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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Identity » Odd feelings about coming out to parents.

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Author Topic: Odd feelings about coming out to parents.
libertatissacra
Activist
Member # 35773

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This past year, I've started identifying as pansexual in the realm of sexual orientation, and not-quite-female-identified in the gender realm.

As far as gender identity goes, it's mostly that I find social gender roles very restrictive and see no reason to adhere to them. I've always been a little bit of a tomboy, had more male friends than female friends, etc. While I sometimes feel a little uncomfortable with being biologically female, it's not exactly been the most acute cause of emotional pain in my life. I simply learned more about gender vs. sex, realised that what's between my legs doesn't need to define me as a person, and try to be myself.

As far as sexuality, I only fairly recently learned the term "pansexual," and although I sort of dislike labeling sexual orientation, if someone asked about my sexuality and wanted an answer in one word, that's probably how I'd describe myself. I guess I'm more on the straight-leaning side of it, but I've had an enjoyed some sexual experiences with women, briefly dated a MtF transsexual (it didn't work out, but I was very attracted to her), and my boyfriend now is, as he likes to say, "slightly gender dysphoric," which I honestly find to be an extra turn-on.

(Sorry that was all so long. As much as I dislike many labels, sometimes I wish there WERE terms that I felt defined me better in terms of gender and sexuality so I don't feel like I need to give such long-winded explaination.)

The issue is, I'm not sure how to tell my parents, or even if I should tell them. And it's sort of weird I would feel that way, given that they're both very liberal and open-minded when it comes to that sort of thing, and as much as told me once that it wouldn't be a problem if I wasn't straight.

The thing is, my mother recently left my father for another woman, and honestly, I'm extremely angry with her about it. It's not so much that she fell in love with another woman that bothers me as it is that she was unfaithful to my father, and just handled the entire situation very badly. For example, I found out about her affair (via accidently over-hearing a phone conversation she had with her girlfriend) before she was "ready" to tell my father and actually deal with the situation, so she made me hide it from everyone, including my father (who she was still living with and, as far as any outside eyes could see, in love with) and would never want to listen to anything I had to say about the situation. So basically, I had no one at all to talk to and was dealing with some pretty difficult emotions, and she put me (I was 16 at the start of all this) in a VERY awkward and emotionally taxing situation. I know that if I "came out" to her, she would be perfectly accepting and woudln't have any problems with it (which would have been the case even before all this drama with her affair), but I sort of worry she'd be almost TOO happy about it. Like the "Let's join a support group for queer mothers and their queer children!" kind of thing, and I don't want to deal with that. I'm still working out a lot of my feelings about her. She'll probably feel like us both not being straight gives us some kind of special bond, or that all is now forgiven just because I've kissed another girl, too. I know that I can't know her reaction for sure before I tell her, but I know my mom, and this really is how I see her reacting. And that's NOT a reaction I want. Right now, I'm enjoying the fact that I have some space from her so I can work out some of my feelings towards her without having to actively deal with the situation every day.

As for my dad...well, even though I know he accepts LGBT-related things intellectually, I'm worried that he'll see me differently, especially because of what happened with my mom. This whole thing has been really tough on my dad, and I've sort of been taking his side (mostly) in this whole mess, and our relationship has actually gotten a lot better as a result. I'm worried that he'll feel somehow...betrayed or something or feel like I'm somehow now taking my mom's side if he associates my gender and sexual indentity with the fiasco between him and my mother.

And then sometimes I wonder if I should even worry about their reactions. Maybe I just shoudln't tell them at all. Neither of my parents have ever been super involved or outwardly concerned about my romantic/sex life. The only relationship of mine that they've even been aware of (or mentioned that they're aware of) is my current one, and that's only because my boyfriend stays with me when I go to visit them (I live in another city). I know I could go to either of them if I had a really big problem (unwanted pregnancy, nasty break-up, etc.) but sex and relationships has just never been part of our parent-child dialogue. On the one hand, I think I'd sort of like to feel like I can be more open with both of them, and telling them about my gender identity and sexual orientation might open up some channels of communication for that. But on the other hand, I sort of feel like my love life isn't any of their business.

I know that relatively speaking, this isn't a huge issue. My family isn't perfect, but no one's is. I know I should be thankful that I have two parents who love and accept me (and I am extremely thankful) and maybe I shouldn't be agonising like I am over this, but any advice and thoughts on this whole novel I've posted here would be very much appreciated.

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"America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between."
-Oscar Wilde

Posts: 115 | From: San Francisco, CA | Registered: Nov 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Just to help you a little bit with your Mom?

Do understand that it if often SO much harder for people of older generations to come out, and harder still for those who a) felt like they were never really given a choice b) have established families and hetero marriages and c) don't have any same-age support systems when it comes to same-sex feelings.

I'm not excusing your mother's behaviour, and you're right, putting all of that on you and asking you to keep secrets from your other parent is a helluva thing to do to your kid, but it can, in this generation, be tougher to understand that dealing with same-sex attraction is usually harder for the generations before, sometimes massively so.

I can see how you're in a tough spot with this, but it also sounds to me like both of your parents will probably be fine, particularly if you explain to them what you've said here about your different feelings in telling both of them. In other words, you certainly CAN tell your mother that you're coming out to her but still have very conflicted feelings about her situation and the part she asked you to play in it, and set a boundary that for right now, it's not something you want to become BFF about. You can certainly tell your Dad that you were nervous about coming out because you were worried he'd feel it was some kind of betrayal. And I agree with you, this kind of communication really can deepen relationships with parents. The one things I would say is that if you're going to come out, you should probably come out to both since you don't want to end up with one more secret in your house only one parent and you know about.

But of course, it is not mandatory you tell them or that you tell them now. You may want to wait until you are in a same-sex or same-identity relationship where they are going to meet that person, so it then is really more pertinent information to them. Or not. I don't think there is a wrong choice here for you with any of this.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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