Be Sympathetic to Parents' Confusion as You Explore Your Sexual/Gender Identity
Since I was about 7 years old, I've felt like I wasn't a girl. When I tried talking to my dad about it, he told me not to listen to how I feel. At first, I thought I wanted to be a boy, but 3 years ago I discovered the term non-binary and only came out about a month ago. I only told my mom and best friend, and while my best friend has been super supportive, my mom seems a bit uncomfortable. I told her she could continue to call me "she" and her "daughter" to make her more comfortable, but it doesn't feel right. I want her to call me "they," but I don't want her to feel weird. Me and her have always loved drag queens, and she has always told me if I ever turned out to be gay she would be supportive, so it confuses me a bit to know she's uncomfortable with me being non-binary. Do you have any idea why she might feel this way and what I could do to make her feel better?
Hijinkx the Cataroo (13)
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First of all, your father's advice to not listen to how you feel is absolutely THE WORST advice he could possibly give you. So, do not listen to him on this point. As for your mother, at least she is trying to be sympathetic to you. I think she is uncomfortable about the non-binary term because she doesn't really understand what that is. She can comprehend homosexuality, but, let's face it, lately, there has been a lot of research and terms being flung around by the scientific and LGBTQI+ community that can be very confusing to most people. This page https://www.healthline.com/health/different-types-of-sexuality lists 46 terms that describe sexuality, gender, and orientation, for example, and there are actually even more than that.
What's going on here is that science, in recognizing that human sexuality and gender are very complex, is attempting to define all the various possibilities. Many people find this helpful because there is a sense of relief when one feels that one's personal feelings have been validated scientifically. But for those who are just plain-old heterosexual, white bread, and socially "normal," it can muddle the issue more than it clarifies it. I mean, throw around terms like cisgender, skoliosexual, demisexual, etc., and you are gonna get a blank stare. So many definitions can give one a headache and make one just want to tune it all out.
But just as this terminology can take some time and study to comprehend, so is your own sexuality coming into definition. At 13, you are still undergoing many changes, and you are still figuring things out. You are making a lot of progress and you definitely have resolved the fact that you don't feel like a girl even though that is what you are genetically. But now you are working toward what exactly that means and what variations of that apply to you, as well as how are you going to deal with it. This is an extremely personal voyage that only you can travel, although it helps when you have support from family and friends, people who can hold your hand.
What I am saying is this: Do not rush too quickly into defining yourself. You are only 13, and you are going to be developing physically, mentally, and emotionally for years to come still. And, just as you should not push yourself to the finish line too quickly (the finish line will just move farther ahead anyway), you should not push your parents too hard, either. Do not insist on them using the "they" pronoun yet. To them, you are their daughter, and that is a lot of responsibility in and of itself. Let them call you by whatever they are comfortable with. It is not an important issue right now. What is important is that you continue to explore your own feelings (and ignore parents who say ignore your feelings). This is not to say don't talk to your parents! TALK to them. But don't insist on anything. Just be honest about how you feel and don't put a label on it. Labels can be limiting anyway. If your mother can deal with this best by just thinking of you as being gay, then let her for now, even if she is not being accurate. If your father can't grasp your complex identity just yet, then let him just think of you as his daughter.
While this is all very much about you, it is also about your parents and their feelings. Try to be as sympathetic to what they are going through as you would like them to be about what you are going through. Do you understand? This is a process that will take many years. Do not expect instant results or instant sympathy and understanding. Take your time and be patient with them. And count yourself lucky that at least your parents are there for you, even though they are struggling to understand you.
And remember: we are more than just our sexuality and gender. We are complex beings of mind, spirit, and body. Your sexuality and gender are just one aspect of a complex human being--do not neglect the other aspects of yourself while you evolve as a person, and do not keep your parents from appreciating those other aspects as they strive to raise their child. Let them into your life without being insistent on what is just one part of you. Don't hide it, but don't bludgeon them with it, if you get my drift.
Let me know if you have any further questions.
Big Bear Hugs,
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