This hurts me big time; it’s almost as bad as if she had disowned me! She doesn’t want me to be out to the rest of our family — or to anybody, for that matter. She says that I’m just confused and that I shouldn’t advertise that I think that I’m gay. I know that it has nothing to do with hormones; it’s just who I was born to be. On one hand, my mom says she would support me having a relationship with a woman and having children, though it wouldn’t be a marriage to her because of the bible, but on the other she’s saying it’s really all in my head and that I’m just a confused 24-year-old who either needs to try to date guys or be celibate. I don’t want to date guys or be celibate! She doesn’t like me hanging out with my gay friends either because she feels they will make me even more gay, which could never happen since I’m already pretty butch!
We were never close growing up — still aren’t — but I would love for her to support me and let me be me and be out and proud! I’ve told her this but she will hear none of it. By the way: I live with her; I’m currently unemployed and going to college full time (going for my masters). I have no other place to live, my dad lives in 500 miles away with his “new” family and doesn’t have room for me. My sister and I would kill each other, plus she’s married with kids. I will hopefully be leaving in a few years (fingers crossed), but even then I don’t want my being gay to ruin our relationship. How do I get along with my mom and ignore the hurt she is causing me?
P.S. I’ve tried to make myself like guys to sort of hear her out on giving dudes a chance and it’s just not working! I think I’m trying to be straight just to make her happy! — The New Lesbian
Not to be one of those old fogies whose all, “Well, in MY day, yada yada,” but in MY day, young adults got jobs and moved out of their parents’ home before they qualified for AARP benefits. I mean, you’re 24 and you’re keeping your fingers crossed that you’ll be moving out of your mom’s place “in a few years”?! You realize that in a few years you’re going to be pushing 30, right? Even 24 is a little old to be living at home, mooching off your parent(s) indefinitely (special situations not withstanding). I get that you’re going to school full time and that the economy sucks, but if you really wanted some independence, you’d find a way to make it happen. You could get a weekend retail job or tend bar two nights a week or wait tables. If you’re in grad school, you could look for an assistantship that paid your tuition and gave you a monthly stipend. It may not be much, but it would probably be enough to cover rent split several ways if you found a place with a few roommates. Grad students have been living this way for decades.
But all of these actions take some work, initiative, and sacrifice, don’t they? And maybe it’s just easier to stay at home with your mother and complain about how she won’t “let” you be you. That way you get to freeload a “few more years,” and don’t have to deal with the burden that being yourself might present. Because, let’s face it: being gay isn’t always the easiest thing in the world. There’s still a lot of prejudice out there. But you’re putting yourself in a position where you’re feeling it on a constant basis, in your home (well, not your home…) — the one place in the world where you shouldn’t have any problem being exactly who you are. YOU are putting yourself in an unpleasant home environment that compromises your identity AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THAT. You can move out. You’re 24-years-old. You don’t need anyone else’s permission to be you, whether you’re gay, bi, straight, freaky, square, whatever.
Embrace who you are: a lesbian and an adult. Get a job, find your own apartment and live your life. Eventually, as your mother sees you owning your life and being happy and proud of who you are, she’s going to STFU about you being “confused.” But as long as you continue giving her control of your life, she’s never going to see you as anything other that the child she’s still raising and influencing. So, quit being her child. Quit “letting” her tell you what to do. Prove to her and yourself you’ve grown up and you have confidence in your life decisions and the path you’re traveling. Leave the nest and fly, little birdie. The time has come.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected] and be sure to follow me on Twitter.