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Dear Lezzies Advice Column 1
For Lesbians On The Loose (LOTL)
Online Magazine in Australia:

Question from "Tired of the Closet"

Dear Lezzies,

I am seeing a girl I really like, but she is not out to her family. She comes from a high profile family in the Chinese community and says she is under too much pressure to come out and will bring shame on her family. I believe we would both be better off if she came out, and I am sick of hiding when I am with her. Should I stay in this relationship, and how do I deal with this problem?


Tired of the Closet

Dear Lezzies Answer:

Dear Tired of the Closet,

It is always difficult to understand when you are out and the woman you are dating isn't. You may wonder "Why doesn’t she love me enough to change, and be honest about who she is and our relationship?" or "Why can't she understand how freeing it is to be out of the closet?" This situation can eventually bring on a feeling of resentment, especially if you have to go back into the closet yourself and play the pretend game of being "Just friends." By the same token, she feels like you don’t understand where she is coming from, what her needs are in this matter, and why can’t you just love and accept her as she is.

Your statement, "I believe we would both be better off if she came out, and I am sick of hiding when I am with her" makes it clear that this is what you think, want, and feel; that if your girlfriend was out, it would be so much easier for you to deal with.

From what you said, the truth of the matter is that, your girlfriend has been very honest about what she can and cannot do. She has made it clear that if she comes out, she would "bring shame on her family." We are wondering if she has also shared the fact that she could possibly loose her family as well?

Although many articles you read say that there is a growing acceptance of homosexuality in Asian cultures, the truth is that homosexuality is still largely unaccepted. Coming out can mean loosing one's family. In Asian cultures, family is very important. If your girlfriend is living in another country as a recent immigrant, meaning she has moved during her lifetime, or even if she is first or second generation, it will be more difficult to break
away from her families culture of origin. While some assimilation into the dominant culture occurs, the culture that has the most connection is her "home" culture, for lack of a better term. There is a sense of having part of oneself in the dominant culture, and part in the culture of family origin, but feeling not truly connected to either.

What you feel would be best for both of you, may truly be what would be best for you, but your girlfriend has been clear that she doesn't feel that this is the best for her. How you feel about having to hide being who you are as a lesbian is probably similar to how she feels about you pressuring her to come out.

In the end, no one can tell you if you should breakup with her or not. The choice is yours to make. If you choose to stay in a relationship with her, then it must be with the understanding that she can't be exactly who you want her to be. Ironically, she was whom you wanted when you met and began to date. When she couldn't conform in the way you wanted her to, then you attempted to pressure her to become someone she isn't.

If you stay together, it must be with the total acceptance of how she feels and the way she has chosen to live her life at this time. You must respect her decision that she will stay in the closet, and go along with whatever she needs to do to remain this way. This could be anything from not seeing each other at holidays, to not being able to live with her. This also means that in many circumstances, you will need to be closeted, something that may be very hard for you to do.

Even though we are sure that you care for each other, you might have to come to the realization that it may be best to separate, because she is unable to compromise, as you would like her to do, and you can't compromise, as she would like you to do. It is no one's fault when this type of situation happens; just a difference of who you both are, and the places you are in your own lives. That doesn't make either of you wrong. It just means that you each have to make different choices for yourselves.

NOTE: The advice in this column is the opinion of the writers and is not intended as a
substitute for medical or psychological treatment from a health care professional.

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