Revealing the Secret of Your Sexual Orientation
By Frank Kermit
I recently watched a YouTube video that one of my colleagues sent me, as an example of what may happen to a young adult (even a teenager) who publicly declares to his or her family, their homosexual sexual orientation.
As I told my colleague, it saddens me that such intolerance still exists, and that violence can occur within a family structure. However, this is nothing new.
Probably, what is likely the worst element of that video is that it seems to imply (at least to me) that the young man in this video was led to believe he could trust his stepmother with his secret and she fed him a false sense of support, only for her to refuse to support him when he came out to the rest of his family.
The young man in the video was living with his grandparents, and when they disowned him and told him to move out, the young man asked to live with his step-mom and dad, and they also refused him. By the end of the video the young man is physically attacked by his step-mom and verbally insulted by his own father. It is very sad indeed.
In my practice, I sometimes deal with adults who are still learning about their sexual orientation. Some are questioning if they are straight or gay. Some are not interested in choosing sides as they are attracted to both genders and come to see me about figuring out what kind of relationship they can structure with a long term partner and what is realistically possible.
Still others find they are attracted to all genders, transgender individuals, and even some fetish sexual practices (they may occasionally refer to themselves as pansexual).
When the question comes up, as to how out these individuals should be about their evolving sexuality the answer I give tends to be along the lines of balancing what you think you may get from it, and what it is going to cost you.
In a perfect world, everyone would be able to be completely open about their views, about their ideas, and about their sexual orientations without any fear of consequences or repercussions. However, it is not a perfect world, and depending on where you live, and whom you may take a chance in trusting, it could also be a very dangerous world.
So if you are in a position where you want to share a secret of yours to the world, and you cannot predict how others may react to you, here are some tips to keep in mind.
First, you are under no obligation to ever reveal a truth about yourself if you will be on the receiving end of violence or abandonment that could lead to your life being threatened. If you are living with people that may kick you out into homelessness, and you have no means of living independently, then do not reveal your secret.
If you have nowhere to go, or if you are going to be attacked and left on the street to fend for yourself, then wait until the time comes when you are independent enough that even if you lose people in your life, your basic survival will not be threatened.
Second, although fully accepting yourself is part of a healing process, and loving yourself despite others intolerance and disapproval is a must for your own balanced emotional well being, that does not mean you have to put yourself in any position where you will be harassed or victimized all in the name of self-love.
Part of self-love is about never putting yourself in harms way. There are times when publicly announcing self-acceptance cannot be held off until you are free from oppression, but it is always important to pick and choose those battles. Use good judgment about when that time is.
If you have any doubt about how the people around you would react to your outing yourself, hold off for now. There will come a time in the future when it will be safe for you to express yourself. Until then, stay safe, and work towards the day that you will never have to be dependent for your survival on people who would just as easily abandon you, for you being true to yourself.
Dr. Laurie Betito Quotes