I realized I was bisexual during my sophomore year of high school but I never told anyone. I didn’t want people to assume it was just a phase so I promised myself I would wait until I found a girl who was worth coming out for.
I am now a senior in high school and I did find that girl. Her name is April. I don’t know how to tell my Catholic and conservative parents. I don’t want them to think this is a phase or to get angry and prevent me from seeing her. I can’t keep quietly hiding her, though.
I am not seeking their approval or acceptance. I just cannot keep living a lie about who I am.
Congratulations on finding someone you like a lot! And good for you for refusing to live a double life.
Here’s what you do: pick a day this week (yes, this week, you need to get this over with) when you’re alone with your parents – perhaps dinner time – and say the following to them: “I’ve been keeping something from you two and I’m really sorry about that. But actually, it’s something that makes me very happy, so I want to share it with you. I’m dating someone. Her name is April.”
They will have questions. One of your answers might be: “I know now that I’m bisexual. That means that when I date, I’m open to dating either boys or girls.” If their questions revolve around your faith, you can direct them to www.dignityusa.org, particularly the FAQs. Dignity, a resource organization for LGBT Catholics, provides a listserv specifically for bisexual issues; it may be helpful for you to subscribe.
Try your best to discourage your parents from “escalating” behaviors during the conversation, like raising voices, talking quickly, or standing up. That will keep the conversation calm. If they say it’s a phase, do not argue – remember, you don’t need their approval. Just agree to disagree and don’t get into it. When it seems that you’ve answered most of their questions, you might want to conclude the conversation and give them time to process.
Let your support network (e.g. April, any friends to whom you’re out, supportive adults) know in advance that you’re doing this so you have a soft place to land after The Conversation. If at any point you feel unsafe around your parents, leave and go directly to a predesignated friend’s house.
Mary, I can tell you have the courage and integrity to get through this. If you listen closely, you’ll hear millions of fellow bisexuals around the world cheering you on.
Are you a bi lady in need of some good advice? Write to Tiggy Upland at firstname.lastname@example.org. This advice column is for entertainment purposes only. The columnist reserves the right to edit the letters for any reason. Find more Ask Tiggy on www.biresource.net.