Hi, Mum. Hi, Dad.
This is a hard letter to write, if only for the fact that I’m scared of what your reaction will be. I’m scared that you won’t love me any more.
You see, I’m a lesbian.
I need you to accept this, to accept me. I’ve not changed as a person. If anything, you’ll see more of my personality. I want to be able to talk about girls that I like. I don’t want my dad asking me whether I think the boy walking near us is cute, when I’m more interested in the very pretty girl walking in the opposite direction.
I’ve not changed. I need you to understand that. I’m still me. I’m still the girl obsessed with Disney and rabbits and singing. I’m still the girl that Dad used to toss in the air, the one whose long hair Mum used to brush the tangles out of, with pain for all involved. (Seriously, tugs hurt, and my screaming must have made everyone else’s ears bleed.) I’m a bit more grown-up now, but I still need you to love me. Everyone needs their parents to love them, whether they’re four or forty.
You’ve not failed as parents. I strongly believe that sexuality is down to nature, not nurture. I do, however, think that if a child is taught that homosexuality is wrong, and that child is naturally gay, then the kid is going to have issues. Conversely, if the child is taught that everyone is different and it’s okay to be who you are, then that child may not have such a difficult path to walk.
But know this. I didn’t choose to be gay. Who would choose such a difficult life for themselves? Who would choose to be hated, beaten up, murdered, simply because of who they love? I wouldn’t have chosen that, if I’d been given the choice.
But I am gay. I am a lesbian and for the first time in my life I am starting to accept it. I have known since I was ten years old that I like girls in the way that I’m supposed to like boys. I didn’t let myself think about it for years, and I think that’s part of the reason that I got unwell in the first place. To try and hide such a huge part of yourself - that’s no way to live.
You aren’t the first people that I’ve told. The first person I ever willingly admitted to that I might not be straight was the counsellor at school. I only did that because she told me something personal, something that made me trust her with the knowledge of my sexuality. At that point I was still trying to convince myself that I liked boys as well as girls. I knew I couldn’t deny that I was attracted to girls, even to myself, but I thought that if I only ever went out with boys then nobody would know. If I was bisexual, I could “pass” as straight. Of course, that’s not how it works. People are how they are, and they can’t change it. I know that now.
I’m not going to have the life you imagined for me. I’m not going to get married to a man and have 2.4 kids of my own and the nice house and the family car. At least, not in the conventional way. I want to marry a woman, I don’t want biological children, and I’m certainly not becoming a house-wife. You know that I’ve always wanted to please you, be obedient, be a “good girl”, but if I do that for my whole life then I will never be happy. I have to live for myself.
I’m the same as everybody else, really. I want to fall in love. I want to be successful. I want to be happy. And I can’t be happy with a man. You need to understand that.
This isn’t because of the attack. I knew I wasn’t straight long before that. I’m not a lesbian because I’m afraid of men. I know that most men are gentle and decent and safe. I’m not a lesbian because some men think that I’m unattractive. That doesn’t matter to me. I’m not interested in them, so why should it? I’m a lesbian because that’s the way I was born. And I’m starting to not be scared of who I am anymore. I’m starting to feel comfortable with who I am.
But I am scared of some things. I am scared that I won’t ever find someone to be my girlfriend. I’m scared that I won’t be able to marry the person I love because my sexuality makes some people uncomfortable. I believe that marriage is a human right, not a heterosexual privilege. I’m scared that people who don’t even know me will judge me because I am holding hands with a girl. But most of all, I am scared that you won’t accept me. I am scared that you will believe that I’m going through a phase and that I will end up married to a man. I’m sorry, but that’s not going to happen. I will find a woman that I love and who loves me, and we will get married. And I really, really hope that you won’t care, that you will treat my wife the same way you will treat Elliot’s wife. But I guess that time will tell, won’t it?
No, not time. You will tell. You are the ones on whom your reaction rests. By giving you this letter, by being honest with you about who I am for the first time, I have done my part. What happens now is up to you. Please make the right decision.
I’m probably never going to give you this letter. But I’ll keep it, and maybe one day I’ll pull it out and let you have a read.
Please don’t stop loving me. I love you.