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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » LGBTQA Relationships » My sister told me she's lesbian...?

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Author Topic: My sister told me she's lesbian...?
BellaMenina
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She told me and my mother about 1 year ago but she still can't find the guts to tell my father.
The thing is, she's been acting really weird.
I'm completely 100% for gay rights, always have been and always will be.
The thing is I think that my sister feels like she's not accepted in society.
She doesn't want to tell anyone she's lesbian and like for her schoolwork she'll write essays about why people don't support gays and on her Facebook and Instagram she indirectly posts things about gays and it's just really weird to me because I have a lot of gay guy friends and I have never seen them put anything like, "Oh yeah go gays! I love boys! Etc." but she does and it's really weird to me.
One of my best friends is lesbian and she never posts anything on her FB like, "Lesbian pride! Go gays! I love girls!" but why does my sister do that?
I don't know it is kind of annoying to me.
She's also been talking to this girl and she has a date with her today and my mom isn't really liking it, I can understand, it does feel a little weird.
Ugh I don't know, can someone give me advice on how to deal with my sister acting so strange?

Posts: 19 | From: London | Registered: Jan 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
September
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I am glad to hear that your sister feels like she can confide in you and your mother, and that you are doing your best to be supportive of her! I am sure she appreciates it, too.

We cannot tell you why she posts about LGBT issues on Facebook. Have you asked her about it? Either way, this is not something that is wierd just because she does it and your other friends do not. Everyone is different in the way they use social media: some like to post lots of things about their friends and relationships, others are more private; some like to bring up politial and social issues that stir them, others prefer to socialize and catch up with friends. That's really super individual, and there is nothing wierd about that.

As for your sister feeling like LGBT peopel are discriminated against in society - that's pretty spot on. It's awesome that you are really supportive of your friends and don't have any prejudices, but unfortunately there are a lot of people who do have prejudices. There are still a lot of ways in which LGBT people are no treated equally in society, so it is really not that surprising that your sister is bothred by this.

Here, too, I think a convrsation with your sister would help. Maybe she can help you to see her side of things so you can understand and support her better.

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Johanna
Scarleteen Volunteer

"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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BellaMenina
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Yeah I think I need to talk to her, thank you.
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I'd add that it might be that talking about more general LGBT issues in public might be the way your sister feels she *can* try being a little out, and take the temperature of the people around her to see if there are others she might consider coming out to, or to feel how safe her community is period, or to have a way to talk about being lesbian more indirectly.

It might also help to think about why you think that's weird: often when people are trying to feel more empowered, they'll cheerlead in that way, whether it's about being lesbian, being of a certain race, having certain political ideas or ways of living, etc. Especially with things where gaining acceptance isn't easy.

Maybe you can try and find some common ground, perhaps by identifying something about you where you find it feels scary or hard to get acceptance?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Sarah Is A Bear
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Hi! I sort of registered just to respond to this because I think I can help you understand your sister's perspective somewhat. Talking with her is definitely the right solution but hopefully I can still make things a little clearer for you in general.

I have been your sister. I am your sister. I will most likely always be your sister in some way, shape, or form. Our experiences will be different to a degree as I am bi/pan and she identifies as a lesbian, but I know all about being in coming out limbo. You see, coming out isn't some magical step a queer person takes once. It is an eternal process because we live in a heteronormative society. The default is heterosexual, so with each new person you meet, you have to come out. Some people combat this by being extremely flamboyant which is an excellent strategy for some people. It can get really tiresome constantly having to decide when/if to tell people. I usually go your sister's sort-of-middle route: I will talk about queer rights until the cows come home, but I don't bring up that I don't just like guys unless I have a reason. Heck, even when I was busy founding my school's GSA, I expended great effort to only talk about my male crushes with my friends. If I do bring my pansexuality up, I usually try to slip into some general discussion of queer pride.

You have to understand that coming out is awkward. It is scary. It is potentially deadly. I have gotten in physical altercations over my sexuality. Your sister isn't paranoid to feel like she isn't accepted. As September put it, that's pretty spot on. You have to learn to understand her very scary, different reality which will probably be hard and difficult, but part of supporting her is learning to comprehend rather than judge her experiences and knowledge.

The tl;dr of that is that your sister isn't acting strange or weird at all. Sorry! Now here is more concrete advice of how to deal with your sister telling you she is a lesbian:

1. Avoid comparing your sister to your lesbian friend. You don't want to start building up that dichotomy that there is a wrong/right way to be a lesbian and your sister is doing it "wrong" because you find it annoying. Your lesbian best friend is not the "good" lesbian for being less flamboyant or super into discussing queer rights. No two queer people are the same.

2. You and your mom have to deal with your unsupportive feelings by yourselves. Do not dump them on your sister. It is not your sister's problem that you find her supporting her own rights annoying or that you find her going on a date with a person of her preferred gender weird. Realize that you and your mom being weird about her actually going on a date with a girl or even simply posting queer rights stuff online might be part of the reason she personally feels so unaccepted. (Those feelings may also stem from her anxiety about how your dad might react or simply because society sucks when it comes to queer people.)

3. Do talk to her, but focus on her. Ask her what you can do to support her and then follow through on what she asks for. Realize that being a 100% for gay rights means supporting her even if she is your annoying sister.

4. Educate yourself on queer rights. You don't need to write about them all over your FB wall, but learn the realities. Learn all of the unfortunate ways in which your sister isn't accepted into society.

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Heather
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Sarah: what a fantastic response. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
moonlight bouncing off water
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quote:
Originally posted by Heather:
Sarah: what a fantastic response. [Smile]

I second that. [Smile]

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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Cricket
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I don't think I can articulate anything quite as awesome as what Sarah said, but I just want to add into this a little bit - talking about large-scale political issues like gay rights can be a really good way to test the waters when you move through the world and see whether the people you interact with might be capable of handling the fact that you are a real, actual, individual, non-abstract gay person. I am lucky to live in a community where most people are okay with a variety of sexualities, but transgender identities are still sometimes suspect and not liked or understood, so bringing up trans* issues in more general or abstract terms is how I check to see if it's safe for me to talk about my gender identity in a given situation. If someone can't handle me talking about how messed up it was for Congresspeople to try and cut the provisions protecting Native American women and LGBTQ people out of the Violence Against Women Act, then I'm not going to bother trying to tell them that I prefer gender-neutral pronouns, I'll just try to leave as soon as possible.

You say you are 100% for gay rights, but feel weird about your sister posting about gay rights issues online, and compare her to other gay people you know who don't. I am curious - if you saw a close friend or family member who you knew was not gay posting about the same kinds of issues, would you find it weird? You seem to be working off of an assumption that it is weird for gay and lesbian people to openly discuss their sexualities and the political and social issues that they face because of them because your sister is the only one you have seen doing it. If you are 100% for gay rights, you don't have to shout that from the rooftops constantly, but you do need to be aware that gay people themselves are going to talk about their rights, and that that is not only okay but necessary. If we didn't, how would we get anything done? Waiting for straight people to spontaneously welcome us all and give us rights hasn't really worked.

The bottom line is that having any orientation other than straight DOES mean not being fully accepted into society, and your sister is working on finding the methods of self-expression that help her feel the safest and most connected to her identity in the face of that issue. You don't have to like everything she does, but you do need to acknowledge that how she handles things related to her sexuality isn't automatically your business. She isn't being a lesbian AT you for the purpose of being weird or strange, she's just being a lesbian in the way that feels best to her and you happen to be a person close to her who is reacting to her processes of self-expression.

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moonlight bouncing off water
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quote:
Originally posted by Cricket:
talking about large-scale political issues like gay rights can be a really good way to test the waters when you move through the world and see whether the people you interact with might be capable of handling the fact that you are a real, actual, individual, non-abstract gay person.

Oh Cricket you did give an awesome answer! This is awesome at articulating what I have found the best way to figure out whom it is safe to be out around. I especially like the idea of being a "non-abstract" person. For some people the only concepts of queer folk that they have are abstract ones (usually this is in small towns and they either know no queer people, or far more likely, none of the queer people they know are out to them). Because these people are thinking about abstract gay people it can be really difficult for them to understand non-abstract gay people and the fact that we are every bit as varied as non-gay people.

quote:
Originally posted by Cricket:

[Your sister] isn't being a lesbian AT you for the purpose of being weird or strange, she's just being a lesbian in the way that feels best to her.

I love this! First because the idea of being a lesbian AT someone is hilarious (I'm still thinking about how that could be done), but more importantly, because it illustrates a great point. (That being that BellaMenina's sister's LGBT activism is about BellaMenina's sister, not BellaMenina).

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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BellaMenina
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Wow thank you all! Sorry for replying so late!
Posts: 19 | From: London | Registered: Jan 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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