Abby Advice: Teen fears siblings’ bullying about 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 an 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 is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips.
P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069