vantage safety

anonymous asked:

Hey Leela! It's nice to see you back. I have a weird thing to ask. Don't answer it if it's too personal of course. But are you out to your parents? If so, how did you tell them? I'm asking because we have kinda similar backgrounds. My parents are Indian. Very traditional but they love me to death. I'm twenty years old and it feels like such a big part of me, even though it is objectively not, but I'd like to tell them I'm queer. (1/?)

hi love! sorry it’s taken me some time to get back to you. i’m not going to post the rest of your message here since it’s quite long and personal but just know that i read all of it and a lot of the details you described, especially regarding the uncertainty you feel about an exact label for your sexuality, the guilt you feel for hiding a big part of yourself from your parents, and your mother’s self-blame for your mental illness, are all things that i completely empathize with and understand from personal experience. on the other hand your parents’ stance on homosexuality is actually still more progressive than my parents’, just to give you some context for my perspective. 

i’m not out to my parents or pretty much any of my family other than my sister, nor am i out to many of my childhood/high school friends who hold conservative beliefs. like you, my parents love me to death, and i love them a lot in return. i struggle every single day with the knowledge that they only know and love a version of myself that i’ve created to be in line with their values, while my ‘real self’ would undoubtedly cause them pain and some measure of disappointment. but my reasoning for staying closeted is mostly personal safety/stability and a fear of causing my parents pain. i would rather deal with the effects of repressing and hiding parts of myself around them than destabilize our family or hurt people i love. 

this isn’t really easy to talk about for me so it’s even more difficult for me to give you objective ‘advice’ on your situation. but from my vantage point, your personal safety is the most important thing, as well as your happiness/wellness. if you feel like you’re less happy hiding away this part of yourself than you would be if your parents viewed you differently after you came out, or continued to blame themselves for who you are, or maybe accused you of ‘going through a phase’ or whatever else, then by all means you should tell them. but for me, it has always made more sense to wait, at least until i am completely independent (youre younger than i am so i imagine u at least depend on them for a measure of financial support on top of emotional support, etc.) and until i have a partner with whom i’m ready to make a longer-term commitment. at that point i feel like at least i’d have something to show them about how happy i am being who i am, and there’d be a relationship i was prioritizing over the mostly stable one i have with my parents right now, so that even if my parents were to reject me i’d have support from my partner and my friends. 

i obviously can’t say what’s most correct for you and your situation. coming out is fucking tricky even in the best and safest of contexts. it’s infinitely harder to know what the right thing to do is when there are these obvious factors that make you feel unsafe and uncertain. either way i hope you think about it a lot and know that you don’t owe anyone your truth, even your parents. you are fully valid in your decisions to do whatever you think will maximize your own happiness for the time being, and you should feel no guilt about ‘lying’ if it’s to preserve that happiness. i’m sending you a lot of love and solidarity from afar as you deal with this, and i hope you take good care of yourself xx