Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gay Teenager Fears Her Sexuality Not Compatible With Her Popularity

Dear Tazi-Kat:

I am 15 years old, and I think I might be a lesbian.  Okay, I will say it: I know that I am a lesbian.  Ever since I was a little girl, I have been attracted to other girls.  When I started middle school, I knew I had no interest in boys like all of my friends, but pretended to just to fit in and it worked.  I am now one of the most popular girls in school.  I am on the cheerleading squad, and was Homecoming Queen this year, my freshman year of high school.  I lead what looks like the perfect life, but I feel like I am slowly dying inside.  I want to be true to who I am, but I am so afraid!  

My school has a “Rainbow Alliance” support group, but the members tend to get picked on by bullies.  A part of me wants to believe that if I came out and joined them their social status will improve, but I think the reality might be that my social status would plummet.  I don’t think I could handle that, especially since I know I would not have the support of my family.  They are militantly against gay rights, and would probably kick me out of the house if they knew I was gay.  I see the “It Gets Better” ads online, and I would like to believe it does – but when?

Gay, But Not Happy

Dear GBNH:

Your letter tore my heart to pieces, and I want you to know that there are many people out there, gay and straight, who support you in your struggle for acceptance.  The It Gets Better organization is not just a bunch of actors offering up public service announcements, but real people who have been where you are and have not only made it through the bad times, but succeeded in life and found happiness.  It really does get better; unfortunately for right now, high school is generally not when it happens.

You say that you “pretended” to like boys to fit in with the crowd.  Exactly how far did this charade go?  Did you pretend to have giggly schoolgirl crushes?  Sleep with every guy on the school football team?  Something in between the two extremes?  Whatever it is you did or are doing, it needs to stop now because it is obviously not what you want.  You do not need to come out in order to do so.  If anyone asks, just say you need to start concentrating more on your schoolwork.  Ridding your life of unhealthy and unwanted romantic entanglements is the first step towards developing a healthier sense of self.  

In time, you may find that the support of your school’s Rainbow Alliance can help you to find your way.  You will discover that this group – like all groups in high schools everywhere – has its own social ranking code, and you will find that those who bully them rank very, very low.  You may also discover that your own popularity is not what you think it is.  I hate to break this to you on top of everything else you are going through, but not everyone finds cheerleaders to be fascinating.

As for your family’s views, people have a way of making exceptions to their “militantly” held ideals for family members and loved ones.  Will your family be disappointed when they find out you are gay?  Yes, but that will have to be their problem, not yours.  Will they be angry?  Again, that will have to be their problem to work through.  For them, organizations like PFLAG (Parents and Families of Lesbians and Gays) can be a huge source of support. 

In the meantime, try to picture yourself on the important days and occasions you have to look forward to in life: Your college graduation, your wedding day, the birth of your first child.  Is your family there by your side?  Or are they hearing the news secondhand, from a friend who was there to celebrate with you?  As painful as their absence would be for you, it would be just as painful for them.  Use the thought of that pain as a motivator to help both of you work through the harsh words and feelings.  Just because your family may not like who you are does not mean they do not love you, regardless of who you are.  When the time comes and you are ready to come out to them, remind them of all this; it may help them to see with clearer eyes.


No comments:

Post a Comment