I am a gay male teenager from tunisia, a muslim country where they throw gay men in jail for being gay. I personally am not religious but that’s not that relevant in my story.
My parents are a little bit weird compared to other parents even in my country, they don’t do the islamic practices but they say their muslims, they both used to be doctors but now my dad is a little more into politics and he and my mom got some better paying but more complicated jobs. I love my mom, she had her own dreams as a child but decided to be a doctor to satisfy her father. She met my dad and she says she is happy with him but i sometimes doubt she knows what happy means.
My dad on the other hand is a mess to say the least. It is a sin in islam to drink but everyone in this country does and i myslef am not against it, but with my father it is different. He drinks and smokes a but pretends he’s an angel to everyone, having regular conversations with him feels like i am being manipulated in some way, after all it is his job at this point to manipulate people into admiring him, and he’s surprisingly good at it. He claims “to be in the middle”, he pretends to completely agree with extremists to appease them, he finds his way to always look good then he acts like some kind of idol in front of us, he thinks we want to be like him.
I honestly don’t care about him, i know he probably has his own problems but i don’t feel safe near him. Of course my parents are homophobic even if they’re not that religious, they’re a bit old-fashioned and you can characterize them with most stero types you’d give to a muslim family, butwhat makes me hate my dad is that he pretends he’s not then stabs me in the back whenever i try to open up to him. And the worst part is that i know how tiring he is for my mom’s mentality as well as i saw her crying multiple times, she even screams about leaving us and killing herself when she can’t hold her pain back anymore.
Now if this situation wasn’t bad enough, i am gay. I have a route of escape: “la baccalaureate de la France”, it’s not easy but passing this test would make it possible for me to study at france, even my mom insists that she’s willing to help me pay the money i need to study abroad if my first plan doesnt work. What i am afraid of is what cones after i settle far away from home. There’s no way i could live openly without my parents knowing about my sexuality, but knowing this could destroy my mom.
When i first knew i was gay i couldnt keep it a secret, i ran to my parents and told them which lead to them taking me to a psychiatrist (which they were ashamed of because of the country we live in). My dad couldnt look me in the eye for a while although he saw how much pain i was in, and my mom assured me she would fix this.
Unsurprisingly, the psychiatrist couldnt help, he said it’s probably something temporary and that i would forget it in a few years, it’s been only 2 years but i am confident that i wont magically stop liking other men.
I cried a lot in my room, i screamed, i was suicidal, and at some point my mom became tired of it, she thought i was also watching gay porn so she confronted me and told me that she was tired of the situation, she said i need to stop and that this was something unacceptable in the society we live in.
Thankfully after, i found some amazing people who were very accepting, i found it surprising that teenagers who were more religious than my parents were also more open minded. I truly believe that in some years when our generation takes over, things might change. But back to my current problem.
I know this has been filled with unnecessary information but i wanted to vent because i dont know what else to do, I love my mom, even after the pain she put me through and i know that she’s the way she is because of the society she was born into. She always tells me that i am her perfect son, her only source of happiness. She’s happy how smart and polite i am, but every time she praises me i feel immense pain because i feel like i am lying to her by pretending to not be gay anymore, after all i pretended it was just a phase.
If you were in my shoes, what would you do? I know if i read a story like this i would encourage the person going through it to be free, but i want someone to try to put themselves in my place. Is my own happiness worth my mothers? She already has been through so much in her life and i don’t want her to feel betrayed by her own son, i sometimes think she might even kill herself if i told her about how i feel about religion and about being gay.
Thank you if you read all the way, and i would love to see how other people feel about this situation