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Mon, Sep. 8th, 2008, 01:06 am

My name is Shiru/Rhys, I'm 19 in a couple months, and I'm pangender and pansexual.
Recently I've been going through a lot of changes in my life. Last year I finished up my first year of college and the second semester... didn't go so well.

I grew up in an LCMS Lutheran home. My Dad is a pastor, my Mom is a teacher, both of my sisters are teachers... and I made the mistake of going to an LCMS university. I've decided to take some time off from school because of everything that is going on in my life. I've become ELCA Lutheran (big difference from LCMS- for one, they accept LGBTQ people- and not the 'hate the sin, love the sinner' type stuff.), I discovered that I was pansexual and pangender that second semester, I was having serious doubts about my major, and becoming severely claustrophobic. I was having issues with money and other things as well. This all translated into academic problems, oversleeping, depression, and I came very close to suiciding. Over the course of the summer I managed to figure out that I needed some time away from school to get my head on straight. And so I set about making plans and trying to convince my Dad to stop trying to talk me into changing my mind.
I eventually decided that one semester wouldn't kill me (hah!) and it would give me more time.
I finally managed to convince my Dad to accept that I would only be coming back for one semester three weeks ago.... but the first day back at school- I freaked out and realized that I couldn't do it. (a week ago) Tonight I finally managed to tell my parents and especially my mother that I'm unenrolling from school. My mother thinks I'm quitting and that I'm ruining my life and she cried/sobbed through most of our conversation. My dad was just quiet.
I'm sad, but I know I'm making the right choice.

My only problem is- I need to come out to my parents about my pan-ness and I want to do it sooner rather than later- so I can finally be free of having to lie to them and to be something I'm not in front of them. But if my parents responded so strongly to just taking a couple years off and ruining my life.... how am I ever going to tell them that I'm screwing up any chance of Heaven and that I'm basically going to Hell (in their view.) It's not as if they'd be mean... they'd be distraught. They'd cry. They'd want to know what they did wrong. My Dad would quote Bible verses at me and try to convince me I'm not pan. That- well... in that vein. (And okay- I'm still terrified that they'll be prejudiced religious assholes and my sister will revoke my godmother status over her son.)

I guess I'm looking for advice and hugs.
Anyone who's gone through the same sort of thing?


Tue, Sep. 9th, 2008 09:29 pm (UTC)

I haven't experienced anything like this myself, but I certainly feel for you and your situation, which sounds very challenging.

In most cases, I recommend people try to find a local chapter of P-FLAG, which can be very helpful and affirming. I only caution that based on my own experiences with P-FLAG, they can often be very mainstream in their own views, including that so far as I know, they don't expressly embrace pan paradigms, but instead adhere to 'traditional' LGBT concepts, as well as the popular 'born that way' case (which I don't fully embrace myself). So I'd say contact them, take what's useful to you, and leave the rest behind.

You seem faced in large part with a logistical difficulty: finding your own path by your own limited resources. I can't offer useful advice here, and I've very sorry about that. But I feel sure that P-FLAG or others can offer at least some useful guidance here.

I do feel that you should try very hard to get an education, and the sooner the better. You're never too late to go to school, but it can be more difficult later on for many people. If your scholastic record is well above average, you may be eligible for partial grants, loans, or scholarships. (The last messed up part is explicable and excusable given your circumstances, but clearing that up will require one or more rather penetrating consultations.)

My first suggestion, then, is to get a foothold through an independent counselor you trust and feel comfortable with. You don't discuss your own religious convictions (nor should you ever feel obliged to discuss such personal matters except as you choose to); Reconciling in Christ is a network of Lutheran churches "committed to the inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities," founded in 1984 by Lutherans Concerned of North America. You can find more information here. Again, however, it sounds to me like most LCNA groups follow more traditional lines that may not readily embrace pan identities.

Good luck.

Mon, Sep. 15th, 2008 03:55 am (UTC)

I cant say that ive been through the same sort of situation, my parents not being particularly religious in any way that they've expressed to me. But I can appreciate the difficulty of the situation.

Just before I went to university I was mentally preparing myself for the possibility of needing to make an emergency get away from my parents house, back when I was determined to come out to them. I didnt actally end up coming out to them really, and have since lost interest in what they think and in coming out to them, but it was still terrifying at the time.

I suppose rather than coming out to them, Ive relied on being out to my close friends to keep me sane. Also the fact that I havent gotten along with my parents in years means that ive since distanced myself from having much of any kind of relationship with my parents.

Ive gone an odd route though I suppose.
Just wanted to send out some hugs and another voice to let you know youre not alone in things, even if ive not got much in the way of advice.