Dear Mom and Dad,
Maybe you’ll think that it’s strange for me to have written you a letter so soon after seeing you over my Thanksgiving Break. You would be right – it is strange. But it’s also necessary for me to write it instead of trying to say what I’m about to say out loud to you. Please know that I’m not trying to hurt you.
I’m queer: I like women and men and transpeople and people who don’t identify as anything at all. I don’t know how aware you have been of the fact that I’m not straight, but I wanted to tell you myself. I’m actually really scared of your reactions to this news, because I love you and I don’t want you to stop loving me. You’ve said some things in the past about gay people that have made me think that you hate us, that we’re dirty or criminals or subnormal. It hurts me when you say stuff like that, or agree with others who do.
In case you’re wondering, I’ve known for a long time. It was hard in middle and high school, because I felt as though I couldn’t talk to anyone about it without being hated or derided, and I didn’t even have the words to explain it anyway. I even hated myself for awhile. It took until I came to college to realize that I wasn’t alone, and that there were people in the world who wouldn’t judge me based on who I love. I am finally my whole self, and I am so much happier now than I ever was before. My one fear is that the real Jennifer will disappoint you, and that you will be angry or hurt.
I hope that you will take some time to consider what I’ve told you, and I want you to know that I’m no different from the person I was before. I just got tired of hiding the whole of that person from you. If you want to talk about it, we can. If you don’t, that’s okay too.
In closing, I want to say again that I love you. I hope you still love me and are proud of me.
So, my flight landed right on time, and Mandy (my girlfriend) picked me up from the airport. I knew I wanted her to be with me when the call came, so that I could have someone with whom I could either celebrate or cry. We hung out for several hours while I kept glancing fearfully at my cellphone. At around 3:30 in the afternoon, my phone rang; it was my parents. I answered it tentatively. Both of my parents were there, probably standing in the kitchen with the speakerphone on. My dad did most of the talking, but the gist of what they both said was that they love me, they’re so proud of me, they’re glad I told them, and they want to be part of my life. I was so happy that I couldn’t do much but smile and say “Thank you,” and Mandy (who was sitting nearby) was crying with joy for me. My parents and I talked for a little while longer about things (I didn’t tell them about Mandy that day, although I did so last week and they said they want to meet her, so yay!), such as who else in the family I could tell (my dad’s older brother). The whole call felt surreal in a wonderful way – I never expected such a response from my parents. There was no yelling or crying or sadness, and I’m so, so happy about it.
Coming out to parents isn’t an option for everyone. I had a back-up plan just in case things went horribly wrong, but that isn’t always a possibility. Furthermore, I was emotionally ready to tell them, which is something that nobody can decide for you. I wish all of you who are still waiting to tell your families the best of luck when (if) you finally decide to come out to them. Please feel free to talk to me about this if you like – firstname.lastname@example.org.