i can’t come out to my mom

dear heather,

I’m 16 and gay, and I’m not out yet. My mom’s really religious and believes that homosexuality is a sin, and every time she hears about or sees a gay person, she starts judging them, and if not out loud, you can still tell she’s judging them mentally. I’m positive that if I came out to her, she’d disown me, or else it would just ruin our whole relationship. What am I supposed to do? Lose her, or lose my own self?

It does sound like coming out to your mom might be hard. Even as things stand now, it can’t be easy hearing her criticize gay people, especially because you seem to be saying that you two have a decent relationship that’s worth protecting.You don’t really know how she’ll react if you tell her your own situation, however. Whatever her religious beliefs or her attitudes, the only way to find out is to talk to her. There’s a whole range of possible reactions she could have besides completely rejecting you.

I don’t necessarily recommend coming out to your mom right now. Sometimes it’s good to take your time and work on feeling more comfortable before sharing information about your sexual identity, especially with family members who might not be supportive.

But if you do decide to go ahead and talk to her, I suggest approaching the topic with an open mind and manner. Maybe tell her that you’ve been worried about what she’ll say but that you want to be honest. If she does get mad or chooses to lecture you, listen: That could be your best bet for winning her over because listening shows you have respect for what she has to say.

Religious beliefs can be very strong, as you may already have learned. On the other hand, it’s possible that your mom hasn’t known gay people personally, and that finding out about you might change her thinking slightly.

Whatever you decide to do, I recommend making sure you have some solid support for what you’re doing. Do your friends know you’re gay? Anyone else in your family? Support groups are great in situations where you’re not ready to tell anyone you’re close to.

You also might want to check out these resources.

take care,

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  • Janet

    If you do decide to talk to your mother about it, I would do my utmost to not broach the subject from an adversarial standpoint. Let her know that you do understand and respect her position. She loves you, and that's the main reason why parents freak out about stuff. Let her know that you love her, too.

    When I was 16, I had absolutely no idea who I was. Am I gay? Straight? A super hero? A mad scientist? No clue.

    No one is expecting you to have the answers to those questions at 16 years old. Don't imprison yourself in a lifestyle that may not really even be who you are. Allow yourself to grow – don't force it.

    These kinds of situations are tough. Before you go running around declaring that you're gay, take some time to be totally unbiased with yourself. You are only 16 years old. You're not even out of high school. You are bound to go through a billion phases until you settle on one (the media loves to pressure kids into thinking that they have to make all of their life altering decisions during adolescence. Don't give in!).

    I wish you the best of luck.

  • Areyanna

    I really know how you feel.I have the same problem. When ever im watching t.v with my mom or out in public and we see a gay person she always says something about it and deep down inside me it really hurts.Know really knows about me and i dont think i want anyone to know.Its that not i feel ashamed i just dont want anyone talking about me.Theres a gay guy on our cheerleading team at school and everyone talks about him. I dont want to be put in his situation.