There is no doubt that talking about non-traditional orientation is a very difficult subject, unlike talking about heterosexuality. Initiating a conversation about gender identity can act as a therapeutic process in which there is an opportunity to stop hiding and trying to deny oneself.
If you still live with your parents and can’t be physically and financially separated from them, “coming out of the closet” may do more harm, and it’s best to avoid discussing it until you’re on your own two feet.
A trusted friend or psychologist who works at an educational institution / workplace / mental health center (usually available at an outpatient clinic and without a doctor’s referral) can help with advice. Various hotlines or online chat with a specialist or psychologist can also help . However, if this article reaches minors, the school psychologist and the Crisis and Counseling Center “Skalbes” can also help in such a situation.
How to tell relatives?
The aim of the conversation should not be to anger or offend someone, but to tell parents the truth and decide how to keep in touch with loved ones. It is naive to expect that the sudden words “how do you not understand that I am gay / lesbian!” During the conflict will be accepted with love and support.
Before talking, it is useful to think about what exactly you are going to say. You can write a letter to each of the people you plan to talk to. This way you will be able to organize your thoughts more consistently and reduce the emotional tension within yourself. The letter could consist of the following parts: How do I feel right now? What difficulties am I experiencing? What would I like to expect from you?
It is equally important to consider the time and place where you plan to talk to your loved ones. If you live alone, the conversation could take place there, because it is a place where you can control the situation. You are likely to feel tense, anxious before and during the conversation, so it is better to make a plan or even a text that you are going to say. Tip: Starting a conversation could be: “I would like to say a few things that I have never told you before, and I would like you to listen to me to the end. This is extremely important to me, so please do not object or interrupt me. When I have said everything I wanted, I will listen carefully to what you want to tell me. Deal?”
Admittedly, it is unlikely that you will immediately be able to persuade others to understand you. It’s worth learning not to defend yourself by using the phrases “You don’t understand anything!” or similar.
You better say:
- “Of course, you have every right to think so”;
- “I understand that you feel anger (sadness, frustration)”;
- “Let’s talk next time we calm down”;
- “Your treatment of me is not acceptable”;
- “We will not achieve anything by arguing and shouting.”
If a conversation becomes particularly unpleasant and offensive, and you want to interrupt it, get up physically and accompany your parents to the door. As long as the conversation that offends you continues, your loved ones will try to change and convince you. If the conversation has to be interrupted due to inappropriate behavior of relatives, it is their defeat, not yours.
And what happens next?
After the conversation, you can feel euphoria, pride in your strength and ability to tell your loved ones about your sexuality. You may also feel frustrated, confused, and powerless. These feelings are likely to be primary and far from the ones that show the outcome of your conversation. It is likely that in weeks or months you will feel relief and a stronger, more authentic connection with yourself.
It is equally important not to justify yourself and not to try to persuade yourself to keep in touch with your loved ones. Some more useful phrases for future relationships with loved ones: “We can say what you are angry about, but I will not let you shout at me and humiliate me”; “I am ready to talk to you as soon as you stop punishing me for my sexuality”; “I dared to say what does not give me peace, I hope you will find the strength to accept it.”