"Hey, so I came out to my parents as both genderqueer and pansexual last week (I’m 14). Today my mum went clothes shopping with me and didn’t make MANY comments when I went to the male section of the shops. Until, on the way home, I asked if she could buy me a binder, and she started crying. I’m AWFUL at talking to my parents, and I cant get out any of the words important to this conversation (sexuality, gender, binder, queer, etc.) What can I do? Please help me."
- Question submitted by PridefullyQueer
I always suggest writing your feelings down when you can’t communicated them properly. Your mom / parents are going to feel pretty sensitive because this is all HELLA new to them. I mean, you’ve been feeling it, thinking about it, discovering what it means, etc for weeks/months/years and you JUST told them recently. We all need time to process things when it comes to gender / sexuality because we just aren’t used to thinking about these things.
Part a. Your parents are clearly trying, if your mom went shopping with you, that is HUGE. There are so many parents that would either (1) give you $50 and send you on your way, (2) tell you not to buy “boy clothes,” (3) buy you clothes without asking what you wanted, making you feel 1000x worse.
Part b. Your parents want to understand and communicate, but right now this is all new and they are confused and they don’t know what to say. WHICH IS FINE because you don’t know what to say. You have all these feelings you want to talk to them about, but no clue how to say the right thing OR how to respond when your mom bursts into tears on the freeway.
Write a letter. Say the things you want to say, tell them you understand it’ll take time until they totally get it, tell them you want to have these conversations but you don’t always know which words to use, appreciate them for being supportive, let them know you’re willing to talk, give them mad props for being amazing, accepting, loving and wonderful parents.
They don’t totally get it right now, but they’re working towards an understanding and they will get there.
I agree one million percent.
First of all, you feeling really torn up about the fact that your mom burst into tears when you were just trying to communicate something about yourself makes complete sense. We all wish that those around us – and especially our parents – would simply understand us immediately, and be happy that we are working toward a place of understanding ourselves. But, like Dannielle, said, this is a different process for every person, parents included.
I think the absolute best thing you could do is to write that letter. Explain that you are still learning about yourself, that it is hard for you to talk about it sometimes, and that you understand that it might be hard for your mom as well.
Make this about how much you love each other and how much you want to share your journey with your mom because of how much you love her. The more she is able to focus on how incredible it is that she has a child who feels comfortable enough to try to speak about things, the more she will begin to be thankful, open, and patient with her own and your process.
Almost every parent forms a certain idea in their head of what their kid’s future will look like, and almost every parent has to adjust that picture to the actual reality of their child’s life. Your mom is going through some feelings, likely related to those pictures she had in her head, but you can work with her to help her form a new picture of the real you.
It won’t happen right away. There will be some slip-ups, and some moments that both of you wish you could take back. That’s okay. You will learn to better express yourself over time, and she will learn to better understand you.