I moved from Utah to Oregon three years ago, I lived in a very oppressive very religious part of Utah. Now I have known I have had same-sex attraction since I was around seven but I had only ever told my best friend back in Utah. A couple of days ago this “friend” decided to tell everyone in my old school that I was gay. Now no one from Utah will talk to me and they have all cut me out. I feel like I have lost all touch to my past and even worse I’m not out to my parents yet and I don’t know what will happen if they find out.
Wow! I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through this. There are not many things worse than being betrayed by your best friend! It was incredibly brave of you to come out to her, and even though it eventually turned out poorly, I want you to consider how it felt when you were able to speak that truth about yourself for the first time. Did you feel free, authentic? Did she accept and love you? If so, let’s consider the possibility that your friend wasn’t intentionally trying to hurt you.
Sometimes when we’re hurt, it’s our first reaction to assume the worst. It’s a protective mechanism that we can override if we choose to. So ask yourself– is your friend someone worth keeping around, or is this just one more time that she’s hurt you? Depending on your answer, you either need to talk to her and tell her how you feel, or you need make the decision to let her go. I would suggest a similar approach to everyone at your old school. Are they worth keeping around? Have they been their for you in the past? If not, you know what to do! Or if you think they deserve another chance, reach out to them and tell them how you feel. But however it turns out, you have to promise yourself you’ll move on, okay?
It’s easier said than done, I know. But once you make a final decision and act on it, it will be sooo much easier to move forward. So what does moving forward look like? Well, first I want you to actively seek out some new friends that accept you no matter what your sexual orientation may be. Are there any support groups at your school, or clubs for your interests and/or hobbies? Can you talk to the guidance counselor? Stay open to meeting new people, and most importantly, as you do, use this chance to be who you really are right from the beginning. You don’t want to be friends with anyone who doesn’t accept and love you exactly as you are, and this is a great opportunity to live as your true self.
Now, about your parents– that’s a real tough one, especially if you are still dependent on them. My best idea is to very gradually start “feeling them out.” Mention that you met someone at school who was gay and see how they react. Later you can try out more intense scenarios, like telling them how one of your friends was thrown out of the house for coming out to her parents. This way you can find out where your parents might stand without risking a tragic outcome.
Just remember– you are wonderful exactly as you are, and if someone can’t see and support that, then you know exactly the kind of person that they are. The kind that can stick it where the sun don’t shine. Period.
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