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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Identity » How to Help my Brother

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Author Topic: How to Help my Brother
Alatariel
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It has been forever and a half since I've been on this message board, but I find myself in a situation where I'm not sure who to ask for advice, and Scarleteen has always been such a wonderful place to find help and support that I knew I could ask my question here.

My younger brother (he's 18 and will be going into University in September) came out to me as gay a couple of weeks ago, after questioning his sexual orientation for over half a year, and telling our other sister several months ago. He told my parents tonight, and didn't get a reaction that he had hoped for.

My parents are liberal, very accepting of LGBTQ issues, and are very supportive and loving. Their reaction to my brother telling them that he's gay was, however, disbelief, denial, and tears.

My father thinks that my brother is reacting to not having a good first girlfriend experience, and believes that he will change his mind with time. My mother didn't express quite so much disbelief, but did suggest that perhaps he was "unsure" or "questioning" despite my brother repeating several times that he was very sure. Both of my parents have told him that he shouldn't tell too many people, shouldn't be open about it at university, and shouldn't change his gender preference on Facebook. My father said that it could mean future employers won't hire him (to which my brother responded that he wouldn't want to work for anyone who wouldn't hire him because of that) and both parents expressed fear that he would be beat up by homophobic kids at university. (He will be attending the same university that I went to, which is fairly liberal and has lots of social and support groups for LGBTQ students).

They are both, obviously, concerned for his safety and don't want him to suffer the hate that is so prevalent against LGBTQ people. I feel the same way, but know that he has to be true to himself. The conversation ended with them telling my brother that they love him no matter what, but he left feeling very invalidated, and neither of my parents wants to talk about it.

I understand that they need time to come to terms with this, but is there anything that I can do to help either them or my brother? I have offered my brother my utmost support, and have spoken with him about how our parents will come around, but this is difficult for everyone, and I would really appreciate some assistance or advice.

Posts: 128 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
copper86
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I'm so sorry that you are going through a tough time right now. I'm sure your brother appreciates your support; and you being there for him must be a huge comfort for him through all of this.

I understand that your parents are confused about this; and also that they are concerned for his safety. However, I think that university might be a good experience for him. I know my university also had LGBTQ clubs and acceptance was quite evident on-campus. My roommate attended some club meetings and had a lot of fun, and made new friends. I think that LGBTQ individuals are much more accepted now; and though unfortunately there are some who are negative towards it, I think for the most part, Canadian society is doing well in moving towards respect, love, and equity.

I think that when we are faced with any kind of situation where someone is hurting or confused, some of the best things we can do is to be there and to listen to them. What you're doing seems to be very positive, both for your brother and for your family. It sounds like your family is communicating and open, so perhaps with time, your parents will want to discuss this further.

Again, I think that you are being a great sister by what you are doing for your brother. Having a brother myself that I love dearly, I commend you for that and hope that things get better for him and for you and your family. Take care!

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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Hi Alatariel,

Your love for your family shhines through all of this. [Smile]

As Copper said, the most supportive thing you can do right now is to just be there for everyone. As well, since you've already been to the university your brother is going to, perhaps you can direct him towards the LGBT groups that you know about. Otherwise, just being there to listen to him and affirming his right and need to be himself is super-supportive.


I think it's also important to make sure that you don't become the go-between for your parents and brother. You can be supportive and helpful to all of them, but they've all got to work out their own stuff, too. Do you have friends you can rely on for impartial support?

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Robin

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Heather
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(Alatriel, how great to see you! [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

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Also, have your parents connected with PFLAG at all? If they're where you are, here's the information for that region: http://www.pflagcanada.ca/en/homeframe-e.php?homeframe=region-list-e.php?RegionNo=4

I think being able to talk to other parents right now who have been through this would probably help them, and your brother, out a whole lot. And they can be sure they won't be the only parents there struggling with what they probably feel, in some way, are the kind of reactions to this they wish they weren't having, and know better about, but are experiencing all the same.

--------------------
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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Alatariel
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Thank you, everyone, for your kind and thoughtful replies (glad to be back, Heather!). My mom had a rather tearful conversation with my brother last night and seems to have made a lot of progress. She explained how she was feeling (very normal reactions; concern for his safety and future, morning the loss of the future she had envisioned for him) and told him that she was proud of him for being so brave.

My dad hasn't really said anything, but I know that he'll come around with time and with my mom pushing him. The minister at our church is gay, and he some with them briefly last night, and set up a time to talk more with them. I've passed along the information about PFLAG to my mom. My brother knows that he has my love and support, and that our parents love him too, but need some time.

Thank you again, everyone, for your advice.

Posts: 128 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WesLuck
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-hugs for Alatariel and family-

Best wishes!

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Glad to hear that things have gotten a bit better and that your family is on their way to accepting him!

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~moonlight

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

Posts: 864 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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