Goodness, this is fraught
I’m 22 years old and came out to my parents as a lesbian at 15. They are devoutly Catholic and conservative and have struggled deeply with it. For years, they let me know that they prayed every day for God to fix me and forbade me from telling anyone else in the family. Seven years and many fights later, they have definitely progressed. They say they have accepted that this is something that will likely not change and say they are no longer praying to fix it. They have let me tell my relatives and even told some of them on their own. They also ask me questions about my relationships, and my father even had dinner with me and my girlfriend when he visited me in school. They say that just because they believe men and women are fundamentally different and made to complete each other in marriage doesn’t mean they are homophobic—they just have religious views about what true marriage is, and I will never have that. We’ve spent hours going back and forth, and it has all been really painful for me. I also don’t know what I can expect from them. It’s been so many years and while they have improved, I know I’m not going to fundamentally change their beliefs about my sexuality. My girlfriend’s family is very accepting, and my girlfriend thinks I’m too easy on my parents.
My girlfriend will be in my hometown this Christmas break visiting extended family of her own. She’s met my 18-year-old brother, who loved her. I’d like her to meet my younger brother, who is 11, but my parents told me they are not OK with him knowing about my sexuality yet and want to tell him on their own terms when he’s older. I know he’s their child so if they want to teach him that, I guess they have the right. They say they’re OK with him meeting Hannah, but only if I introduce her as a friend. He’s met my 18-year-old brother’s girlfriend and was introduced to her as such. Is he at an age where I’m allowed to be mad about this and demand the right to tell him? He’s not a baby anymore, and I’m worried that the more years he’s indoctrinated into these homophobic beliefs, the less likely it is I’ll be able to shake him out of it when he’s older.
—Relationship With Homophobic Parents