What To Do If Your Family Doesn’t Accept You As A Lesbian


Hi Heather,

I’ve been having some issues lately. I recently came out to my family as a lesbian. My mother and sister are Christians and I’m an atheist. My sister has already made it clear that she thinks being a lesbian is wrong. I had a conversation with her the other day about my sexuality, and although she wasn’t mean about it, she said it was wrong and that I shouldn’t be a lesbian. Whenever we talk about TV shows, she asks me which character I would rather date. I always have to weigh it in my mind whether or not I should tell her that I would rather go out with a female character.

My mother, on the other hand, said it’s perfectly normal to have feelings for girls at my age. The issue is, she thinks I’m just confused and doesn’t seem to process that I know exactly what gender I’m into. I tried to have a tell-it-like-it-is conversation about these feelings with her, but she didn’t want to discuss it. So, this begs the question: how can I deal with being a lesbian in a family that seems so against it? Is it possible for me to get them to accept that I’m into girls?

I’m really sorry you’re going through this right now. It’s so great that you have embraced your sexuality, and it’s amazing that you were able to come out to your family about it. It’s really unfortunate that they’re reacting this way – I wish they were showing you more support.

To answer your question: no, it’s not possible for you to make them accept your sexuality. You can’t control how anyone thinks, so this is something that they’re going to have to work on themselves. You can, however, show them that their behavior isn’t okay and that you’re not happy about it. You can work with them on accepting your sexuality by being honest with them and by always being yourself. But ultimately, you can’t force them to think a certain way.

Your sister believes that homosexuality is wrong, most likely because of her religion. Even though we disagree with her, your sister has a right to her own beliefs and opinions. However, that doesn’t mean that she’s correct, and it doesn’t mean she has to push those beliefs on you. It’s nice that she’s not being mean outwardly mean to you about your sexuality, but she is being mean in the sense that she’s rejecting your sexuality as something that isn’t morally okay. I’m sure that doesn’t feel very great. The next time she says that being a lesbian is “wrong,” speak up and say, “I’m sorry you feel that way, but I don’t think it’s wrong. This is what I am, and I would appreciate it if you stopped telling me that there is something wrong with me.”

Instead of fighting with her, explain to her that it hurts your feelings when she says these things. Tell her that you don’t want to have to hide who you are around her, but right now, you feel like you do have to. Please don’t be afraid to be yourself around your sister, no matter what she thinks. The next time she asks you which character you would rather date, be honest! The only way you can try to get her to accept your sexuality is if you show her it’s part of you.

As for your mom, it’s also nice that she’s not being outwardly mean to you, but just like with your sister, she is actually being mean because she’s dismissing your sexuality entirely. It sounds like your mom is going through some denial. She’s acting like you’re just going through a phase because she doesn’t want to face the truth – this is easier for her to believe and deal with. Since talking to your mom didn’t work, I think all you can do is show her that she’s wrong, and just keep being yourself. Anytime she says something about how you’re just going through a phase, correct her and say something like, “This is who I am. I really wish you could accept me.”

Both your mom and your sister are going to have to come to terms with your sexuality on their own. It’s important to remember that there is nothing you can do to make them accept that you’re into girls. Give them time. As much as you want your family’s support, it shouldn’t be the only thing you’re focusing on. You also need to focus on yourself and your happiness. Do what makes you happy, and realize that they will deal with this in their own way. Continue to be you around them, and hopefully one day they can realize that their actions aren’t okay. In the meantime, surround yourself with people who do accept you. Good luck!

take care,

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