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help for my gay friend :\
I'm 17, and my best friend just came out to his family that he's gay. His parents have been making a lot of "I'm dissapointed" comments and been treating him differently, and he's been miserable lately.
I wish I knew how to help. I talk to him, and tell him that my phone's always open, no matter the hour...but I can't shake the feeling that I wish I could help more :\
Any suggestions? Preferably from people who've been in this situation, whether mine or his?
I was going to suggest he sit down with his parents and talk things out completely - tell them that this is who he is, and he isn't changing any, and he's doing this so that he wouldn't be lying and he wants to trust them. But he's not sure how to put it =\
Mon. Aug 20, 9:24pm
This happened to me, too. However I was 30 when my 34 year old best friend came out to himself and only to me. (& the gay community of course) It took him years after that to come out to his parents, other friends and the rest of his family. His parents are southern Baptist and tried to take him to church to "get over this". By that time he and his partner had been in a relationship for several years. His parents were upset for a long time but my friend held firm and refused to be ashamed of who he is. They finally realized if they wanted to stay in their son's life, they would have to accept him and his partner. They realized any possible "immorality" is between their son and god. They now have an even better relationship with their son than they used to and they love his partner, too.
Unfortunately you cannot walk this walk for your friend. I think you are doing the best thing now by being there for him and keeping the lines of communication open. Sadly you cannot do anything to change his parents. Hopefully they'll come around but if they do not, he still has you, his best friend. Good luck to both of you.
Monday, August 20, 2007, 9:32 PM
In all honesty, I don't wish I could walk it for him - I wish I could carry him :[
He's so miserable. :\
Monday, August 20, 2007, 9:38 PM
Just be as supportive as you can to him. He needs your friendship more than anything right now and if you have other friends that know he's gay, encourage them to be supportive as well. As miserable as he is, he's probably so relieved that you are being cool about it. His parents probably have pretty strong feelings about the subject and it'll probably take them a long time to accept it. Time and honesty are really the only things that will make his parents come around, hopefully.
Monday, August 20, 2007, 9:48 PM
this isn't advice, but i wonder what the big deal is about the gender of who your child falls in love with. isn't it wonderful enough that your child has a self-image and awareness of who he or she is? isn't it grand that they have insight and care about being true to themself? there is enough pressure in the world of teenagers without the added obligation of becoming or pretending tio o be who your parents would have you be!!! i am a heterosexual woman and i have never discussed my sex life or the type of guy i am attracted to with my family. i don't see how it's any of their business. why might that change if i was a lesbian? this baffles me!! anyway, best of luck to your friend! he at least has a strong supporter in you, and that may be all that you can give him right now. it may be all he needs to get throught this tough time with his folks.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 8:12 AM
Compassionate friendship makes a tremendous difference
I am a lesbian who came out more than 35 years ago....and OP you are doing exactly what you need to do by being present and listening. That is balm that makes all the difference for your friend. You feel his pain and you hold him in in a positive light.
The world has a long way to go around gayness...or Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered people and it is hard for people who are put together this way. The good thing is your friend is awakening. People who live in denial or try to side step how they are put together tend to have problems with depression or addiction...so your friend is taking very important first steps.
PFLAG is a great organiztion for familiies and friends of gay people. There are chapters in many major cities. Your friend is 17, if he goes to college there are many college organizations that can help. Increasingly, highschools have gay straight alliance organizations.
There is hope. My family was slow to come around but they most definitely have. After my partner and I had been together for twenty years, EVERYONE from my family came to our celebration...not everyone from hers came but there were so many people it made a big statement to us that people care.
So things do change and there are people out there who make a huge difference....and I would count you in that circle. You and your friend are so lucky to have each other...you are learning how the world is put together through his eyes and you are a compassionate loving person...what a wonderful thing to find out about yourself. Your friend is discovering steps to awakening. It most definitely is not easy. You have a lot to learn from him because any kind of awakening is challenging. Many people go through life sound asleep.
Below is the PFLAG link.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 9:38 AM
This all makes me want to pluck out my eyes.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 9:44 AM
well, don't let us stop you...
Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 9:56 AM
You know 9:44, I agree. It's just sickening that parents can't accept their children for who they are. And it's not just about being gay or straight, or adopting a different religion than one's parents, or marrying someone of a different race... A lot of parents are VERY unaccepting of their children's career choices. I had a bunch of friends in college whose parents were dead set on them becoming physicians, whether or not that was a career the kid wanted or was suited for in any way. Didn't matter if the kid was a poet or a novelist or a professor or an electrical engineer in the making, their parents could not accept anything but a physician!
OP, I don't know if it helps your friend to know this, but remind him -- all kinds of parents are unaccepting of all kinds of things, and many (maybe most?) people go through some version of his difficulties in their late teens or early 20's. My own parents were completely unaccepting of my career choice, but they have come around in the last 20 years. :-)
Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 9:59 AM
OP, you're a great friend. You'll probably have this friend of yours for life. Kudos to you.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 10:35 AM
OP: are you close with his folks? could you offer to sit in with your friend if he decides to discuss things more in depth with his parents?
Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 10:38 AM
wow-guys-I'm so impressed that all the comments on this threat so far are positive! Let's keep that up on other threads! :)
Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 12:05 PM
Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 12:06 PM
Just keep an eye on your friend and take threats of self-harm seriously. According to my gay brother, when someone first comes out of the closet to their family, they're at a particularly high risk of suicide. He and his friends spend a lot of time with someone when they first come out, to keep an eye on them and give them the extra support needed at that time. Most parents come around quickly. The honest ones say things like "You're our son, we love you no matter what, just give us a little time to get used to what this means."
For a little more anecdotal info... My brother never told my dad, but he did tell my mom. Her only concern is that he'll end up victimized by homophobes on a rampage (thankfully that doesn't happen as much as it did 13 years ago when he first came out). It still makes her a little uncomfortable, but she's gone with him to gay karaoke clubs so it can't be that bad. One of his friends is an only child, and his parents were devastated that they would never have grandchildren. Apparently the hardest nuts to crack are the devout christians (sorry, maybe other religions are like this too, but my knowledge is limited) who believe that God condemns homosexuality and they're all are going straight to hell. I hope your friend's parents don't fall in that category.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 12:26 PM
hey, i am a heterosexual female and i will never give my parents grandkids either.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 12:56 PM
PROBABLY FOR THE SAME REASON OTHER SECTORS OF OUR POPULATION HAVE HIGH SUICIDE RATES (TEENAGERS, ELDERLY, MENTALLY IMPAIRED)...THEY FEEL ISOLATED, MISUNDERSTOOD, REJECTED, ALONE, LIKE THEY CANNOT SEE ANY LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL. you have to admit that other so-called "normal" people commit suicide, too, right? it's just that for some recently "out" gays, the sh*t hits the fan all at the same time. like when a person is diagnosed with a mental illness, it can turn their world upside down. or when an elderly person's spouse dies, they may feel all alone and as if no one will take care of them or understand their feelings of loss.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 2:59 PM
Gay teenagers do have a high suicide rate and I think isolation and fear are huge factors. Basically they haven't been able to find good people like the OP who will support and love them for who they are. That's why organizations like PFLAG and school alliances are important.
Also, education of the general population is important. There is so much ignorance and that breeds fear and hatred. Slowly things are changing and are better than they were when I was coming out in the 1970's. I have found acceptance is better with people who are educated, intelligent, and well adjusted. The people who aren't there yet just need some work because they are misinformed or afraid.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 3:37 PM
WHY SHOULD THIS EVEN MATTER TO THE GENERAL POPULATION? I MEAN, I DIDN'T HAVE TO "COME OUT" AS HETEROSEXUAL OR PROCLAIM MY FEELINGS FOR MEN or ever have to declare what my sexual orientation is. WHY ARE we so busy-bodied about other peoples' lifestyles? i care more about drunk school bus drivers and pilots than i do about whether my kid's teacher is gay. i'd also be more interested in whether or not the school's principal has been doing drugs while watching porn in his office than about who the gym teacher goes to bed with every night. people need to stop minding the business of others and do something more meaningful with their time...
Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 3:42 PM
above poster here again...i meant the above comment to be in support of the OP's efforts. THAT is what more people should pay attention to, the needs of their friends and families and the ways in which we can help each other.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 3:45 PM
hey, OP. how's your friend doing?
Wednesday, August 22, 2007, 7:46 AM
"Coming out" and homosexuality is SO accepted compared to even 20 years ago. EVERYONE now knows someone who is gay. I gotta ask as the 2:38 poster did. Why, if this is so normal (now) is there such a high suicide rate amoungst these folks? Something doesn't add up.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007, 8:48 AM
He's currently away with his family..so far everything's been OK, but not great.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007, 8:58 AM
when a person who has just recently "come out" commits suicide, their friends and families have something "solid" as a reason for the suicide...or so they may think. they attribute the suicide to the fact that this person was gay and couldn't get along in life because of that. it's easier to find a reson, to look back and say to your self, "wow. i should have been more supportive." or, "why couldn't i just have accpeted him/her?" i think these families speak more about their chilld's suicide in the hopes of preventing more of the same, and they push for more tolerance of gay people as a result. on the flip side, though, parents of someone who is either not gay or has not declared such may not have what they can consider a "solid" or obvious reason for their child's suicide. they may not have any particular area that others know they were struggling with. it's less likely that these parents are going to go public with the tragedy in oreder to prevent more of the same, because they don't have an idea of what brought about the suicide and cannot spaek to what may have prevented it. i think that's why we may read/hear/talk more about suicide amongst gays than other sectors of the population. there just may be something to be gained by focusing on the issue.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007, 9:19 AM
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