Bianca Knows Best ... And Helps a Closet Case 

Dear Bianca,

I'm a college freshman who has recently come to terms with the fact that I'm gay. I've kind of known all my life, but I've been scared to admit it to myself (or anyone else for that matter).

Now that I'm out of my parents' house, I'm discovering the real me. I've made some gay friends and have even had a love interest or two since school started. I guess you could say I've come out at school.

But I have no idea how to tell my parents. They’re super-conservative and totally Christian.

-- Halfway In the Closet

Dear Halfway,

Good for you for finally coming to terms with your own sexuality. Lying to yourself is psychologically damaging and unhealthy.

Most coming-out experts suggest that teens wait until they've moved out of their parents' home if there's any doubt of acceptance. That's because so many gay teens are made homeless when their homophobic parents give them the boot.

But even though you're living on your own, if you still rely on your parents' pocketbook, you're probably best off staying halfway in that closet for bit longer. In a perfect world, this wouldn't be an issue. But there are still many people who wouldn't think twice about pulling their child's college funding when they find out their son or daughter is gay.

On the other hand, if you're on a full scholarship or paying for college on your own, I say go for it. Call your parents and arrange a get-together -- maybe to a favorite family restaurant. Engage in whatever activity you have planned before you break the news, that way you're starting off on a happy note. If they've just had a great time with you, they'll be less likely to fly off the handle.

Don't be surprised if their initial reaction isn't what you'd hoped for. Sometimes it takes people a day or two to soak it all in. Go home and wait for them to call you, unless of course, a week goes by with no calls. Then maybe you should pick up the phone.

It might help to come out to a more open-minded relative before you talk to mom and dad. That way, you've got a family ally to turn to if things get ugly. Good luck!

Got a problem? E-mail Bianca at bphillips@memphisflyer.com.

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