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I am a 22-year-old lesbian and I've been dating the same woman for the past two years. I came out to my parents about 18 months ago, and that wasn't good. However, they're trying. But more and more I feel like my mom only tried temporarily, that she thought "I'd get over it." I spent a few years dating males when I was younger, and I think that has led her to believe that I'm not really gay. I used to be so close to my mom, but lately I don't even feel part of my family. She would be very hurt if I accused her of this, but it is the emotion she conveys to me. I am writing this not really for advice on how to approach my mom, but because I just need to tell someone. As all LGBTQ people know, there are few feelings worse than feeling like you're no longer part of your family just because you happened to fall in love with someone of the same sex.

PFLAG's Answer
Dear Friend, Firstly, we want to congratulate you on coming out to your family. It's not an easy step, but your coming out was the right thing to do: for you, and for the LGBT community and their families all around the world. The more people realize it's not such a big deal, the more inclusive society will be towards LGBT people. It takes time though. You can hear and read about the changes that took place just in the last 50yrs. Our society is still experiencing major changes and it's going to take a little bit more time before being LGBT is a non-issue. Your situation with your Mom is more common than you think. Parents often need time to recognize that their child is LGBT. The expectations they had for their child have to shift a little. It's not a bad thing- but it's a time thing. It's normal for parents go through phases of denial and shock and guilt. It takes time for them to understand and be OK with their child being LGBT. Even in a family where bonds were always strong and parents & kids very close, the stages of denial and shock can still exist. Parents only want what's best for their kids. They are concerned. Most of those feelings come from mis-understanding and society being ill-informed on the LGBT community. Unfortunately many stereotypes still prevail. That's why PFLAG is working to spread the facts about sexual orientation so that parents realize that their child is the same person she/he was before coming out. PFLAG also works to keep those family bonds as strong and rewarding as they should be. Have you shared your feelings with your Mom? Have you tried to see where she's coming from? What are her exact concerns? Can you provide her with information either from a website like ours or from books or from other parents in similar situations? Have you shared how happy you are with your girlfriend? PFLAG's priority is to help families stay strong. There's no reason for someone with a different sexual orientation to be left out. We strongly encourage communication and getting the facts. Relationships are too precious to lose. Talk now, be understanding of your parent's point-of-view, provide information, and show your parents how much you want to be part of the family. Remember to be patient. And don't give up! Family is so important. Good luck and Stay Close, - a Stay Close volunteer

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