I'm scared to tell my family that I'm bisexual

My parents seem okay with other sexualities, but normally they only talk about being gay. When they do talk about bisexuality, they say things like “they'll do anything” or things that make me very uncomfortable because I am bisexual. I don't know if I am ready to come out to them.

Robin Landwehr, DBH, LPCC, NCC
Robin Landwehr, DBH, LPCC, NCC
Mental Health in a Primary Care Setting

Hello, and thank you for your question. Being bisexual can be particularly difficult because it is often misunderstood, even by people who are “supposed” to be part of your own community, such as lesbians and gays. It happens so often that there is actually a term for it –  bi-erasure. This is simply something that happens when people deny that bisexuality is a real thing, or discriminate against bisexuals due to beliefs like your parents seem to have.

The unfortunate truth is that you can never be sure of how you parents may take this kind of information. It sounds promising that they are accepting of other sexual orientations, and it may simply be that your parents lack education about bisexuality. With accurate information, they may come around, but there is no way to be sure.

Some of my colleagues have already given you good information. Here are some more things that you can consider and questions you can ask yourself before making the decision to tell them:

 

1.      If they don’t respond the way you want them to, have you developed a support system to support you through it? This is very important. The truth is that all the friends in the world won’t prevent pain or sadness if your parents don’t respond as you hope, but they will at least be there to remind you that you ARE okay as you are. And that is critical for you to remember.

 

2.      There is great information on the internet about bisexuality that you can offer your parents if you think it would be helpful. It may be important for them to know the kind of damage that is being done to bisexual adults and young people because of the myths surrounding bisexuality. Here is an article from GLAAD about bi-erasure: http://www.glaad.org/bisexual/bierasure

 

3.      Coming out to people is obviously deeply personal and should only take place when you are ready. Sometimes people get pressured from friends, media, and even people they are romantically involved with to come out before they are ready. It really is up to you. If you are feeling pressure from others, don’t feel bad about setting your boundaries and telling them that you will come out on your own time. Intimate partners should respect you enough to understand this.

 

4.      Something else to think about is your own comfort in being bisexual. Just because someone is LGBTQ doesn’t mean that they necessarily want to be. Many people struggle with this. Having your own doubts or insecurities may also play a part in how comfortable you are in telling your parents. So, perhaps do some self-exploration about your feelings toward yourself.

 

Sometimes people take friends with them when they decide to come out to their parents. This is something you may want to consider. The important thing to remember is that you are okay. Really. If your parents don’t respond well, that doesn’t mean that they never will. Some start off upset, but then work their way through it.

Best of luck to you.

Robin J. Landwehr, DBH, LPC, NCC


The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Julissa Sparks
Julissa Sparks
Healing Minds for Wholeness

Coming out to family members can cause a lot of anxiety. However,  although I cannot promise what their reaction will be, the benefit is that you will no longer have to hide who you are. Perhaps researching or getting information on bisexuality can help your family understand what it truly is to be bisexual. Many times,  people are just not educated on certain things. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Nakisia McDaniel
Nakisia McDaniel
Trauma Professional

Perhaps you are not ready to come out to your parents.  Often times our readiness is not dependent on what others' will say or how they react. But more so dependent on how emotionally prepared we are to deal with others' reactions.  It may be beneficial for you to play out each possible scenario and conclusion (eg. your parents being supportive vs. your parents being disappointed and so on). How are you prepared to deal with the outcome?  You may also seek help through counselors, support groups and/or individuals you know that have dealt with similar situations to help you prepare to discuss this with your parents.  All the best! 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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