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Author Topic: How to tell the parent....
Tenshi_XI
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So, I've managed to tell 5/6 of my closest friends that I'm Bi, though I may actually be Gay, but that either way, I know I'm not straight. Certainly complicated, but it'll work out. I still have tons of soul searching. I probably already have the answer (Everyday I feel more Gay and less Bi) but my mind tends to argue the point.

Now, onto my point. Against my more rational judgement, I do want to tell my mom. To save myself some added conflict, I'd most likely just tell her I'm Gay (She thinks Bi people are just confused). The thing is, I have no idea how I should go about it. (spare me any attempt on how to convince my mom about Bisexual rights, it's a fight not worth going into with her)

Understand, the relationship I have with my mom is INCREDIBLY complicated, I could practically write a book. Just understand that while it is a loving house, it's still got plenty of animosity.

so, I've considered the direct approach, y'know, the "Mom I need to talk to you about something...." Thing is, whenever talks have started like this in the past, they've gone horribly wrong, and they weren't nearly as hard as this one. It'd either go well, but slowly crumble into bad, or it'd go bad immediately.

I've considering writing a REALLY long letter, and then leaving it on the counter. I'm actually a kiss *** writer when I put my mind to it, and I could probably fill 2-3 pages with so much, she'd be speechless. Then I could come home, and hopefully she'd have worked some things out by then. Still, I'd most likely come home with a fight waiting for me.

I've considered "accidentally" leaving out a PFLAG pamphlet, or other such similar literature. Such things are never in this house, so for her to find one would be highly suspect. She'd most likely put two & two together.

I've also considered not telling her. Which wouldn't be that hard, but a part of me feels like I can't move forward until I do. Overall, I think I need to tell her.

I've also considered waiting till I'm out of the house, and then tell her. That way, if I tell her at my place, and things go poorly, I can simply tell her to leave. It's cold, I know, but an undeniable option.

I've also considered waiting until I'm in a relatioship, that way I can basically "package deal" her. Sort of a "this is how it is, I am happy, and you best get use to it."

Any other ideas? Please please share.

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Surferchk07
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Man do I understand you on the friends thing. When I told my friends I was not bi and that I was a lesbian they told me "Oh no your not, you are totally bi" Evidently they cant picture me as a lesbian or something. *rolls eyes*

As for the mom thing you just got to do it, hiding it will suck its so much easier to get it out. I ended up writing my mom a note cause I just litterly would freeze up everytime I wanted to tell her so I wrote along note about me being gay and how ive always known and all that. She than tried to tell me i should be bi instead LOL! Even though before I came out as a gay she use to say kinda what your mom said that Bi's are just confused and cant they just pick one sex to be with.

Honestly over thinking it all will just kill you cause then you start thinking about why this way wouldnt work or why this would be better just tell her. It makes life so much easier when you dont have to hide who you are in front of your parents.

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Queer Power
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I think it's annoying that lgbtq folks are expected to 'come out' as it reinforces heterosexuality as the given or norm.


To me it's important to be open and honest and uncompromising about queerness, but this doesn't have to involve a special heart-to-heart with mom. If she's surprised when you start dating someone with the same genitals, you can call her out for assuming you were straight.

Haha.. I think that kids who think they're hetero should sit down with their parents/friends/etc and 'come out' about their feelings for the opposite sex... then us queers can "help them through it" and "love them for who they are" and feed them all of that patronizing garbage that straight people tell us when we try to talk to them about who we are.

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Heather
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My impression has been that those expectations both are changing and really depend on where you are.

A lot of people now really don't have to come out anymore. Some simply want to: it's a sort of ritual for them that has relevance and import. So, it's pretty important not to stomp on that when someone is talking about coming out to a parent, friend or anyone else because it is something they want to do per establishing/validating their own identity and community.

I hear you on the comedy of straight kids coming out and queer folks supporting them. [Smile] On the other hand, some of the reason things are like that is because those of us who are queer do or have needed the extra support just like any minority/marginalized segment of society in any other respect does.

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Queer Power
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So many times queer youth seek support from the straight people around them (parents, pastors, councilors, whatever) only to be spoken down to or even attacked. What's cool about this forum is that queer youth can find support from other queer youth... though it is of course so important to find that face to face. I don't think queers should expect straight people to support or defend us because usually they don't (there are exceptions to that of course!).
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Heather
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quote:
I don't think queers should expect straight people to support or defend us because usually they don't (there are exceptions to that of course!).
Thing is, that's a personal experience issue.

Because I'd have to say that over the course of my life, my hetero friends and family have been overwhelmingly supportive of me. Certainly I have spots where that isn't so, but overall, that hasn't been a big problem for me. (And that likely has a lot to do with where I've lived, what kind of people I have around me, where I spend my time, etc. but again, these are wide variances people have.)

And my experience in doing the work I do, and in, heck, 20+ years now of being out in a lot of different queer communities, amoung a lot of queer people, is that it's not about rules and expections, but about some pretty wide variances.

[ 03-15-2007, 01:29 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Tenshi_XI
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*grumble*

OKAY

Not to be cross, but come back to the topic at hand. So far I have one useful posting, and then 4 postings about the politics and ethics of coming out, seeking help, etc. This isn't helpful. Please, start a different posting or something if you want to debate this.

I'm here for advice on how to deal with a parent, NOT for opinions on the politics of it, or that there is irony to the fact that queer people seek out the help of straight people.

...ranting over...

Actually, no, not over. Y'know what, the world isn't perfect, in fact, most of the time, it sucks. And the harsh fact of the matter is that probably 1/4 of the world doesn't approve of us, even hate us. People desire, and even need acceptance, it's how most define themselves in the society we live. I seeked out counselors (8 weeks ago) that either were Gay or were parents of Gay kids. Why? Cuz I had FAR more questions then a straight counselor could answer. Is this to say straight counselors are bad, of course not, I just knew what I needed at the time.

ALSO, why is it wrong to seek the approval of the people you know/love that are straight? Do you have any idea at all how much it meant to me to have my closest friends look at me and say "It's okay." Do you have any idea how wonderful it felt to have one of my friends say "Why would you be afraid of us? It's not like we'd abandon you." I'm sorry, but the sheer fact of that matter is that we DO NEED the support and love of those we care about, or else it'll be a very lonely place indeed.

I'm sorry if you've had bad experiences, really I am, but I'm here right now trying to prevent a bad experience with my 1 and only parent. If you can't bring something more to the party then politics and conjecture, please go somewhere else.

Now, any other suggestions for talking to parents? I'm heavily leaning toward a letter, but I'm just not sure....

thank you.

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Heather
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If you know that you best communicate with writing -- and it sounds very much like you do, and that you're most comfortable coming out that way -- then by all means, that's the way to go.

In writing it, if you want to address arguments you anticipate -- like this issue of them telling you or someone else you're too young to know that I addressed above for you -- then that's an option, but overall, I'd advise doing your level best not to go to the defensive from the get-go.

Instead, just be as honest and plain as you can, maybe talk about why coming out is important to you, maybe talk about why your queer relationships are important to you, and I think it's also sage to talk about why your parent's acceptance and support is a big deal.

(By the by, in case I didn't make it clear, as far as scarleteen is concerned, there's nothing in the world wrong with seeking acceptance from the straight people in your life, for this issue or any other. We're with you on that, babe, and doing our best to moderate topics like this when a user does come and take them astray.)

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Tenshi_XI
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Well, age most certainly won't be a factor, since I'm 24. So no worries about that.

My main concerns have to do with the fact that my mom is a single parent, has been my whole life, and I really think she'll blame herself in that capacity. Yes yes, it's not her fault, even I know that, but it'll be a hard won fight to convince her otherwise.

Another major concern (that ties into the complicated nature of my relationship with her) is that she has a really bad habit of weaponizing my feelings of emotions against me during a fight. Things I express to her eventually get turned against me. It makes things interesting. She may not immediately come at me, but she eventually will, and I don't know if I have the defenses for such a conflict when it occurs.

My other major concern is that I have been growing increasingly distant from her, and I'm sure she's noticed. What bothers me is that normally she jumps at the opportunity to shake info out of me if my behavior has changed, but not in this case. This worries me, as I wonder if she can see how quiet I am, or how distant I seem. She's been increasing in animosity toward me (which is why I'm arranging to move out....something I also need to talk about with her), and I question if she doesn't ask because she doesn't care like she use too.

And yes, thanks, you Scarlet have answer each forum with good advice, I was more cross with "Power" for hijacking my thread for a bit.

I'm sure I have more concerns then that.....

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Ecofem
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Tenshi, how about telling her once you've moved out? How's that looking? Do you think there could be something else in her life right now that's making her seem distant?
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Tenshi_XI
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I've considered waiting till I'm out of the house, which in theory should be no later then July. At the moment, that really does seem like the safest option.

Heh, onto the psychology of things. My mom never re-married, she never dated. This was not my doing, in fact, I never stood against her going out. Hell, I even told her she should date. She's now getting at the age where she's starting to become lonely. She's also starting to realize that I don't need her anymore, that I'm not relying on her. I'm sure she's noticed that I have less and less concern about my home (EX: I'll gladly go out with friends, and am quite solid in my decision). Essentially, she's becoming lonely, and she knows I'll be out of the house soon (At the VERY worst, next year, May. And I think a part of her knows that I'm not just going to be leaving, I'm going to be running.

A part of me also thinks she's slightly jealous of me. I clearly make an effort to see friends, I have hobbies, I'm confident, high self esteeemed, and I'm chasing my dreams (artist FTW!). She seemingly has given up on these things, and I think she may resent me for it.

Though I really must thank her, as she's made me an extremely galvanized person.

Like I said, complicated.....

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plain milyeh
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some thoughts i have (whatever they're worth to you):

-i would write her a letter, and leave one of those pamphlets hangin' around for good measure, too. the pamphlet on its own is kind of vague and might just make her get all confused and graaar about it, but the letter is personal...and the pamphlet can back it up with some nice concrete options for her to go figure out.

-waiting 'til you're out of the house is probably a good idea. gives you both space to deal with whatever you'll be dealing with around this.

-waiting 'til you're in a relationship is maybe not such a good idea. sure, the "package deal" is one way to look at it, but the other way is "involving a third party in something that's really pretty much about me and my mother, and which could go horribly awry if she just decides she doesn't like my partner and then that gets all mixed up with feelings of not liking my queerness, and then everything kinda escalates horribly and that really can't be good for anybody's relationship". i'm not saying that's the definite outcome or anything, i just think that in cases where parents are likely to freak out, waiting until there's another person directly involved is kind of...a very awkward position to put that third person in. also, if your parent sees your queerness as revolving around your relationship with this particular person...well, there are a lot of ways that slant could complicate things.

good luck, with whatever you do decide.

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Heather
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quote:
i'm not saying that's the definite outcome or anything, i just think that in cases where parents are likely to freak out, waiting until there's another person directly involved is kind of...a very awkward position to put that third person in. also, if your parent sees your queerness as revolving around your relationship with this particular person...well, there are a lot of ways that slant could complicate things.
That is some seriously astute and perceptive advice there.

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Tenshi_XI
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Wow, I hadn't even considered the 3rd party aspect of the "package deal" idea. Thank you, that indeed was very astute. Very well, that idea is officially in the bad catagory.

I talked at great length with my friend John, who is theory I may become a housemate with in July (Things are still largely hypothetical), and he agrees that waiting till I'm out of the house is ver much the best idea. From there, I could either write a ginormous letter, or tell her at my place.

While slightly dramatic, I could see John waiting in his room while I tell me mom, ever ready to burst forth in my defense if things got aggressive. *laughs*

-Adam

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plain milyeh
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see, supportive friends are the best thing to have at a time like this. they're all, well, you know, supportive, and excellent like that, but also don't run the same risk as a sweetheart does of getting caught in the crossfire.

this is all mostly hypothetical on my part/based on other people's experiences, so it certainly shouldn't be taken as gospel or nothin', but it is something i've spent a while pondering, for various reasons.

again, i wish you so much luck with coming out to your mother. so much.

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swimmah19
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Tenshi_Xi: I'm having a similar problem with my mother as well, who is also single. My dad left about a year and a half ago now and my mom has started dating again, which is totally fine with me. It's just that she tends to stress out about little things a lot and in general has not been in the greatest of moods as of late.
She also shares the attitude that bi people are "just confused" or that "bisexuality doesn't exist", which is rather frustrating for me, because I know I'm bisexual. It will be difficult for me to come out to her for this reason because she has a strong personality and will not believe me for an instant if I tell her what I feel.
One interesting thought that stems from these conversations though: these conversations don't happen with my sister, they only happen with me. Maybe my mother suspects I'm gay/bisexual and is just trying to get something out of me. This makes some sort of sense, she's crafty like that [Smile]

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Tenshi_XI
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Well that's certainly interesting.

I managed to easily come out to my long time friend on Monday. I've literally known him my whole life (23 years), and he's very much like a brother to me.

What usefull about him is that he's known my mom as long as I have, so I got the benefit of an outside observer.

It is his theory that she already knows, but is either too uncomfortable to breech the topic, or is simply unwilling to, or is waiting for me.

Indeed, she does say some interesting things, that He also agrees raise some "She already knows" flags.Allow me to explain:

What do most parents say to their kids? They say "When you have kids, you better do (this, that, whatever)" It's like the parent curse that your kids will be "just like you when you were a kid." Now, my mom for the longest time would always say "When you have kids..." but about 4-5 years ago started saying "IF you have kids..." Sure sure, one could just argue symmantics, but it's undeniable that there's a difference in the phrases. One is definitive, one isn't. NOW, also factor in the fact that my mom speaks largely in absolutes, and it becomes aparent that such wording is suspect.

Second thing: At least once a month I hear "You need to get yourself a girlfriend to teach you manners." or something to that effect. Typically it's used in a fight to slow me down. Still, it's an interesting thing to say. I mean, how many parents tell their kids "You need to get yourself a girlfriend."

What is also interesting is how much interest she places in ANY girl in my life. The slightest mention of one bring about a bevy of questions: "What's her name? Is she cute? How old is she? What's she like?" And it's like "GAHHH! She's just a classmate, sakes!"

In my opinion it's almost like she has her suspicions, so she funneling her energy into trying to "put me on the correct path" or something. Of course, I also have a bad habit of overanalyzing what people say and do, so I very well may be pulling too much info from simply words.

Still, it's interesting.

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Heather
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quote:
Second thing: At least once a month I hear "You need to get yourself a girlfriend to teach you manners." or something to that effect. Typically it's used in a fight to slow me down. Still, it's an interesting thing to say. I mean, how many parents tell their kids "You need to get yourself a girlfriend."

Quite a lot of them, actually. It's not something I'd say is atypical, especially when directed at boys.

However, the large concern in that directive -- whether one suspects a child is gay or not -- is generally all about affirming/enforcing heteronormativity.

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plain milyeh
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quote:
Originally posted by Tenshi_XI:
I mean, how many parents tell their kids "You need to get yourself a girlfriend."

um, my dad. all the time. since grade eight, pretty much. (and that was before *i* knew i wanted to kiss girls. or boys, for that matter.)
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goldaries13
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Well, I can assure that whatever you do, don't come out the way I did(your parents will never get over the compromising position, trust me).

That being said, the idea of a letter: try writing one, but don't send it. Write several, actually, till you write one that seems 'correct.' I don't know how to clarify that, but you'll know when you write it. Either way, the letter is more of a way to get your thoughts and feelings straight. It need not be sent, unless you feel actually talking would cause too much drama.

I recommend talking to your mother, but(now we can all groan cause we've heard this before) if or when you do, start this way(this is actually how I planned coming out to my parents):

Start with something along the lines of how you love her and respect her. It's a good starting point that keeps her from getting angry, or at least it holds the anger off.

Tell her that you have something to tell her that you feel is important for her to know. And then tell her.

She will most likely be confused, angry, possibly blame herself or try to convince you you're not 'that way.' Completely normal. Most parents can't comprehend bombshells like that at first(and let's face it, to their generation, this is a bombshell).

The important thing is to use 'I' statements. 'I am this way, I choose to be this way, I'm afraid I'm not going to get support from you' etc. Start on the 'you' statements (ie, "you don't support me, you don't accept me," etc) and I guarantee you your mother will shut down and be defensive.

Keep this in mind however you choose to tell her. Best of luck.

And also, if you do tell her, make sure it's in a neutral setting, or at least one where both of you have the option of going somewhere to cool off if it gets heated. No public places, either(BAD NEWS).

That's all I can think of at the moment. Good luck.

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September
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quote:
Originally posted by goldaries13:
The important thing is to use 'I' statements. 'I am this way, I choose to be this way, I'm afraid I'm not going to get support from you' etc.

Just one little nit-pick in your excellent advice, goldaries: There is no choice involved in being homosexual. Coming out can be a choice, yes. But being gay isn't.

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Tenshi_XI
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HAHAHA I was going to point out the "choice" comment, but decided not to. Then someone does it anyway.

I've been talking to more and more people about how they dealt with their parents. One aquintance waited over 6 years before telling his parents (he'd been Out for 6 years).

Granted, I'd rather not wait till I'm 30. I'd preferably like to get this all dealt with before my 25th birthday. Once I get mom out of the way, I'll really be able to just move forward, and life without concern of who knows/doesn't know. I even plan at some point, after telling my mom, to make a small anouncement on my various blog/journal things. For me, that will seal everything up. The info will be out there, I'll be out there, and life can proceed.

Life has been going well though. Rex has got me meeting a ton of people, and I've been talking to more people in general. I'd give it only a month or 2 before I start actually dating. Granted, this will pose a few logistical problems at home, and the web of lies I've created, I need a chart to keep track. I think I said it best when I mentioned to Isaac "My mind is like %*(^&ing legos! I tear it down and rebuild regularly!"

The lies and stories I have had to construct have been complicated and detailed, and in all honesty, it's goddamn exhausting. Life would be much easier if mom simply knew, if I didn't have to keep track of every little thing I utter. Still, I'm simply too scared, and cowardly. Ironically, if my mom asked me "Are you Gay?" I'd be able to answer, in fact, I'd feel compelled to answer. That's just the way I am, if you ask me a question, I really can't help but answer, and answer honestly.

Poor mom is being tested at the moment too. As far as I know, she's accepting of gay people, but I wondered how approving she is. I've gotten her started on a show called "Six Feet Under." I won't bore you with details, but there is a gay main character, and he has a partner too. In the first two expisodes alone, there's lots of kissig, and some implied sex. I'd done my homework already on the 2 actors, they're both straight. I must give them credit for their confidence and sexual comfort.

ANYWAY, I watched my mom's reaction VERY closely. I knew she'd ask during the kissing scene "Are these two actors gay?" So, I explained that I already check, and no, they're straight. Now, acceptable reactions would've been "confidence, comfortable, even Different".....What'd she say?!

"How are they not getting sick......"

*WRONG ANSWER ---- MINUS POINTS FOR YOU!*

So yeah, she's right now failing her test. Pity.

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Bohemian
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My parents are kinda well, yeah, I can't think of how to describe them really. I personally don't ever think I'll ever tell them I'm bi, just 'cos they wouldn't be okay with it at all. Besides, what they don't know can't hurt them. Which is actually incredibly true. But yeah, I mean if I'd had more open-minded and understanding and tolerant parents I would think of how to tell them, but being in my present situation, I'll probably never tell them, and they'll never have to know.

Friends on the other hand I think are much easier, (not easy for me but yeah, still much better). Most friends kinda just say alright then, and nothing changes, so far its all been good for me [Smile] though some didn't think of me ever being anything but straight.

Btw, I'm kinda just a bit bored at the moment, and decided to post, probably not a helpful post but still...
GOOD LUCK!
Hope it all goes well (or at least alright) for you with your mother. [Smile]

Posts: 18 | From: U.K | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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