ASK AUNTIE QUESTIONS

My momma is really homophobic, and I asked her once what she would do if I came out to her. She said she would kick me out and disown me. My dad is pretty homophobic too, and I’m really scared of the finding out on accident that I’m bisexual. Can you help me think of a plan if they do find out?

Before we talk about a plan, I want to send you a big virtual hug. I’m so sorry about hearing how your parents might react. This is such inexcusable and incredibly hurtful behavior coming from people who are supposed to have your back. Just know there are a lot of others who accept you and love you for who you are.

So, thank you for reaching out.

My greatest priority is your safety. You are under no obligation to disclose anything about yourself to anyone.

If you are wanting to put together a safety plan in case they do find out and you find yourself in a dangerous situation, then let’s talk about that.

Here are a few things to get you started:

  • Make Sure You’re Safe – If for whatever reason you think your safety is in jeopardy, I want you to make a safety plan. This can include finding a safe place to stay for a while, looking for a job so that you can take care of yourself financially, or setting up rides to school or work. It’s also a good idea to let your school counselor or a trusted adult know, so they can help out.
  • Find an Ally – It can be a really lonely place when don’t feel accepted by those closest to you. Find someone you think you can trust. You’re not alone and there are others who can have your back. It may also be a good idea to get involved with LGBTQ groups. Check to see if there are any locally by going to GLBT Near Me, or by going to org.
  • Take the Power Back! – When or if you want to start letting others know, think about how you would like to come out and when. Keep in mind that it can be anytime you chose…after graduation, when you have a job, or have moved away to college. This will be on your terms. For more help check out “The Guide to Coming Out As You”.
  • Get Help – If you’re feeling depressed and suicidal it’s vital that you get help by talking to folks who care and have your back. You’re not alone and you don’t need to go through this alone call the Trevor Lifeline (1.866.488.7386) – it’s there for you 24/7, as well as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “Native” to 741741. You can also check with your tribal clinic, or school counselor to help.

Just a couple other things to keep in mind is that other people’s reactions are more about them than you. You’ve had time to think about your feelings and while you are still likely sorting those feelings out, when your family and friends learn this news it will be for the first time. If they find out you are bi, they will begin their own acceptance process. It may take some time for them to fully understand your news.

Do not doubt yourself if it takes your parents time to shift to becoming more open or supportive. You are not responsible for your parents’ response. Remember that regardless of their response, or anyone else’s, you are worthy of love, you are sacred, and you are important. Sometimes it takes time for people to process new information, or information they’ve known but have avoided. Whatever their response may be in the moment, don’t lose track of that worthiness.

If you want some resources to support you during this time, I suggest:

  • TheTrevorProject.org. available 24/7, text START to 678-678
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “Native” to 741741
  • PFLAG – for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their parents and families, and allies
  • Get no-cost mental health counseling services for 2SLGBTQ+ Indigenous folks from The Paths (Re)membered Project. Email your name, current location, tribal affiliation, age, and preferred contact info to mthomas@npaihb.org to get connected. Counseling is currently only for folks in OR, WA, NM, MN, TX, DC.

Take care,

Auntie Manda

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My momma is really homophobic, and I asked her once what she would do if I came out to her. She said she would kick me out and disown me. My dad is pretty homophobic too, and I’m really scared of the finding out on accident that I’m bisexual. Can you help me think of a plan if they do find out?

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