if my parents cut me out of their life for the time being? Where would I live? If your parents have any access to your bank account, would they punish you financially? What happens after this semester - on holidays, and summer break - where can you live if your parents don't let you stay with them? Who can I talk to who supports me? How would I handle my parents if they were to have the most extreme reaction I can think of? If you check out www.amplifyyourvoice.org under Resources is the pamphlet "coming out to your parents: questions to think about." This may be helpful in determining when you want to talk to your parents as well. Because it can be so difficult to talk to those we love about this some people find it easier to wait until they are more stable, have their own support network, are completely independent of their parents before talking to them.
There is no "right" time to come out and there is no rush - it's up to you to determine when the right time is. The most important thing is that you are safe and feel comfortable and loved. Finding a support network can also help you through these difficult times - this can be with a significant other, with friends, family, online, in person - however you are able and most comfortable reaching out. Here at the Trevor Project we have our social networking site called TrevorSpace that is for LGBT+ youth where you are able to meet other people who may have gone through the same issues, who may have advice - or who you may find a group of people you feel comfortable with. When you decide to talk to your parents it may be helpful to provide them with some information that they can read or look at after your conversation. PFLAG (parents and friends of lesbians and gays) has great information on their website: www.pflag.org Under "Get Support" there are a number of pamphlets you can print out and give to your parents. Other resources you might share with them are the books "now that you know - a parents guide to understanding their gay and lesbian children" which addresses many issues and questions that arise for parents. Also "Straight Parents, Gay Children: Keeping Families Together." There are no guarentees but these may help.
Lastly, I hope you are able to see that you are beautiful and perfect just the way you are. Although society seems to want to put you into boxes that's not who you are and in being true to yourself you are doing the hardest and most wonderful thing you can do. Remember, if you need someone to talk to, we are here for you any time day or night at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR, on TrevorChat, and on TrevorSpace. The world is better with you in it!
The Trevor Project.