My sister thinks of herself as a freak. It hurts me that she thinks this way about herself. It hurts me more to know she has been going through pain and confusion for the majority of her life. She told me that my opinion was the only one that really mattered to her, and she hasn't come out to anyone else yet.
I want to know how I can help her. Specifically, she's having trouble with accepting herself and coming out. What do you wish your loved ones could've done for you? And are there any good readings for me to recommend to her?
Please help. It hurts me that my sister is going through so much pain. I don't know what to do. I don't want her thoughts to get the best of her.
So wonderful that you are reaching out to help your sister.
I personally am not up on all the latest books as I came out thirty years ago. If you contact a PFLAG organization near you, or on line, I'm sure you can get a host of reading materials to help out. I believe it stands for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Just do a search for PFLAG and that should do it.
I would suggest trying to get your sister to a local LGBT support group as well. Look to the biggest city tht you can get to. You can go with her so she isn't so scared. This will help her see that she isn't alone, isn't a freak and that there is, indeed, a wonderful and supportive lesbian and gay community out there. She will learn that she is a lesbian because that is how she was born. Her DNA controls her sexual preference. Anyone that condemns her is wrong and is actually the one with the character flaw - not your sister.
Once she starts meeting others in our community, and feeling more confident in herself, she will eventually start coming out to others. It is her choice to come out when she is ready. It took me 6 years - and that was after I moved from the midwest to San Francisco.
If there is a gay/lesbian friendly therapist that she can go see, setting up some appts. may help her sort out her feelings too. Be very careful, though, that the therapist isn't someone who will try to "cure" her. Once you find an LGBT support group/center there should be alot of resources to draw from.
I think it is really important for her to get out and meet other lesbians. It will take her out of her bubble and help her understand that being lesbian is not something to feel bad about at all but, rather, normal and natural.
Just keep telling her she is great and keep it happy. The LGBT lifestyle is rewarding and offers all the same opportunities as the heterosexual lifestyle.
Thank you so much for your advice. I looked up PFLAG. Would you recommend trying out a meeting there? And is it free? My sister is a college student, and she knows of the LGBT services at her school, but she is still feeling so self conscious that she's even embarrassed of walking in vicinity of the building.
I'm so angry that the world is still so unaccepting. I'm angry that she has to feel this way. And no matter what, I don't think she's ever going to get over the guilt of telling the family, because the family is so conservative.
PFLAG is for parents and friends of gay people so I think it would be a great idea for you to go to the meetings. They will help you understand the process - and have great ideas of how you can help your sister.
I think that you should really push your sister to go to the lgbt support groups and tell her you will go with her. She has to try and fight the embarassment. Here is an idea - maybe she can go to one that isn't on her campus. That way she will not be worried about who might see her. Less pressure that way. Perhaps go to a meeting outside of town - away from family and college friends.
I understand it feels like it will never get better but it always does. She will eventually come to understand that she has no reason to feel guilty and that she deserves the love of those close to her. She will come to realize that they need to change their views and take the path towards acceptance . The burden and guilt actually falls on them - not her.
But, she has to take the first step. Make a weekly outing of going to an lgbt meeting together. People will understand that you are there for support.
I'm mad too that there is so much hate in the world and that the conservative right is pushing homophobia. As bad as it seems though, it has gotten so much better! For the first time ever I actually feel like same sex marriage just might be federally legal in my lifetime! Also, different geographical locations are much more accepting.
I moved to San Francisco and came out. It was a very fun place to come out - no inhibitions and no guilt feelings. A great place to build self confidence. Maybe a move to a location where she isn't quite so close to family. It really helps to be around others who are enlightened.
Keep us posted! Don't worry - it will get better.
PS: Have her visit this site. She can just look around and see what others are saying.
Thank youuuu for your advice!!! It was all so helpful. My sister and I had a good heart to heart yesterday. She's really interested in PFLAG, and she was ecstatic when I told her I'd go with her to her first meeting. It breaks my heart when she told me that she never had the guts to go to the LGBT services at her school, because she said that she's afraid of being seen. I told her that she needs to work up to the point where she realizes she should be proud of who she is, and until she's at that point, a lot of baby steps need to be taken. She was really happy to have this whole conversation, and I'm thankful for all the advice you've given us. Thank you!
I'm so happy that you and your sister are able to move forward and that you are feeling a little better. Do keep in mind that PFLAG is for parents and friends of Lesbians and Gays. So, I think it is more for you to attend those meetings. Your sister should go to lgbt support groups/centers.