Teen fears siblings’ bullying over her sexual orientation
DEAR ABBY: I am a teenage girl who has recently discovered I am bisexual. I told a few close friends, and I'm happy to say they have accepted me. Nothing has changed. I have not told any of my family yet. I know my parents will support me, but the problem is two of my four siblings. They constantly tease and taunt me, call me names and pick on me.
I have been raised to stand up to bullies, and I am mostly confident with myself. I have brought up their bullying to my parents a couple of times, but after discipline from my parents they keep doing it. They are clearly homophobic, and I know they will tease and pick on me even more if I come out to them.
I want to tell my parents, but I'm afraid it will inevitably lead to my siblings knowing. I don't think if my younger siblings knew they would care, but they might be confused or weirded out since the concept is foreign to them.
Should I try to convince my parents not to say anything to my siblings until later? I don't want to hide, but I don't want to be pushed to depression, low self-esteem or worse if my vocal homophobic siblings know and chastise me about my sexual orientation.
– NEW LGBTQ+ MEMBER
DEAR MEMBER: Your siblings are not necessarily "homophobic." They may just get a kick out of making their younger sister uncomfortable, and whatever punishment they receive is not sufficient to curb the problem. Whether your parents divulge it, your sexual orientation will become apparent sooner or later, so don't bother hiding. You have friends and parents who support you. Handling negative comments from your immature sibs will give you the confidence to handle others in the future.
You may want to consider joining a LGBTQ-friendly youth group for additional support. Your parents can find ways to help you by contacting an organization called PFLAG (pflag.org). It's the first and largest organization for LGBTQ people, their parents, families and allies. You are an intelligent teen who is in the process of discovering who you are, and for that I applaud you.
DEAR ABBY: Over the last year and a half, I've been in a relationship with someone I have known for a lifetime. He's married but working on getting a divorce. He has promised we will do things together once everything is settled. There have been several recent deaths in his family, including a grandchild who was killed by a drunk driver.
Until a week ago we talked daily, when he told me he needed some time to think and get everything straight. I offered to return the things of his that I have. He said not to, and repeated that he just needed some time. His family has leaned on him for years. I'm sure he is overwhelmed. Should I wait and see what's next or mend my heart and move on?
– STANDING BY IN THE EAST
DEAR STANDING BY: As you are probably aware, I have printed many letters from women who were strung along far longer than two years. Back off. Give him six months to get his head and his life straight and to get that divorce filed. If nothing has changed by then, you will have devoted only two years of your life to the affair, and you should move on.