Over the past couple of years I’ve received some messages in my inbox asking for advice. I can’t imagine why anyone would ask me, a straight woman, about advice coming out, except out of desperation and having nowhere else to turn. It breaks my heart to know I can’t help you because I can’t possibly know what you’re going through, but from what I have seen, all I can offer is this:
–If you are sure your parents are going to freak out, wait until you are financially independent to tell them
–If you suspect that your parents are not going to freak out, wait until you are financially independent to tell them, because they might just freak out
–Don’t depend on your parents, siblings, and friends not freaking out. You may think they will love you no matter what. Unfortunately you may be in for a surprise.
If this means that you have to wait a couple of years, then wait for your own best interest, even if it is eating you alive from the inside. I have seen terrible things happen to friends who came out to their parents–they were basically put through hell until they were able to move out. That means emotional, psychological, and even threats of physical abuse. That means the looming possibility of suicide. And hell, it’s not me it happened to, it’ll never be me it happened to, so I can’t just say that it’s better to wait than go through all of that for the sake of getting it off your chest, but I’m making a judgement call and saying that it probably is; that the feeling of relief from letting it out probably won’t be worth the anguish and torment that you might endure if you are still dependent.
I don’t mean to frighten you, or discourage you, but I do mean to see to it that you make sure your safety is first. I don’t doubt that there are some wonderful parents, that there will be those among you who will wish that you hadn’t heeded this advice because when you do tell your parents you’ll think about how you could have fallen securely into their accepting embrace ages ago and rested easy. But from my second hand experience, these types of coming out scenarios are rare. Unless your parent comes straight out and tells you, “People are so shit to LGBT folk, I wouldn’t care if you were attracted to the same sex, and I’d love you” it’s probably safer to wait until you needn’t subject yourself to their fury in order to survive.
It is incredibly frustrating, and incredibly unfair, and sometimes when something is just festering inside of you you can’t even always control when you let it out anyway, and I know. Well, I don’t know. But you know. I can only ask if there is some other outlet for you to relieve your frustrations in the meanwhile; confide in friends at the GSA at your school, for example, make connections so that it’s not so hard on you. And so that you have resources–anything that is psychologically soothing, treat yourself to it.
Sometimes that support simply isn’t available, in which case you might have to go out of your way to find it. I am so sorry. I am sorry straight people are such jerks, I am sorry I can’t have more words to give you; please watch our for yourself until you can take care of yourself, and then some, I love you.