Q: I’m scared to come out. I’ve struggled the last few years dealing with acceptance of myself, understanding, denial etc. You know how it is. But I’ve reached the point where I can’t keep it inside anymore; this secret is eating away at me and I’ve become so aggresive and short tempered with people. My family and friends have noticed and are convinced that I’m just growing up to be a mean person but I’m not- but how do I tell them the real reason? I tried telling my friend but because I don’t look like the stereotypical lesbian they laughed and said it’s a phase, amd joked that I would fancy them. Is there a way I can find another outlet for my emotions and secret rather than coming out.? I’d rather wait till I’m 18 to tell my family but I don’t think I can wait. What do I do? I feel like a coward.
A: Dear Scared,
What you’re doing does sound mean, its just that its mean to you. Not accepting yourself is a very mean thing to do to yourself. And its not that you’re just not accepting your sexual orientation, you not accepting your feelings. Being scare is quite valuable. It tells us when to be cautious, how to protect yourself and keeps us out of danger. There is nothing wrong with being scared. If you are scared then there’s a reason you are, what is it it? Figure that out first before you do anything. Are you not safe? And if your not what can you do to change that? There are a lot of ways people express their emotions, painting, singing, working out, writing, running marathons, studying, the list is endless. But finding an outlet for your feelings won’t change your sexual orientation, it just might make you feel better. Coming out doesn’t have to be a public announcement, everyone does it differently. Find the way that works for you or don’t. But the decision is yours to make. Stop treating people mean, that’s wrong. Being afraid doesn’t give anyone license to treat others cruel, plus if you continue on that path there won’t be anyone to come out to because no one wants to be around mean people and you’ll be all alone. And saying things like “stereotypical lesbian” is something you might want to re-evaluate. That sounds very judgmental and ugly. In 2013 I don’t think there is a “Stereotypical lesbian” that thinking just embraces the prejudice and bigotry LGBT activist have been fighting against since Stonewall. Stop putting yourself on the outside. Get busy learning about the LBGT history, you will be proud to be part of such a strong, powerful loving community. And you will find a deep history of courage that might help you find your own. When that happens your friends will be wishing you fancy them. Best of luck to you.