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Why didn't people warn me about this?

Discussion in 'Coming Out Advice' started by Tre, Jul 28, 2016.

  1. Tre

    Tre
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    Everyone warns people with religious or conservative families about homophobic responses. They tell them to be careful. I thought I would be safe since my family is pretty liberal and non-religious. I was physically safe. I also didn't deal too much with classic homophobia. What I did deal with was everyone doubting my identity. All of that made me have a mental breakdown. I really wish people could warn people about being doubted, especially if they have a history of mental health issues.
     
  2. mvp 447

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    It's very likely to induce anxiety or depression and is VERY stressful. Dealing with it requires help, a good support net work. Friends, plus a therapist and medication is often required,
     
  3. DaniC

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    I understand.

    I just started talking to people close to me. The first experience was gut wrenching. I was talking to my cousin and I was "ho humming" and stalling and finally she said "spit it out," and I did. I don't remember her exact words, but basically she wholly accepted me. This was my somewhat conservative Christian family member. She was great, we talked for five hours. Then her husband just wanted to know what their kids should call me now. That's it.

    Then I told two of my closest friends and they both said "we're bartenders, we don't care." And then we hung out the rest of the day. That worked for me.

    Then I told my brother and his wife. They are progressive liberals. I thought that would go pretty smooth. But they are the ones who questioned "are you sure," and "we want you to think about the consequences of your choice." The part that has been racking my brain was the last thing my brother said to me when I left his house was "we're okay having one in the family." I might have expected this from someone at some point, I just wasn't ready to get it from that brother and his wife as progressive as they claim to be. It caught me off guard and was very emotionally draining.
     
  4. justaguyinsf

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    This is one reason that I have never really bought into the idea of "coming out" as a method of gaining personal acceptance. Better to come out on an as needed basis, such as when you're in a relationship. I think the powers that be don't warn others because it doesn't fit their political agenda.
     
  5. Lonimation

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    I haven't come out to my mom (officially) but this is something I am very afraid of. I know she won't be homophobic to me but I asked her what she would think I were gay (that was my lead to coming out) and she basically said I wasn't gay.

    My friends that know don't seem to care but one time I unintentionally said '...I really like her too' to a friend who didn't know. She jumped away and said 'HER?!' but I covered it up. I don't know it she was surprised or that was a taste of homophobia but I still felt terrible after and it effected my performance in a show I was doing with her.
     
  6. Tre

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    I think you should wait until you're about 15 or 16. It was a mistake telling my mom about my sexuality at 14. No one takes it seriously at that age. Like I said before, it also depends on whether you have history of mental health issues. Before I came out to my mom I had a history of anxiety, OCD symptoms and phobias. If I didn't come out I probably would have had obsessions about completely different topics. If you don't have any history of mental health issues you don't need to be as careful.
     
  7. SkyWinter

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    I'm sorry that happened to you. It sucks when you open up to people about anything and get shut down like that.
     
  8. Monsterita

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    I'm in the same position wrt being trans. My parents are not religious; I've never even been in a church, outside of weddings/funerals. But my family has a fairly serious history of mental illness. I have two older brothers with schizophrenia, and my mother, oldest sister, and 3 brothers all have anxiety disorders. I myself have SA, OCD, phobias, etc. On top of that (and perhaps because of that) sex is a completely taboo subject in my family. My mother wouldn't even let us watch people kiss on television because it made her too uncomfortable. My family in other ways, though, is very progressive and liberal and would be offended if you implied they were in any way conservative.

    My biggest fear is that when I try to come out to my family they'll attribute my gender identity to mental illness. My family being as completely dysfunctional as it is, and sex/LGBT issues being completely outside their comfort zone, I expect everyone to shut down when I'm around and go out of their way to avoid me -- because that's what people in my family do with people they don't know how to deal with. I've already got 2 sisters who've been completely disowned because they did things my parents didn't approve of. At best they'll expect me to quietly deal with my 'illness' on my own and keep it out of sight so that I don't 'disturb' anyone. I've been putting off telling anyone because at this point I'm still not ready to be completely on my own without a support network.

    The other thing I've noticed lately is that most of the people who have been attacking me online (on forums which will remain nameless) have not done so from a religious perspective at all, but from what they consider a 'scientific' perspective; maybe it's just me, and maybe it's just because I'm not religious myself so I don't participate in those communities, but these days, it's people who identify as atheist who have been the most outspoken in their intolerance toward me. Some of them have gone to pretty ridiculous lengths to convince me and everyone else on those forums that my identity is simply a product of mental illness. To the point where I no longer feel comfortable posting on those forums because I don't have the energy to put up with all the snide comments and insinuations that seem to follow my posts. (I'm a fairly outspoken person so I tend to make a lot of enemies; and that would be fine if they focused on my arguments and didn't stoop to rebutting me through character assassination.)

    So yes: homo/transphobia is alive and well outside of religious communities.
     
  9. Glowing Eyes

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    I feel almost exactly like this. Both my parents doubted me. With my dad I was fine 'cause he seemed to be easier but the way my mom did it really frustrated me. Like, she thinks being gay is a choice and was like "why do people have to make it harder for themselves and their families" (which makes the assumption that only straight couples with children can be happy). She also kept telling e to not make my life harder and to just forget about it. She also thinks this forum is what's making me think like this.
     
  10. mvp 447

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    It basically caused me a nervous breakdown as well (tbh, there were other factors involved, money, stressful job etc) but it's tough, for sure. And I really haven't even told my family yet. My wife agrees I should wait until I start/feel comfortable in my therapy before I put more stress on myself.
     
  11. indeed28

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    I come out to my cousin in a sort of awkward way, told her that i like men or something like i dont remember but i was about 20 or so, and she said your just going through a phase, which i wasn't %100 confident that i was gay at the time and sort of became asexual

    She accepted it for awhile, and we would check out men together when it was just her and i, but after awhile it became something we just didnt talk about, and i think she still believes that it was just a phase

    but coming out to her, i remember shaking profusely maybe even sweating a little

    Years later im seeing a shrink about it, and other things, im almost ready to come out after just learning to accept it, but im terrified
     
    #11 indeed28, Jul 31, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016
  12. SHACH

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    This is exactly why I don't want to come out to my mum. She'll sort of just find it funny and annoying and I'm not sure she'd beleive me. I feel generally in my story I have no right to complain so much about my mother and coming out, and no right to have not understood myself for so long. I've never been brought up religious. But all this really is a problem for me.

    I don't have any diagnosed mental illness, but I am a very shy anxious quiet person. To illustrate the extent of which this is for me: when my dad died when I was 5, we had a lot of visitors come over the same day, and I only cried once in private so as not to upset them. Besides, people watching me cry made me super anxious. And as people continued to be concerned and I wanted to be nice and didn't want to be watched, I never cried about it again.

    So yeah, basically expressing my deeper feelings to people is really a problem for me, even though I don't have very many "extreme" relatives.
     
  13. faustian1

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    The experience above shows the importance of remembering that the labels we put on ourselves often are merely what we wish we would be. How many of us have some relative who is always chastising herself for something, but never bothers to try changing that thing?

    Being uncomfortable around gay folks (or those with mental health histories, in response to the original poster) is not something that obeys "conservative" or "liberal" labels. Although the stereotype may have a general truth about it, it's worth mentioning that some very (politically) conservative people that I know are quite openminded, while others are not.

    It's probably worse if one has a mental health history. This is due to the very poor understanding most people have of mental health in the first place. They have, in general, a rather inaccurate concept of what schizophrenia usually is (just one example). If a person presents herself with some of this baggage, it is going to be more difficult for her to be taken seriously. Likely the best people to talk with are the ones who ask good questions, as this often signifies an open mind.

    "Are you sure?" isn't the best question. "How long have you felt this way?" is a better one. "OK with having 'one' in the family..." is not a question, and it's not a good sign. A clever response is, "How do you know there's just one?"
     
    #13 faustian1, Aug 1, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2016
  14. Devil Dave

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    My brother was the only person who doubted me, and that doubt only lasted a short while. It was his way of dealing with the news - he needed to take small steps to accepting my coming out. He wasn't prepared for it, and he wasn't convinced by me saying "I'm gay". I suppose I hid my sexuality well when I was in the closet, I know a lot of people suspected I was really gay even though I was pretending to like women, but as a member of my family, my brother was kind of denying it along with me. So when I came out to him, that's when he had to admit to himself that he saw all the signs and if he looked closely enough it was pretty obvious all along that I was gay. There was no way he was going to just outright accept it, he needed time.

    Saying "Are you sure? Think about the consequences" is not the best response a family member can give, but it is a pretty natural reaction. Even people who say they are not anti-gay are not physically and mentally prepared to accept a gay family member coming out to them, it catches them off guard and causes them to rethink their stance on the subject in more depth, because now it really is personally affecting them.

    Try to see the reaction as their way of dealing with their own state of denial.