I saw on your facebook page that this is a place to share what I'm going through so here goes...
Hi, I'm Michelle. A 17 year old lesbian who came out to her family just over a month ago. I've always known that I'm a lesbian. I think I've known since I was about 8 years old. I knew for certain when I was 14 and had a super huge crush on a girl in my class. I've accepted my sexuality and I'm happy being a lesbian. Last month I came out to my family and it didn't go well. They are very christian and when I told my mom she started crying and wouldn't stop. My dad said nothing and hasn't really talked to me since.
It's been a month since and nothing has changed. My parents have basically ignored me and every time I try to bring it up I'm told 'not now, Michelle'.
This past few weeks have been awful for my mental health and self worth. I don't regret coming out but this situation is killing me.
Thanks so much for posting. I'm Justin, one of the support team here at OutLife.
I can totally relate to your situation. My parents are also religious and I came out to them at around your age. No matter how much you prepare for that moment it's always really daunting and my parents weren't particularly understanding either. Just try to remember that their reaction isn't a reflection on you - what you've done takes incredible bravery, and is super admirable. It takes a lot to come out to your parents when you're a teenager.
It may feel now like a month is a long time for your parents to be like this, but they're probably still processing everything. It's really common for things to go frosty for a while as parents sift through their emotions. Mine were frosty for a few months, but eventually things warmed up a bit, and though my relationship with them is still sometimes difficult, it's so much better now than it was back then. Give yourself, and them, some time.
In the meantime, I'm going to link to some resources that may help you to find ways to care for your mental health, and move forward in the current circumstances:
- If you'd like to talk about coming out with someone who is LGBTQ+, then call Switchboard, a service run by LGBTQ+ volunteers. They'll gladly talk to you about coming out to your parents. 0300 330 0630 10am - 10pm.
- Stonewall has a great coming out guide, especially if you're worried about what your parents think: "Your parents might be shocked, worried or find it difficult to accept at first. Remember, their first reaction isn’t necessarily how they’ll feel forever. They might just need a bit of time to process what you’ve told them. The thing most parents worry about is that their children are happy!" www.stonewall.org.uk/sites/default/files/coming_out.pdf
- RUComingOut has a great library of coming out stories from people all over the world, some of which are in video format. I think watching some of these might make you feel less anxious, because I'm sure a great deal of them will resonate with you.
- My instinct also says that Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, a UK charity might be helpful to you. They work to support LGBT people who've come out, and their parents. For instance, they have an information pack for families and friends, with one that is particularly aimed at parents with children who have just come out www.fflag.org.uk/booklets-posters-forms/ To be clear, I'm not saying you should give this to your parents, only you know if that would be helpful or is a good idea, but it might be worth a read regardless.
- You don't mention where you are but it might also be a good idea to look up local LGBT support groups and youth organisations. There you could find support, people like you, and maybe even some counselling to help you through this rough patch.
I hope some of the above are helpful. Before I go, I just want to say that you're doing amazingly and are absolutely doing the right thing in reaching out for support. If you have any questions, concerns, or just want to give us an update, please do post again!
Thank you so much for your lovely reply and the amount of info. I had no idea all of these services existed. I'm definitely going to look into all of them. Right now I just feel sad that we are so distant and I know it's going to take time but I'm sort of an impatient person and just want them to get over it fast. I think i'd like to talk with others who are going through similar situations so maybe I should go to a group or something like that. I'm based in south London so anything around here would be very useful.
To be honest, life got mad busy. I've just been taking each day as it comes. My family and I were not in a good place until something happened. My aunt came over and started laying into my mother for treating me like this. She told her she didn't deserve to have kids and called her selfish. I was then invited to stay with my aunt for a while. About three weeks ago my mother came over asking me to come home. She told me she was sorry but she just needed time. We cried, hugged and I moved home.
It's been good so far. I keep on expecting this to go south but it hasn't. Only time will tell.
I did reach out to a couple of those numbers you gave during the rough patches. It helped. Thank you.