Coming out to my mother was possibly one of the hardest and most draining tasks I have ever had to endure in my short life.

The moment itself was not short of tears, anger and a plethora of questions, but I knew I was ready. Recently, Time magazine featured a detailed look into gay teenagers in America. The article states that statistically, more gay teenagers are coming out to their parents at younger ages. But are these teenagers really ready for the aftermath? What may happen when you combine the worse possible outcomes after disclosing to your parents? The rare, yet still contingent, reversion back into the closet.

Some teenagers, due to fear of both their parents and themselves, will head backwards into a state of denial and lack of self-acceptance. This psychologically damaging state is overlooked by society and can have severe repercussions in the long run.

Denial, when used correctly, can be an effective tool, in a temporary sense. It helps shield a person from a painful message or realization. A defense mechanism is quickly constructed in order to protect the status quo and ward off any “impure thoughts.”

Disclosing one’s sexuality is not to be taken lightly. Self-confidence is of utmost importance when deciding to come out. Confusion on your part will undoubtedly decrease your parents’ confidence in your judgment. A high dose of positive self-image is going to be necessary in order to respond to your parents’ uncertain reactions.

During disclosure, some parents will think they have lost control of their child. Chances are, they will respond based on a lifetime of information from a homophobic society. They’ll blame outside factors including, but not limited to, the media and schooling as the main culprits of their child’s “problem.” Some will stop at nothing in order to regain control, even if it’s through subtle manipulation, such as financial threats, living situations and ethical and moral stances. These methods seem to be extreme. Parents, however, do not use them because they hate their children.

Parents want the best for their children. They want them to live successful and productive lives, and living a gay lifestyle is not on the agenda. Your job, as gay adolescents, is to provide your parents with the most useful resources and knowledge of your sexual orientation. It is often the fear of the unknown that inhibits parents from understanding their own children. This is the foundation for a positive and healthy relationship.

And this is what happened with my mother and me. With time, not only was she able to accept me for who I was, but also, became my No. 1 fan.

Buitrago can be reached at jbuitrago@campustimes.org.



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