Disclaimer: This advice column is completely confidential - all questions are anonymous and the author will never reveal an inquirer's identity. All Things Lesbian and its contributors are not responsible for the personal interpretation of any advice given. Advice written here is the opinion and suggestion of the author, and the decision on whether to take said advice is completely down to the individual reader. We're not professionals - we're simply here trying to make things a little easier for you. Enjoy!
Question 1: Coming Out.
Q: I'm only 14 years old, but I'm struggling with coming out to my parents. Any advice on how to do this?
A: Many of us (the LGBTQ crowd, that is), have had experience with this. The honest truth is, there's no correct answer. But don't let that scare you!
Coming out to your parents can be one of the most important things you'll ever have to do. Others live their entire lives without telling anyone except their close friends. One thing is obvious: most people regard their parents' opinion as valuable, hence why people see coming out to them as something they need to do right.
Sometimes, coming out to your parents can be easy.
For example, a relative of mine was once wearing a pin which read "Friend of Dorothy". (Subtle, right?) Anyway, once his Father saw the accessory, this is how the conversation went:
Father: Does that mean you're gay?That was genuinely the entire conversation. I kid you not, some parents will take it as lightly as that. Others, however, will react differently. My experience with coming out to my parents, for instance, was not so plain sailing. But at the end of the day, your parents will still love you.
Relative: Yes, can I go in the bath now?
No matter what their religious beliefs, political background, personal upbringing, etc., your parents will love you even if your sexuality is hard for them to understand. And anyway, at the end of the day, it's your own happiness that really matters.
I'd suggest dropping subtle hints if you're not entirely comfortable with just telling them flat out. Replace that Channing Tatum poster on your bedroom wall with a picture of your favourite lady. If you're feeling bold, stick a pride flag up there. Ask them in conversation what they think about the debate on gay marriage.
My one main piece of advice would be to remember this: it gets better. It's a cliché but it's so true. Even if they take it badly, one day you will be free to leave the restraints of your home and socialize with other like-minded people. Don't worry, you're not stuck there forever.
And who knows? Maybe your parents have already taken the hint!
Question 2: Why Does She Make Me Feel Invisible?
Q: I have been with my girlfriend for three years. We seem to fight a lot. We are going to try living apart and dating. But I'm wondering a couple of things... When we meet her friends, people she knows, or anyone we talk to, she: 1) Doesn't introduce me. And 2) Will keep standing between me and the people she talks to. It makes me feel really sad and invisible. Why does she do that?
A: This one hits home pretty hard for me too, actually.
I was once in a relationship with a girl who tried to shield me away from the people she spoke to. However, it turned out in this instance that she was just over-protective. Maybe your girlfriend is the same. Some people can feel threatened and believe that people will find you more interesting or attractive when compared to them.
However, there are a multitude of reasons that could be causing her to keep you at a distance.
The only way to get these questions answered is to ask her directly. I understand that this may be hard for you, but if you let her know that it upsets you, maybe she'll back off a little. This sounds like something you can solve easily if you only let her know about how you feel.
Talking things out is really underrated. If only someone had told George Bush Jr. that... But I digress.
We love answering your questions here at All Things Lesbian!
To get your question in for the October issue of All Things Lesbian's advice column, email firstname.lastname@example.org in which your email will remain completely anonymous!
(If your problem was not answered in this issue, it will be carried over to an upcoming month. Some questions may not be published at all, but ATL tries our best to reply to each and every email, so send in your questions now! What have you got to lose?)