Dear Abby Responds to Questioning Teen, Recommends PFLAG
In the Aiken, SC, Standard, for January 7, Dear Abby responded to a questioning teen (a 16-year old girl, identified as “Tormented Girl”) who needed help in coming out, worried that her parents, family and friends would reject her. This is not the first time Dear Abby has referenced PFLAG for those who face the coming-out process.
DEAR ABBY: I’m 16 and know in my heart that I’m gay, even though I’d give anything not to be. So far, I have kept this to myself, but I don’t think I can keep it within forever.
Please tell me how you “come out.” I am worried sick about what will happen, since my parents belong to a church that believes homosexuality is a terrible sin.
Will my parents still love me? Will my friends reject me? Will my sister, who I’ve always been close to, be afraid to keep sharing a room with me?
As hard as I have tried, I can’t change the feelings I have inside, so I know I have to deal with this, but I don’t know what to do. Please help me. – TORMENTED GIRL IN LOUISIANA
DEAR TORMENTED GIRL: I can only imagine the stress and anxiety you are experiencing. My heart goes out to you.
As you clearly point out in your letter, sexual orientation is not a choice, but something a person is born with. Not knowing your parents or your inner circle of friends, I can’t predict how they will react if you tell them you are gay. But if your instincts tell you that your family will react badly, then I advise you to wait to come out until you are out of their house and self-supporting.
In the meantime, allow me to share two helpful resources. The first is PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).
This organization has been around since the early 1980s, and from it you will receive specific advice on how to deal with your parents. Its website is www.pflag.org, and I highly recommend it.
The second is the Trevor Helpline, a nationwide, 24-hour crisis helpline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people. Its toll-free number is (866) 488-7386. You can find out more by going to www.thetrevorproject.org.