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Question
Posted by: Jen | 2011/04/01

My sister is gay and refused to tell my parents

Hi Doc

My sister, who is 8 years younger than me recently admitted to me that she was gay. I have always had my suspisions and living in a small town, things dont stay secret for too long. I asked her and she told me the truth. Now, I am happy for her and I want her to be happy and live a great life. I am very supportive. Problem is she doesn''t want to tell my parents. She still lives with them and basically lives a lie. She is constantly lying about everything. I dont understand how she could live like that and even sleep at night. Mum already has her suspisions too. It kills me inside knowing that I know. I will not tell my parents. It''s her place to do that. But I hate living this secret with her. All her friends know. She has had plenty of girlfriends before and is now seeing someone again. But she lies about her whereabouts.
Do I just leave it?

Thanks for your brilliant advice and open mind.
Jen

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Whether or not to tell is her decision and privilege. Its likely that she hesitates to tell them, because she does not expect them to be understanding and supportive in the way you have been. Apart from the issue of her sexual orientation, I'm not sure what it is she is having to lie about. Presumably about her girlfriends ? Chat with her about her concerns, about how she expects your parents and perhaps others in the family, others to respond. Help her to consider the advantages and disadvantages of her talking directly with the parents about this, and the risk of disclosure arising accidentally, unplanned, and probably being more difficult to handle.
You don't mention her actual age and situation. Usually its harder being gay in a small gossippy town, and many find if they move to the big city, for college or work, they have more freedom to live the lifestyle they prefer. Gay or straight, its harder to be discrete when living with your parents.

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Our users say:
Posted by: shesh | 2011/04/05

why is it so important to you that your parents know the truth. what is it going to change? it is totally her prerocative if she wants to tell anyone, why is it such a big deal to you?

Reply to shesh
Posted by: Romany | 2011/04/04

She does noyt have to tell the parents ... why should she? What will that change?

Reply to Romany
Posted by: Truth | 2011/04/01

She does not want to tell her parents. As CS says it is her call.

Reply to Truth
Posted by: Death | 2011/04/01

Tell your parents.

See what happens.

I double dare you!

Reply to Death
Posted by: April | 2011/04/01

Do you parents have open minds about gays/lesbians? Maybe your sister is afraid they''ll judge and condemn her for being gay.

Reply to April
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/04/01

Whether or not to tell is her decision and privilege. Its likely that she hesitates to tell them, because she does not expect them to be understanding and supportive in the way you have been. Apart from the issue of her sexual orientation, I'm not sure what it is she is having to lie about. Presumably about her girlfriends ? Chat with her about her concerns, about how she expects your parents and perhaps others in the family, others to respond. Help her to consider the advantages and disadvantages of her talking directly with the parents about this, and the risk of disclosure arising accidentally, unplanned, and probably being more difficult to handle.
You don't mention her actual age and situation. Usually its harder being gay in a small gossippy town, and many find if they move to the big city, for college or work, they have more freedom to live the lifestyle they prefer. Gay or straight, its harder to be discrete when living with your parents.

Reply to cybershrink

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