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How do I make them understand my sexuality?

Hey. I'm gay and I've come out and everything. My mum is fine with it, my friends are so cool about it, my mum's bf is fine with it, my dad's gf is cool with it, her daughter is cool with it. So why is it just my sister and my dad who are not? I have tried to explain that I am happy with who I am, with the way I want to live, but my dad keeps telling me that I am too young to understand the feelings I am having and that he hopes it is just a phase. I know that I am gay. As much as I love my gf's, the thought of being with a woman makes me sick. I love being gay, my best friend is gay too so we support each other. But I just want to know what I can say to make them feel better about it. My sis comes out with all these shitty insults like "gay", "san fran sisco" and all that crap. It's so immature and I think my dad is very embarrassed about it. I want to tell the rest of family but he won't let me.

The Young Lovers' Guide replies:

Thank you for your message. It sounds as if you are very much on the road to a happy, secure and successful adulthood. It also sounds as if you're lucky to have friends who are supportive and happy with who you are - and a gay best friend is a definite plus!

It's unfortunate, isn't it, that some people are slower than others to accept sexualities. It can be very frustrating. They don't know how it feels. They don't know that to you your sexuality feels like the most natural thing in the world - which, of course, it is.

It may be that your father and sister have stereotyped views of what it is to be gay. Well, you can sort that out in time by just carrying on being you. It may be that your sister is herself nervous and insecure about growing up and becoming sexually active herself. You don't mention ages, but do describe the behaviour as immature. Well, you might have put your finger on it there. A good bet is to respond to behaviour like that by continuing to be mature yourself. People often behave in ways that try to make us feel the way they do, even or especially when they don't realise they're doing this and would refuse the idea that this is what they are doing. The way her insults make you feel could be giving you a big clue about ways she feels about her own sexual self. It could be a really good idea just to keep your head, keep setting a good example and rise above it.

With both your father and sister, one thing you really must do is to maintain loving relationships. With your father, your sexuality might be looming large in his mind at the moment, but he'll get over that, we can hope. If he can see you getting on and being successful and happy in the whole of your life, we can hope that his views about one important aspect of who you are, your sexuality, will come round. Does that mean 'don't mention it' or 'tone it down'? Well, maybe - it's not an ideal situation, is it? - but not necessarily. The fact you are able to discuss these things with the people around you is really promising. You have every reason to hope that with a little time these people close to you will accept that it isn't just a phase, that they will learn - and it will take a change on their part - to value you for the person you really are.

Having said all that, people do negotiate the process of coming out in different ways, each in his own way. And from what you've said, while it won't be easy at times, it sounds as if you're really well equipped to find your way.

Good luck!

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