What if my friends and family don’t accept me when I come out?
It’s not uncommon for people to lose friends and family after coming out of the closet. Here’s how to handle discrimination when it hits close to home.
Discrimination is everywhere – even in your own circle of friends. While it’s hard to admit, the truth is that more likely than not, someone you know will disapprove of your sexuality. It might be a colleague, it might be a distant relative, or it might be your best friend. Either way, it’s going to hurt.
So what’s a lesbian to do? First, consider this: closing the door on a relationship is sad, stressful and exhausting – but chances are, keeping the door closed on your identity is worse. Take a moment to really think about the internal struggles you faced – or are still facing – as a closeted lesbian. You’ve kept your true self hidden from the world instead of allowing her to shine. You’ve kept secrets and told lies about who you really are. You’ve cried many tears because your actions don’t align with your ideals, and that is a very painful thing.
Now take a moment to visualize yourself losing someone who means a lot to you, all because they want you to keep living that lie. That same mistruth you’ve told yourself over and over and over (I like men, not women) – they want you to keep believing it. They want you to stay in that closet full of fear and empty dreams and heartbreak, all because they’re not open-minded enough to accept that who you love is up to you, not to society.
Now ask yourself whether that person is worth it. Because at the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide. Just like it’s up to you to choose who you are and who you identify as, it’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth your time and effort to care about people who don’t care about you.
Sometimes the truth is harsh. Without a doubt, it’s difficult to admit that someone you love doesn’t love you back. But the truth, my friend, will set you free.
Of course, all of this is easy to say when you’re on the outside looking in. Admittedly, I didn’t lose anyone important to me when I announced I was a lesbian (except for my fiancé, but that was a long time coming). I do think, however, that the joy you’ll find once you come out of the closet will hugely outweigh the sadness you experience upon losing friends and/or family members who don’t accept you. When you’re openly gay, you can finally feel secure knowing that the people who stick around love you for who you are, not someone you’re pretending to be. You’ll get to make new friends and, more importantly, meet the woman of your dreams! As for those other people who think your gayness isn’t “acceptable”? Give them time and space – maybe they’ll come around. But if they don’t, you’re better off without them… trust me.
If you need someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to reach out. That’s what we’re here for!