Woe Is Me! “My Parents Won’t Let Me Leave the House Ever Since I Came Out as Bisexual. Now What?”
Woe Is Me! is a series in which The Swaddle team indulges your pity party with advice you’ll probably ignore.
I’m 19 years old. I came out to my mom as bisexual when I was only 17 — I didn’t want to but the circumstances were not in my favor. Since then, she hasn’t talked to me, she also outed me to my dad. My parents are very conservative and homophobic. My life hasn’t been the same since then. For starters, I wasn’t allowed to attend school after that, they told one of the officials who said, “don’t send her to school, we don’t want her to influence other kids.” For the record, I come from the number one school in India. I’m not allowed to go out or interact with anyone; I’m not allowed to wear “certain” kinds of clothing; I am not allowed to leave my hair open; I’m not allowed to watch English shows or movies. I am not allowed to do the things I love the most. They abuse me emotionally and mentally every day. I don’t know what to do and I’ve thought about running away but I’m not financially independent.
— Beyond the End Of the World
AS: I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. I can’t even imagine how suffocating it must feel. My only suggestion would be, get out. I’m not sure anything can change your parents’ perspective, and so I think it might be best to physically get yourself out of there, so you can start living life on your own terms. Of course, that’s easier said than done, especially during a time when we’re all confined to our homes. But perhaps you could start planning and trying to figure out the logistics. Maybe try getting admitted to a college out of station, or going for an internship? Or alternatively, if you find an opportunity that lets you leave your house even for a little while, be it volunteering or community service, that might be a good start. In the meanwhile, it might help to keep in touch with friends, or join a digital community to find people to understand what you’re going through.
SK: There is a lot of grief in our times, but to be denied one’s identity is perhaps the greatest. I’m sorry you’ve been going through this, and I respect your strength. I’m sure it must be jarring to live and breathe in a setup that actively dismisses you and your voice. And despite their persistent effort, I desperately hope it does nothing to subdue your will. There are some facts I urge you to think about: families are toxic and there is no point in compromising your sanity just in the name of relationships; schools are elitist and prejudiced in multiple ways, I hope your friends are better than that; and no behavior or personality trait is “wrong” or “immoral,” it’s just patriarchal and sexist insecurities that rear their ugly head.
More than anything, I hope you don’t give up on the things you love, and yourself. It may seem daunting right now to escape, to feel cornered by every side. But seek out people and experiences who accept you and your reality, find things to do, read and learn to keep your spirit vibrant, and find a college or work towards a future where you can be independent. It sucks to grow up so soon, I’m sorry you have to.
DR: First off, I’m so sorry you’re in this situation. It sucks in every way possible. But hey, coming out isn’t easy, and I’m so proud of you for braving it — irrespective of how it went, I’m glad you found the courage to do that. I’m bisexual, too, much older than you, and till date, my parents don’t have a clue. Coming back to you, yes, your parents’ response has been wildly horrible. But knowing how conservative Indian parents can be, I wouldn’t say I’m entirely surprised. However, have you considered using their conservative attitudes against them? I’m assuming they also have very little knowledge about the sexuality spectrum, and probably believe you’re just being “rebellious” and “spoilt,” or that it’s a “phase” and can be “cured.” I feel like a horrible person for asking you to get back in the closet, but do you think it might work if you start pretending like it truly was a “phase” that “passed”? Like, not overnight, but gradually. Maybe pretend to do some pooja-paath too, or whatever else could convince them you’re “back on the right track.” What really bothered me about the situation you’re in is that “not allowed to go out or interact with anyone” — and being stuck with your family that hates you for who you are can be very, very damaging to your mental health. So, to safeguard that, and probably prevent yourself from being traumatized further, I’d just suggest you mask your sexuality until you can gain your own independence and escape. Please try to choose a college, or a career far, far away from home because I’m really worried about this confinement you seem to have been put in. In short, my suggestion is: get independent, get out. All the best!
RN: This is a terrible, lonely situation to be in and I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. You don’t deserve this even one bit. I don’t know if there is any solution at hand other than finding a way to move out — if you haven’t started college yet, can you apply to one which is in a different city? Is there a close friend or relative’s place you can escape to for a little while as you figure out your next steps? This is clearly a situation that calls for external intervention, so if you’re unable to leave the house on your own, can you call for help? Crowdsourcing a fundraiser is another option to help temporarily see you through if you decide to leave, but this requires a lot of planning so that you aren’t left stranded once the funds dry up. If none of the above are options for you at this stage, is there a hobby you currently have or are interested in cultivating that you can pursue? It is by no means a solution to this problem even one bit; it’s just a way to find temporary relief in a super-claustrophobic situation. You don’t deserve this kind of hurt at all, and I’m really, really sorry that this has happened to you. You deserve a life of joy and freedom, and your parents depriving you of it as punishment for anything is abusive and wrong.
SS: I’m so sorry you’re going through this, dear fellow bi-child. I find that moving towards financial independence of sorts could help; via internship to earn some pocket money? If I find myself in your shoes, I’d mask, because I’d put my safety over open resistance — at least until the status quo changes. I hope you can confide in friends when it gets worse, find access to online therapy (lots provide free counseling to students), or lose yourself in fiction books as a band-aid. Remember, you’re already resilient. The very fact that you feel this grief is proof of resilience.
If anyone you know is in a similar situation and needs help, please refer to this list of queer-friendly health and legal services curated by Varta.