Gay/Lesbian/Bi Teens/To come out, or not to come out
Hello Josh, I hope you are doing well, I appreciate you taking the time to look at this question.
I'm 17 years old; female, bisexual. I have to brothers, one older, one younger, and I currently live with them, my perpetually stressed out mother with whom I've had a turbulent relationship, and my step father who sits in his office all day and doesn't care about anything so he doesn't really matter. My older brother already knows about my sexuality, and while I've never explicitly told him, I believe my younger brother does as well. Raising three kids, not having a lot of money, and a less than ideal love life, my mother has been through a lot in her life, and her existence has frankly been pretty crappy. Both my older brother and I are moving out soon, so I'm hoping this will take some of the stress off her. At the same time, I know she'll also be extremely depressed because two of her children have grown up and left. Now, my mother and I have always loved each other, but we really don't like each other. After several exceptionally horrid years, our relationship has really never healed, and I know that this hurts both of us. My mother has accused me of being gay before, but I denied it. She is very homophobic. Now that I'm moving out of her house and am going to be independent from her, I am wondering whether or not I should ever come out to her. I don't want to cause her any more pain, and I know that it would break her heart. But is it better to tell the truth and cause her pain, or allow her to live her life blissfully unaware of this fact and all the lies I will have to tell her? There's also the possibility of her finding out from some other source some day, and being doubly heartbroken than I didn't tell her myself. So basically my question is: Which is better, sadness but with truth, or happiness but all lies? I don't care anymore whether she accepts me, or what ever else she chooses to do or think- I just want to know what would be the right thing.
Hi Suzu, it's nice to hear from you.
I'm really sorry to hear that you’re not having a good relationship with your Mom or your Step-Father. Since both of your Brothers likely know about you being Bisexual, that is a really great benefit for you. If you ever do happen to go through a difficult time, it's good to know that you will have some support within your immediate family. I would suggest that you continue to keep being honest with your older Brother and tell him how you feel about your Mom & Step-Dad. He may be able to suggest some ideas that may work for you if/when you decide to come out to them.
I think you’re looking at this situation a little wrong. Don't think about what's best for your Mom. Instead, you need to think about what's best for just you and that's it!!
Whenever I get a question about the possibility of coming out to a likely non-supportive parent, I suggest they do it once they are financially independent of them. If you’re moving out, you might need some occasional money from your parents (if they are the type to give it). If they're helping you pay for College/University, that counts too. It's not the most honest thing to do but you need to look after yourself and be your own best friend. Now after saying that, if you ever get to the point at any time, where you don't respect the person looking back at you in the mirror and want to come out because you want to be the real you with everybody, then you definitely should do it.
I recently had someone close to me become terminally ill and knew they were going to pass away. When that happens, they have a choice of where it will happen. Some might choose the Hospital, others may want to stay comfortable in their house, there's also the option of a Hospice residence too. My point is there's no 1-way to pass away because it's different for each individual and they can choose what works and is most comfortable for them. Coming out is very similar to that, in that there is no 1-way to do it and you need to do what you feel is most comfortable for yourself. All I can really say is to do what benefits you the most, and do it. You’re the one going on this journey (with support of course) but since you’re in control you need to decide some things for yourself. It's the fun & scary part of getting older and becoming an adult wrapped up in 1 little package. If you’re not sure what to do, I suggest having some time to yourself privately where you can reflect on what decision would benefit you the most. If you need longer then a day, let yourself have it, there's no rush.
On a side note, it would be great if you could meet others who are LGBT in your area as well. Joining youth groups or volunteering with LGBT friendly organizations in your area is a great way to meet new friends and would undoubtedly surround you with lots of support during any challenging times.
I'd wish you luck with everything, but I know you won't need it.
If I can help any further, please don't hesitate to send me a follow-up on this website.