26 octobre 2010

I came out and was well received, but I feel so awkward now

Hi, I just came out to my parents and I guess they took it relatively well. My mom and dad assured me they still loved me and wont treat me any different but I can’t help but feel REALLY awkward and disconnected around them now. I know it’s the first day but I feel badly that they have to go through this. Whenever I see that they’re upset i always want to fix it, but I can’t fix this. Will I ever feel comfortable around my parents like I did this morning before I told them?

Hillary Greer

Hi Marco, thanks for coming to Alterheros with your question!

First of all, congratulations on coming out! Although it might seem difficult right now, I hope you remain happy with your decision.

I’m wondering what exactly it is that you are feeling guilty about. You mention that your parents are reacting relatively well and still love you. But then you say that you feel badly that they ‘have to go through this’. Marco, what exactly are they ‘having’ to go through? From what you’ve told me, it seems that your parents do not technically ‘have’ to do anything, but are very much choosing to do something. They have made the choice to love you and accept you rather than judge you and push you away. They probably made this decision on their own and from what you have said, they don’t seem to have any issues with their decision. They seem to want you to be happy, so what’s stopping you?

It’s normal and understandable to feel a certain disconnect and awkwardness for the next little while. You just made a big announcement, it was probably a stressful decision to make, and you have now changed roles and labels. You are treading new territory and it may just take some time before you adjust to the changes and your new reality. Whether or not you will ever feel comfortable around your parents again is up to you and your parents. Try to keep the lines of communication as open as possible with your parents so that they can be aware of what you are feeling and can support you through this process. You may also want to consider helping your parents to become educated about LGBT issues. This might help them to understand you better and encourage a connection between the three of you.

Oftentimes the images and opinions that surround us in our day to day lives from various media sources, the people we walk past on the street, literature and the dialogue that we over hear are filled with prejudices, stereotypes and general homophobia. It is so common to absorb some of these images and internalize them. This can lead to a gay person being homophobic towards him or herself. You seem to be having a hard time accepting your own homosexuality and clearly believe that it is something to be apologetic about, rather than proud of. You seem to have a supportive family around you, and so I am curious about where this sense of shame comes from.

If this is something you want to explore further, I encourage you to contact one of the following organizations:

www.headandhands.com : free counseling, consultation, referrals, events, etc for youth under 25 years old.

www.queermcgill.ca : they hold a coming out discussion group every Wednesday evening from now until December, it’s free, confidential, and you do not have to be a McGill student to participate. Email them for info.

www.p10.qc.ca : services like a listening line, counseling, and drop-in groups for youth.

http://www.pflagcanada.ca/en/index-e.asp : help for you and your parents, together or separately.

I hope this was helpful and if you have any more questions please do not hesitate to ask!

Hillary, for Alterheros