SL Letter of the Day: Lesbian Teen Not Happy With Her Parents—Or With Dan

Comments

1
i just wanna give this girl a big ol hug.
2
Dan, You rock. I know your mom is so proud of you. What a kind and loving exchange- you graciously accepted her anger and got her to open up and you probably just opened doors and hearts all over the world. You are my hero.
3
How wonderful. Lovely lovely.
4
Big hug to you, POD. I read it as "too late for a wake" as well.
5
Dan, you are teh awesome. I wish I'd had an older friend/role model to speak to me that way back when I was in high school - in Indiana, in the '80s! - and didn't know any openly gay people at all, just one "rumored gay" teacher who they accused of coming on to male students.

Keep fighting the good fight, Dan! We're behind you!
6
Girl, you know you have support around the world from queers and not-so-queer peeps. I'm one of those fluid ladies who can make life difficult for the for-sure-lesbian side of the spectrum.
But I can tell you, being in the middle isn't the greatest either. I've spent hours crying about not being able to fit into either world and feeling like any time I fall for a guy I'm betraying my queer side. A lot of this inner conflict has contributed to me actually never having a long-term relationship.
I'd still never want to change who I am to fit into someone else's definition of how people should be.

And if your parents are in a movie watching mood, I'd suggest checking out 'For the Bible Tells Me So'. A great documentary that chronicles a few famous-ish families and their journeys from all the spectrums of support- conservative to tolerating to being super supportive.
7
@2 x a million! Well done Dan.

Oh and ditto on the hug.
8
What a beautiful thread. I just wrote her to tell her how brave I think she is and to let her know how many people in the world are behind her 100%.
9
Watch For the Bible Tells Me So like Enigma says, really loudly. If your parents ask what you're watching you can reply "stories of families that support their gay children. You probably wouldn't like it."

But then, I'm from Seattle.

10
That was a truly lovely exchange. I hope it gets better right quick for her.
11
I want this child to come live with me. Poor girl. 17 is a hard age for anyone, but this girlie has a shite road ahead of her until she is of age and in a position where she can support herself.

I don't mean to sidetrack, but don't you think that part of the fluidity of women's sexuality is the ease with which society is able to accept it? 2 women together is perceived by a lot of men as hot hot hot and a chance that some lucky bastard is going to be invited to join in. I don't know of many women who see prospective hot sex when she sees a male couple.
12
To POD - Hang in there. You're awesome. You strong. You rock.

To Dan - Yeah, whatever, you'e okay too. But we knew that already.
13
Nice exchange, but, yeah "my 5 lesbian friends" has always been irritating to me, as well. You could've made the same point, talking about fluidity, by saying "i had a lesbian friend once who then married a man and here's what I know about it" instead of acting like you had a statistically significant sample.
15
Epic email exchange indeed! Thanks for posting that Dan and extra thanks for taking the time to be so responsive to POD.

And I gotta say: for 17 POD writes and thinks exceptionally well. That's one good head you have on your shoulders POD! Best of luck in weathering this storm and moving on to the next.
16
Just sent POD a hug. Anyone know someone in Dublin who can be more helpful?

@11 "women who see prospective hot sex when she sees a male couple."

me me me! Hasn't ever worked out so far, but a girl can dream :-)

17
Dan, you are going to ruin your reputation as an asshole with this kind of stuff.
18
Hugs POD! Hang in there!

@11: Probably. The problem is that people just fucking LOVE to essentialize any sort of categorical descriptions.
19
I'm tearing up at my desk. POD, it really will get better. Dan, thank you for taking the time to talk with this kid.

It means so much to a young person to have a sympathetic, honest, receptive and respectful conversation with an adult who remembers what it's like in their shoes and can communicate across the generational divide from a place of real caring. You've set a great example here, Dan. I hope I can be there like this for a kid when the opportunity comes up.
20
"I can handle a few dicks taking a jab at me"

I think if this were actually the case, she wouldn't have this problem with her parents after all.
21
Sad, sad, and also sweet.

I can't say as I like the idea of anyone putting up with conversion therapy; repetition has surprising power even when we know what we're hearing is wrong, and the best-prepared gay kid could still come out of a relationship with a bad therapist with all kinds of emotional mess. I guess as long as Western society continues to consider children the property of their parents, though, it's a matter of best available options, not best options.
22
Dear POD,

Keep your chin up, love. You are not alone. I know a soon to be 17 y.o. girl who shares your journey. I wish you were on my side of the pond, because you'd know you had a place to go when things get overwhelming. I hope your parents are just grieving those dreams they thought were your future and they come around quickly. Make sure to dream for yourself.

Take care,
k
23
@11 Plus whole legions of japanese high school girls. yaoi: male/male romance written for and sold primarily to a female audience.
24
Man, 17. You're almost there! You're almost free. Just gotta hang on for a wee bit more. You can do it. And your parents will come around. It will just take time. Stay strong. There's a whole mess of people in the world, who are just waiting to show you all kinds of love and acceptance once you can get out there and join in. :-)
25
God damn it, Dan. You made me cry at work.

I was hoping you bought a plane ticket to Dublin though. Isn't it time for some Guiness?
26
People are such cry babies.
27
Gay Switchboard Dublin/Ireland's generic gay help/resource line (http://www.gayswitchboard.ie/) - I'll email the details to the email addr also. Looks like there's also a dedicated resource line for lesbians, the Dublin Lesian Line (http://www.dublinlesbianline.ie/ ) Originally from Dublin myself, been here in Seattle the past 13 years. They was a les/bi/gay youth support group back in the day, don't know if it's still running, but the above should be able to point as appropriate.

US vs Ireland are interesting to compare; while Ireland may be no San Francisco, it's also nowhere near as conservative as some places in the US; there's only a small handful of rabidly rightwing politicians in Irish politics, and little to no gay-baiting in politics. There likely won't be full gay 'marriage' for some years yet, due to a quirk in the Irish constitution that would take some time to fix, but Ireland has had an equivalent for some time now, which does include tax and immigration equality, and it passed with little or no drama.
28
She goes to a convent school run by nuns? Chances are more than a couple of them are gay as well.
29
POD, you have lots of support here. This is a great place to vent, ask questions and get support. So sorry things are so sucky at your house. Wish we could all just head over there and give your parents a bit of advice. Over and over again until they get it.

I also recommend For the Bible Tells Me So. Also, if you want a book that gives a very different understanding of the Bible that is totally supportive of the LGBT community, read What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality. It was written by a Catholic Priest named Daniel Helminiak. I think I wrote his name right. It puts things into historical perspective and back into the larger context of what the authors of those Bible stories were trying to say. It totally takes the wind out of the sails of those people who cry "But it is in the Bible. God hates gays." It is not, and He doesn't. Just saying.
30
Note: A person who IDs as lesbian and then later IDs as bi or hetero has not changed gender but rather her (outward expression of) sexual orientation. Unless someone is using the archaic definition of "gender" as "type or kind."
31
Dublin resources:

Running Amach
http://www.meetup.com/Dublin-LGBTQ-Women…
runningamach@hotmail.com

BelongTo ("BeLonG To is an organisation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered young people, aged between 14 and 23")
email. info@belongto.org
phone. 01 670 6223
http://www.belongto.org/group.aspx?secti… (Belong To -Dublin)

OUThouse, LGBT Community Resource Centre
105 Capel Street, Dublin 1
Telephone (01) 873 4999
Email info@outhouse.ie

Gay Switchboard ("Gay Switchboard Dublin provides a confidential telephone support service. We offer listening support and information to all our callers without being directive or judgmental. Our service is available to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, their parents, families and friends, and to anyone who has issues relating to sexuality. The Helpline service is available Monday to Thursday from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm.")
email. info@gayswitchboard.ie
phone. 01-8721055
helpline. 01-8721055
32
Dublin resources:

Running Amach (specifically for women)
http://www.meetup.com/Dublin-LGBTQ-Women…
runningamach@hotmail.com

BelongTo ("BeLonG To is an organisation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered young people, aged between 14 and 23")
email. info@belongto.org
phone. 01 670 6223
http://www.belongto.org/group.aspx?secti… (Belong To -Dublin)

OUThouse, LGBT Community Resource Centre
105 Capel Street, Dublin 1
Telephone (01) 873 4999
Email info@outhouse.ie

Gay Switchboard ("Gay Switchboard Dublin provides a confidential telephone support service. We offer listening support and information to all our callers without being directive or judgmental. Our service is available to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, their parents, families and friends, and to anyone who has issues relating to sexuality. The Helpline service is available Monday to Thursday from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm.")
email. info@gayswitchboard.ie
phone. 01-8721055
helpline. 01-8721055
33
Damn -- it said it hadn't posted.
34
emailed her a hug.
35
The Advocate put some Georgia teenage "lesbian" on the cover as the Homosexual of the Year and within a year she was shacking up with her boyfriend popping out a baby.....
36
funny-
our five homosexual friends are all pedophiles.....
37
Dan you rock! Wow, your emails are incredible.

POD you rock as well! Hang tight, get through it, and then move on!
38
This story made me cry and I hate to cry. Youre a jerk
39
You do good work, Dan.

Thanks for posting the entire email exchange, and POD, thank you too, for being so brave. Here I am, all the way across the world from you, and I have tears in my eyes...

It is a lovely future we're going to, it really is...
40
@11 I think far more women than you think. But it's less okay for women to admit to thinking about male-male shenanigans than it is for a man to admit to thinking about female-female ones. It's likely part of the general cultural shaming of women for having any sexual desires (fortunately this isn't complete, but it does happen) combined with the general idea that the male point of view is the default normal point of view and that a woman's point of view is a special case. Add in that men are expected to be straight and it becomes far more acceptable to sexualize females. But sexualizing males is more taboo, unless you're showing what a stud they are in their ability to get women, thus feeding the male fantasy of guys getting women. On the upside, there are a lot of forces combating all of those things, which is why this isn't the only viewpoint you see, but it is still a fairly strong trend.
41
You can use the Bible against your parents.

- Has your father ever gone to bed with your mother when she was on her period?
Lev. 20:18 And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.

- Does your dad shave his beard?
Lev. 19:27 Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.

- Do your parents eat porc?
Lev. 11:7 And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.

- No shellfish either.
Lev. 11:10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:

- Does your mom sometime wear pants instead of skirts?
Deu. 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

- Have your parents killed anyone from a different religion lately? Well they should. Lev. 13:6-10

42
Dan, I'm a UNC student who couldn't get off work tonight to come here you speak, so I was reading your blog (it's a slow night at work) as a small consolation. Words of encouragement have been sent to POD.
43
Dan, I couldn't love you any more right now. You are one awesome human being! Also, you are my hero.
44
POD my advice is to rent the wonderful movie "But I Am A Cheerleader" and watch that with your family.
45
First, I love you Dan.

Second, I think all lesbian Irish listeners near Dublin need to go to her doorstep and tell her parents how things are!

@rdemartini
46
@11 "women who see prospective hot sex when she sees a male couple."

Me, too, if they're sexy (or affectionate). Of course, I tend to think of prospective hot sex when I see a hot male, too.

And @20 - Totally!
47
I have a young friend in Texas in a similar situation. Two in one week - how gruesome. All the best, Ms POD. But, if it should come to it, you do seem to manifest the possession and sense required to get through some of the not-so-best.
48
Please note I said 'many' women, not 'any' women. But thank you for letting me know I'm not alone here :)

And EricaP @16, I really do enjoy you.
49
Solid exchange but the unnecessary use of 'like' in this girls emails made me cringe.
50
OT: I swear I first read the email addy as "tool ate for a wake", as in, "That dickhead ate enough for a roomful of mourners!"

Anyway, POD, I'm sorry to hear they have that "reparative therapy" bullshit over there too. I'm hoping this is just your parents' reaction to the initial shock, and/or the result of some misguided advice they got from a priest or a website or whatever, and that they'll snap out of it before long. If not, well, you're so close to adulthood. You have a lot of people in your corner and a good head on your shoulders. This is not the rest of your life. Courage, and don't let anybody tell you who to be.
51
Dan, I strongly suspect that you are an excellent father and a rockin' uncle. This was great.
52
I just sent her this email:

Dear POD,

I just read your e-mail exchange on Dan Savage's website. Firstly, I would like to applaud your bravery. I'm almost 21 and I haven't come out yet. Mind you, I was buried in denial for years and just recently emerged from it. And I mean that I haven't come out to my family. I have come out to my closest friends and even a professor at my university. I am fortunate to have a very liberal and accepting campus where I can begin my coming out process. This year I have been going to GLBTA club meetings and making lots of new friends, GLBT and straight allies. I feel really comfortable at my university because it is my own world and my parents aren't a part of it. In just three years, things have gotten much better for me and continue to do so. But enough about me.

I wanted to write to you and offer some words of encouragement. I know that it's easy to get down and feel lonely, even in a supportive environment. Hang in there. Stick it out. Reach out when life feels too heavy to hold. You're certainly not alone. I'm sure you've heard much of this before, so bear with me. In about a year, you can go to university, or join the military, or get a job. You can move away and start your own life. You will make friends that are more understanding, and your friends now might become more understanding as time passes. Don't be afraid to talk to them. If you don't want to be introduced as POD, The Lesbian, just say that to your friends. Tell them that you're the same person you were before and being gay doesn't define you. If you open the door up for conversation, it might help their ignorance (even though it's minor). Have you heard of the website everyoneisgay.com ? You should check it out. It's an advice website run by two lesbians that I visit almost every day. Also, this is my favorite video of Dan's and I think it's great advice that I plan to follow when I do come out to my parents: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SgkviV9G…

Your parents love you, POD. I know it may be hard to see that right now, but they do. They always will. And you're not alone in this. Keep reaching out when you need help. Keep watching It Gets Better videos. Keep being yourself. I hope you don't have to go to conversion therapy, but if you do, good luck. Hopefully Dan's advice works and you can find a halfway decent therapist, at least. You're very brave, POD, and I'd like to keep talking to you if you respond to me. You're going to have a great life. Good luck! :)
53
POD's going to turn out all right, and it'll get better for her. Strength of spirit shone through in that exchange. Delightful to read!
54
This whole exchange made me cry. I emailed POD and offered support.
55
Honestly, Dan. I was just ranting about how tired I get of your comments about "fluid" female sexuality because I feel like it minimizes the experiences of lesbians. Then you go and do something like this... You continue to be a demi-god in my eyes, damn you.
56
I love you both!!
57
I have nothing useful to add this late in the thread but encouragement, and nothing better to do than heave a sigh of relief that the Magdalene laundries are gone from Ireland.

Well done, all.
58
This made me cry too. Dan, so moved by your commitment. POD, you'll get there. You'll look back at these times like a fuzzy distant memory and think, did I really live that?! Trust me. The world is moving in the direction of acceptance, and the Catholics will have to sort it out (many of our generation of Catholics don't abide the intolerance). I've been there, and you'll get here! *hugs*
59
I, too, was bawling reading through these emails. I sure hope things get better for POD. Thanks for being such an awesome force in this world, Dan!
60
reparative therapy in ireland = sessions with the parish priest, who, if you're lucky, just might be gay himself. and listen to dan's podcast: http://www.thestranger.com/SavageLovePod…. i bet someday you will be his guest advising baby dykes about coming out to conservative and/or religious parents. Síochán leat, mo cuishle.
61
reading the kids e-mails, I'm not too concerned. She'll be fine. She's smart, sounds well adjusted, (writes well, too).

Also @Dan - that line about not caring about the people who write to you from the Ira Glass podcast? I call a giant bullshit on that.
62
Dear Dan,

For a heartless "faggot," you are such a wonderful person, If i pretend to be a 17 year old who just came out to her religiously uptight parents, would you come visit me too? I promise I would make you, Terry and "the kid" a homemade Italian meal you wouldn't forget! My girls would play with "the kid" too!

Love,

Me and the monkey family. <3
63
"I go to a nice convent school run by nuns too, oh joy."

Catholic schoolgirls! What's not to love?
64
All I can say here are these two things:
1.) POD, you ROCK for #1: sending Dan your first email; #2: continuing to respond to his answers; and, #3: for being such a totally AWESOME, grounded, and realistic person as you are.
2.) Dan, YOU rock, too, because you stated your situation, backed off and acknowledged her complaints, and then you were there to totally offer her your unconditional support.
Kudos to all involved.
65
Wonderful exchange, and wonderful idea to write to POD. Thanks!
66
Too late for a wake,

Because you've been in heaven for a half hour!

You're doing it correctly. Use every tip and trick provided by your antecedents, come up with new ones, and share with those coming after you. You aren't alone.

Coming from the point of view of your parents, it is terrifying entering new territory and hoping for the best. But still, here is hoping for the best.

Peace.
67
Hug it out, guys.
69
Sent her a supportive email. Thanks for sharing this.
70
<3
71
So, I just sent POD this email, and I wanted to share:

Dear POD,

I just read the email exchange between you and Dan Savage. So, I have to tell you what went through my mind initially: BRAVA, girl, just, BRAVA! I am a straight (at least, I think!) 55 year old woman, divorced just since mid-August, 2011, after almost 33 years of marriage to the man who I considered the "love of my life". We have a daughter who will be 30 years old this year, married, and mother to my handsome, wonderful, intelligent grandson, who is 28 months old. None of this has anything to do with your situation, but, I just wanted you to know just a little of my background.

I want you to know that I think that you are such a brave & inspiring person. The exchanges between you and Dan show you as such an intelligent, caring & thoughtful person, and you're ONLY 17! As Dan's message, through his program, says: It gets better. In this day and age, please know that there are so many groups and organizations which have come into existence in the last 10-20 years that are so supporting of the LGBT community. I have family and friends in this community, and, now, you. You need to know that you have so many people on your side, and for whom you are a hero(ine). I don't know you at all, but I am so proud of you. Do what you have to do, say what you have to say, in the short term (if you need to). Your parents will always be your parents; hopefully, they will come around.
72
@11: don't you think that part of the fluidity of women's sexuality is the ease with which society is able to accept it

I keep going back and forth on this.

On the one hand, yes, I think sexual fluidity is much more compatible with conventional femininity than masculinity. Tradition says a manly man should be sexually dominant, so when a man goes at it with another man, the implication is that he must submit and is therefore feminized by the act. If straight ladies were to reinforce that man-man action is manly and sexy and hot and likely to win them some pussy, maybe you'd see straight boys getting touchy with each other.

On the other hand, as someone with connections to the mental health field, I've known a lot dykes, many of whom I simply cannot picture ever being with a man, despite all the cultural pressure pushing them in that direction. They are just not fluid like that. And if some lesbians aren't fluid by nature, I would imagine some straight guys aren't fluid by nature either.
73
Here's mine:

Hi POD,

I'm sure you're getting bombarded right about now, but I wanted to add my admiration to the rapidly-accumulating pile. What strength and grace you've shown, both in the confrontation with your parents and the exchange with Dan.

The part that gives me the most hope for you is that you wrote to Dan to call him out for his error, never doubting your own truth for a moment. Keep that conviction. Believe in yourself. Know that you are right and you are following the path you were meant to follow, no matter what the ignorant people around you think, do, or say.

I bet your parents will come around at some point-- they are grasping at straws right now to avoid facing the fact that what they thought was true is not, in fact, true, and that is hard for a lot of people. It's hard for most of us, in one way or another.

That doesn't excuse their treatment of you-- they owed you better. My hope for them is that they find a way to give it, so they don't miss out on the magical life of their smart, articulate daughter who knows her heart and speaks her truth.

I'm sorry this was such a fucked up experience for you, but I hope that on some level you can feel that you've already made things easier for yourself. You've come out of hiding. You've declared to the world who you are. And now we can reach out to you and offer you what you deserve: support, encouragement, belief, admiration, love.

You certainly have mine.

Kate :>
http://kate-thegirlwholived.blogspot.com…
74
Oh, and speaking of lesbians in the mental health field - POD, tell your parents that you'll go to therapy, but see a real therapist with good references and a PhD from an accredited program. She could provide you with lots of support for dealing with your parents, and might also play a role in helping your parents accept you.
75
Seandr @ 72. My understanding is that for whatever reason, the male hormones tend to hard wire male sexuality much more firmly in place than female hormones do. So a male is going to like what he likes, be attracted to what he is attracted to, and have the kinks and fetishes that turn him on. Those just won't change much. With females, I'm betting that there is a wider range they move within. If a female's sexuality is firmly planted at one end of the spectrum or the other, she is never going to be a "switch hitter". But if her range is more toward the middle, there is a better chance of it sliding to the other side. What turns her on will also be more wide ranging, and flexible. If hormones have anything to do with it, since female hormones fluctuate a lot during the month, and during her lifetime, this could explain a lot.
76
Her parents are Catholic, so their objections are likely cultural rather than Biblical (scripture is interpreted by the clergy and detailed reading of the bible isn't particularly encouraged). My parents cried about it being "a sin", but no bible verses were quoted, evidence cited, nothing to really argue against. That it is a sin is more unspoken cultural knowledge than anything more specific, so biblical knowledge is interesting but irrelevant.

I want to comment that her fear of 'reparative therapy' is healthy and should be listened to. It doesn't take too much repetition or even time for something to really warp ones thinking for years even. I only had March-August after I turned 18 and it was legal to kick me out of the house to 'be good' because I really wanted to go to college. It was amazing how long it took me to speak up for myself naturally after just six months of keeping my mouth shut and just swallowing everything (years). If you do have to try it, please call one of the helplines above after EVERY session. Talking to someone else who is sane and reasonable is really important after being told unreasonable things by 'authority figures', even ones you don't respect at all. (I should have done more of that, it would have really helped. However, I was sure I would be fine, it wasn't that long anyway, it wasn't that bad, I didn't want to bug anyone all the time, etc. and I really paid for that.)

And yes, some parents really, really care about their daughters not being lesbian. It's a combination of a lot of things, sin, damnation, grandchildren, but it probably comes down mostly to expectations. Not everyone is good at dealing with disappointment, and a lot of people want to be raising little versions of themselves, but better (little versions of themselves who are pretty and do things like go to prom). For my parents, at least a tiny bit of it was 'but your life will be so hard this way, can't you just be straight?' so it wasn't all complete and utter selfishness!
77
POD,
Being 17 sucks giant sticky donkey dick but we all went through it and *it really does get better*. So you might have to play by the rules set down by your 'rents right now but it won't always be the case and when you're done and ready to move out into the wide world you can do that making your own choices and learning from your own mistakes.
Don't fight fire with fire on this though, your 'rents hold all the cards a the moment because you're living under their roof. Make the best of your education and opportunities and when you are in a position to stand on your own two feet you can do as you please. You'll find that they'll be more ready to accept you when they can no longer bully you and it's up to you if you want that or if you want to remind them that they should have accepted you when they didn't have to.
Also, on a slightly related note, Dan mentions that gay girls and boys who are not accepted by their parents are more likely to be driven to suicide. Don't. The worse it gets as a teenager the better it *can* get and *will* get as you get older, don't miss out on the wonderful experiences you get as you explore the world just because you've got shitty 'rents.
78
Hi POD!
You really should contact BeLonG To - its the national youth service for LGBT young people in Ireland.
They have over 20 groups all around Ireland - 5 in Dublin, including The Lady Birds - a groups for young LBT women. They are fantastic - world class in fact. Do you rem the 'Stand Up! Don't Stand for Homophobic Bullying' ad on YouTube last year? It was viewed by like a million people - that was BeLonG To! You have the best LGBT youth support in the world on your doorstep - www.belongto.org - info@belongto.org - 016706223 - please contact them x
79
Hi POD!
Sorry to hear that things are really tough with your parents right now. What I reccomend is that you go to the Amazing BeLonG To - Ireland's LGBT youth service. They have groups all over Ireland - and a bunch in Dublin. It's good that you are getting some advice here from folk in the US, but it would be great to talk to people here in Ireland. BeLonG To is really an Amazing place. You will get to meet loads of other 17 year olds going through the same stuff and the youth work staff there are so brilliant.
You probably saw this already - but this is BeLonG To's 'Stand Up! Dont Stand for Homophobic Bullying' Ad http://youtu.be/lrJxqvalFxM - have a look - this is their approach - making things better right now!

BeLonG To's website is www.belongto.org, E:info@belongto.org P 01-6706223
80
Hey POD,

Just been reading over your conversation with Mr. Savage, and felt compelled to drop you a line. Im not going to say "it gets better" (why wait?) I'm not even going to try and talk it over with you, because as an Queer adult male, who came out a long time ago, I can't really imagine what is going on for you, I hope you're okay though! I just wanted to point you in the direction of www.belongto.org , one of the biggest lesbian Gay Bi and Trans organisations in Ireland, and get this...its a youth organisation! So you have the best chance to speak to trained professionals and peers who have gone or are going through the same things as you. They have weekly, sometimes daily meetings, mixed and female only groups. As well as fabulous social events like The Gay prom, they run campaigns to combat homophobia in schools.( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrJxqvalF…) Its a pretty big organization that turns its tiny cogs solely with the purpose of making sure young folks like yourself can be themselves, happily and securely. They are currently training teachers and principals in schools all over the country with a new pilot scheme that will in a short while be common practice in every school, that protects and encourages our gay kids and keeps them safe .... Please direct your parents to the website, and give them a call yourself, they will be happy to meet with you and your folks, individually or together, that's up to you... once you make the first move and contact them, you will begin a whole new amazing chapter in your life.

Be happy
JNB
81
Hey POD,

Just been reading over your conversation with Mr. Savage, and felt compelled to drop you a line. Im not going to say "it gets better" (why wait?) I'm not even going to try and talk it over with you, because as an Queer adult male, who came out a long time ago, I can't really imagine what is going on for you, I hope you're okay though! I just wanted to point you in the direction of www.belongto.org , one of the biggest lesbian Gay Bi and Trans organisations in Ireland, and get this...its a youth organisation! So you have the best chance to speak to trained professionals and peers who have gone or are going through the same things as you. They have weekly, sometimes daily meetings, mixed and female only groups. As well as fabulous social events like The Gay prom, they run campaigns to combat homophobia in schools.( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrJxqvalF…) Its a pretty big organization that turns its tiny cogs solely with the purpose of making sure young folks like yourself can be themselves, happily and securely. They are currently training teachers and principals in schools all over the country with a new pilot scheme that will in a short while be common practice in every school, that protects and encourages our gay kids and keeps them safe .... Please direct your parents to the website, and give them a call yourself, they will be happy to meet with you and your folks, individually or together, that's up to you... once you make the first move and contact them, you will begin a whole new amazing chapter in your life.

Be happy
JNB
82
Dan you should win the Nobel Prize for advice columnists. I know, I know, no such thing, but I think they should create the category just so you get an award for this.

83
Hi POD!
Sorry to hear that things are really tough with your parents right now. What I reccomend is that you go to the Amazing BeLonG To - Ireland's LGBT youth service. They have groups all over Ireland - and a bunch in Dublin. It's good that you are getting some advice here from folk in the US, but it would be great to talk to people here in Ireland. BeLonG To is really an Amazing place. You will get to meet loads of other 17 year olds going through the same stuff and the youth work staff there are so brilliant.
You probably saw this already - but this is BeLonG To's 'Stand Up! Dont Stand for Homophobic Bullying' Ad http://youtu.be/lrJxqvalFxM - have a look - this is their approach - making things better right now!

BeLonG To's website is www.belongto.org, E:info@belongto.org P 01-6706223
84
Er, I don't know if this will help, but I used to work for Childline in Ireland, and I know there are a couple more like that in Eire. Hotlines for children suffering abuse at home (which conversion camp may well count as). I'm sure she's seen the numbers growing up, but they have counsellors who can help her plan for some scenarios and that.
85
There is a spare room with my family if this awesome kid wants to come to college in the Pacific Northwest. My teenage son is happily out as bi and his 10-year-old brother is confidently 'fabulous'. I read it's "too late for a wake" also and was immediately back in time to high school when me and my friends were dykes and fags and being slammed into lockers. It gets better.
86
Way to make it all about you, 71.

87
As a lesbian in her late 20s this letter hurts to read.

And while I get that it's interesting for adults to offer musings about the cultural constraints that may or may not prevent men from expressing the same levels of sexual fluidity that women do (as though all women have that experience, when almost all straight women don't, and most lesbians don't), but that is, at root, a straight person's area of interest, not mine, and not this endearingly sassy Irish teen's.

Because when your sexual orientation is 100% at odds with your culture and your parents, you feel the lack of fluidity very very acutely. When I was this kid's age, I wanted desperately to believe that my crushes on girls were something I was feeling only b/c I wasn't fully mature yet, and when I came out to my parents a few years later, I know they hoped that too.

Not to Irish Teen: Now everything is awesome and I have a girlfriend, whom my parents quite like, and she's hot. Also, it turns out that being a lesbian in a major Western city (me, NYC, you, Dublin right now) IS actually a great talking point.

So buck up Irish teen, not only do you probably have a delightful accent, you also have an interesting sexual orientation, and like many of your countrymen, you are incredibly skilled at using the language that your English oppressors forced on you. You will be a hit at parties. I'm sorry your parents are doing this.

I remember that sickening confusion: when some straight people and your parents and even some gay guys nonchalantly imply that at the end of the day you, as a lesbian, somehow have the ONLY SEXUAL ORIENTATION that is actually not a real thing, that you are really just participating in a trend, like slap bracelets or those 2 years when American Apparel was cool. That's bullshit, Irish. It's of a piece with the bizarre notion that women don't really enjoy sex, and they only submit to it to get things they want. If that was true, I wouldn't have put my self in the 682 embarrassing situations I've put myself in, just to get close to some girl. And I know straight women who would cut their own arm off to just get some facetime with a penis.

I do believe that Savage is an incredibly important figure for us gays (I take a lot of his advice very seriously, I do), but I was also sent into a classic lesbian-invisibility mini-rage by his "all 5 lesbians I know" comment, because while I totally agree what we lesbians need to be about 7 levels less hysterical and insecure about bisexual women who shack up with men after years of ID-ing as gay, there are lots and lots of lesbians (I am one, my gf is one, my lesbian friend is one, another lesbian friend is one, my still-closeted 60 yr old Irish Catholic aunt is one), whose experiences do in fact seem pretty similar to those of gay men, in that we have always only been capable of falling in love with and wanting to bone people of our own sex. So I applaud this Irish gayelle for calling him out on his cringe-inducing phrasing, as well as Savage's willingness to engage with her. I hope he knows how much influence he has with my generation of gay people.

88
POD, if you're looking for a simple-but-imperfect solution as a backup, you could talk to your pastor about it, then tell your parents that he turned you straight. Just to get them off your back and keep them paying for school and all until you're on your own two feet. That way, you control who you talk to, instead of your parents forcing you to go to a camp or something. Then you can come out to them again later, when you have your own space and they can't force you to do anything.
89
...how does that work exactly? Do they wave a bunch of cocks in a 17 year old girl's face until she decides one of them is worth swallowing?

Religious parents of straight high school girls always seem to want to stop their daughters from hopping on some cock. Why do religious parents of lesbians want their daughters to get dick stuffed?
90
Dan mostly rocks, but his gay militancy unfortunately blinds him to the truth about "straight" male sexuality and about "bisexuality", leading to making wild comments along the lines of "female sexuality is more flexible than male". I say that's bull. What he perhaps (being generous) means by that is that female homophobia is less widespread than male, and therefore non-gay females are less inhibited in getting off with other females than non-gay males are in getting off with other males. But this is a result of homophobia, not some "natural law". FWIW, my two cents: http://aruhea.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/b…
91
POD--
What a strong, spirited woman you are! Damn, girl, I think you're gonna be fine.

I'm a 48 yr. old bi woman and, I gotta tell ya, I've been quite fluid over the few decades I've been dealing with being me.HOWEVER--never, ever, ever, ever has a sexual connection or relationship with a man invalidated my sexual connections and love relationships with women.

I can say with confidence that I am EVERY BIT as GAY as I am straight. Not everyone gets that, and I've taken a whole lotta sh*t from the glbt community, from my family and from lovers, both lesbian and straight male.

Trust yourself. It may not always be easy, but It Gets Better and it will be so worth it.
92
@11 & @16, Yeah that's pretty much what I normally think of when I see an attractive gay couple--effing hot!!!
93
the stranger has been a great cure for being bummed out as of late.
94
Someone made the comment that because there is no threat of HIV, it is easier for parents to accept a lesbian child. Parents take it as a given that when they have a daughter, that child is going to fufill certain needs and expectations that they have always carried. From comforting them when their first boyfriend breaks their heart, seeing her all dressed up on her wedding day, grandchildren,etc.. Or course all of things can happen anyway and they can rejoice in that fact but I could imagine that it would be hard for some to change just one thing, It will be with another woman. Yes they should get over it. But give them time to mourn a specific, little dream they had for so long.
95
YOU ROCK, POD!!

And Dan, you are a very special man. You're caring, commitment, and fire are truly inspiring.
96
Ken Mehlman - I know you mean well with that comment, but it's worth considering how reinforcing that logic can be harmful. A lot of statistics indicate that the rate of STI's in the lesbian community is growing faster than in many other communities because of the logic that "women have little risk, and women who have sex with women therefore have miniscule risk". While there are many factors that contribute to that particular perception (which is a whole other conversation), what has resulted from that common idea is a lot less education and urgency around safe sex practices within the lesbian community. HIV and other STI's are transmitted as a result of UNPROTECTED SEX - and the who is having sex with whom is a secondary detail to that fact.

Also, if a child's sexual safety is a parent's true motivator - then being an adult and having a conversation with you child about safe sexual practice is the answer, no matter who the child is attracted to. The most enlightened parents know that, and also know how harmful any negative behavior around their child's sexual expression can be.
97
If the world would simply understand that we are all different, and our differences make us better, the world would be a much better place. As an atheist I understand what it is like to be different also, and to have people condemn me to hell or worse. I told my parents and they said I had to tell our priest (he wasn't too bad) and our mother superior (she condemned my soul to hell) before they would let me stop going to church and catholicism. Maybe it is because I was different that I try and understand what it is like to be different in other ways. It is not fun to be different, but if you accept it and stand up for yourself it does make you stronger and much less likely to be able to be controlled by others. And once you get over that hurdle and understand that as long as you love yourself others will find you, love you, accept you for who you are and as you say so well... It Does Get Better.
98
What a great exchange. I passed her email along to a Dublin based GLBT youth group. Hopefully they can get in contact with her and offer her on the ground support.
99
@11 -- I think women not being into gay guys is not so true anymore. Ever heard of slash fiction? Lots and lots and lots of fandom communities online pairing up fictional characters (predominantly male/male) with each other, and predominantly women writers. And I'm one of their fans. It's gotten to the point where gay porn is all that will get me off when I wank. Love love love the gay sex!
100
POD - Hang it there. I was in Catholic high school when I was your age, and all I can say is that I wish I was more in touch with my dyke-self then because, I mean come on, Catholic school girls!

I am always very impressed with teenagers that have the guts to totally stand up to the bullshi#, but what sucks about being underage is that there is a whole system on the bullshi#'s side. I personally did more what Dan suggests, go through the motions and save my energy I would spend on fighting to use on positioning myself for when I had a different roof over my head and no nuns around.

From my experience, I couldn't agree more with the idea that you are the grown-up in your situation and they are the toddlers - but like with toddlers, if you let them just keep running around they'll tire themselves out instead of spending your energy trying to stop them.

Some of my best friends are dykes in Dublin, and they are happy - but they have spent a lot of time being able to say "fuck this shite". I guess because of the deep Catholicism, there is a lot of talk that their being dykes is "doing something" to their family - and that's some twisted shit. No one talks about parents being guilt-trippy homophobic arseholes as "doing something" to their family, but it can really wear on people. From your exchange with Dan it is obvious you are a smart, self-aware, and kind person - and you're going kick ass in the world.

In terms of being "changeable" - as a total sure-as-the-sky-is-blue lesbian, if anything, the longer you are out and the more experience you get, you will discover even more the depths of your desire for women. Women are amazing, and loving them is amazing and you are going to have an awesome time!
101
@ 11 Not going to lie, I see two hot dudes and think YES! Call me! ; )
102
Watch this great documentary, Fish Out of Water, that dismantles the myths about what the Bible says about gays, in an entertaining yet serious way:

http://www.fishoutofwaterfilm.com/