How to peek out of the closet when your family wants to nail it shut

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Dear Hersband and Wife,

Well, you see my mom and her side of the family are big time against gays, bi’s and lesbians, and I don’t live with my dad, so I don’t know how he’d react to me being bi. So what do you think I should do?

I mean they are so against it and they think it’s wrong to have people in the world like that and I just don’t know what to do one day after one of our "family get together" and they talked about how it’s not right. Well when I got home I asked, ‘What would happen if someone in the family is gay or bisexual or a lesbian would you still love them?,’ and she hesitated and said, "Um yes I would. Why are you?’

‘Nope. Just wondering because you guys are always so negative about that type of a situation.’ ‘God did not…blah blah blah’ ‘right,’ and I walked off and I don’t know how to tell her that I am bisexual cause I don’t want her to hate me.

Can you please help me? I mean my family is sooooooo against it that I’m kind of scared to tell them because I don’t know what they’ll do.

Having a Family Problem

Dear Having a Family Problem,

Is it all that important to tell how you feel right now about your sexuality? I believe your Mom would love you no matter what, even if it took a while, she would come around. But is it not better to keep on talking to her to understand your point of view? Is it not better to get her to understand that she is being hateful? Maybe in your continued effort of getting her to see how judgmental and hateful she appears, she may realize that she is not being a good Christian, or whatever her faith. That it is not for her to judge. And it is people like her that encourage hate and hateful crimes come about from these very family discussions.

She needs to know that continuing to be hateful may affect another family member to commit a hate crime. Would she want that deed hung on her head? Matthew Shepard was murdered by two boys seeking a gay man to batter and commit a hate crime against because they hated "fags." Where do you think they got their hate of gays from????

Everyone in your family needs to know that it is so much easier to hate than it is to love. The biggest thing is to change her (your mom) thinking and to get her to understand. (As Wife always says) "You have to be accepting to be accepted." Once you get involved with someone of the same sex and you wish to make it known that you are not lesbian but bi, then you can stand on your own because you have already done the ground work to get there.

This is just good butch perspectives.

Hersband

Dear Family Problems,

Wow, you have the perfect opportunity to just wait and not say anything about you just yet and warm them up to the idea. Don’t you think it will be easier to change their mind or help them to see that no matter who you love you are the same inside rather than just "BOLT OUT OF THE CLOSET?"

Nothing was ever accomplished by shock tactics, and if you just announce your sexuality before you are ready and they are ready, then nothing will be accomplished. If you don’t have a partner just yet then then there is not a reason to say anything until you are comfortable with the situation. Your mom has already stated that she would love you either way.

What I suggest to you is download the PDF from HRC’s Web site called "The straight guide to GLBT Americans." It was written by HRC and it is a wonderful handout to start a discussion with your parents or anyone else you need to talk to. Then ask them what they thought about it. Have all your facts and background thought out before you do this so that your discussion is intelligent and doesn’t turn argumentative on your part. You want them to come away from the discussion with the impression that you are serious, not that "this is just a phase."

Too often we go in to this type of discussion with our parents or family members unprepared and emotional, and their first impressions are that this is just a phase and "we will get over it if left alone." Then 20 years later and a few relationships we haven’t gotten over it and they are making our lives a living hell because now they can’t get over it.

Don’t set yourself up for failure by not being prepared. Find places in your local area that deal with GLBT issues and coming out, they can help you with hand outs and people that will also be able to talk with your parents as well if you need. But it is usually best to talk to them on a personal level from your heart after you have gotten "all your ducks in a row".

Just my humble opinion as the femme.

Wife

"If you want to be accepted, first you have to be accepting"
Hersband And Wife, a duo of lesbian advice columnists!

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