Geneva – “After I came out, my family threatened to bury me alive”


A young Genevan recounts his difficult emancipation from his parents and his sisters. The association that helped him, Le Refuge, however often manages to renew the dialogue.


Pauline Rumpf / Arnaud Delacroix

Like many young people who discover their homosexuality, VALIANT She was very apprehensive when it came to revealing this part of her identity to her family. His testimony above is edifying: faced with the harshness of his family’s reactions, he ended up cutting off all contact.

Go beyond fear

Le Refuge Genève, one of the associations that supported it, specializes in supporting LGBT + young people, and in particular helps those who wish to reveal their orientation to their loved ones. According to Alexia Scappaticci, coordinator *, the situation experienced by Kreshnik is rare: “In 95% of cases, we manage to move forward with the family towards a common ground.” But this does not happen in a snap, especially in families with a very traditionalist model, or when a religion that outlaws homosexuality is very present.

“The fear of rejection is present even within a loving entourage, nuances the educator *, but we try to go beyond. When the young person agrees, we then begin with a meeting with his family, generally in the absence of the principal concerned. Thus, we can approach the topic more freely and the family can react to it without risking injury. ”

A process close to mourning

The first words are sometimes harsh, the first reactions closed, but they very often leave room for a more positive development, notes Alexia Scappaticci, who compares it to a process of mourning. “It often begins with a phase of denial, or looking for an ‘explanation’, followed by a period of sadness or anger. Acceptance is ultimately seen through taking action, welcoming the boyfriend over for a meal, or talking to loved ones about it. ”


However, this last stage is not always reached, as the story told by Kreshnik reminds us. “But it is generally beneficial to have opened the discussion: at least the young person knows where he is going,” she describes. And in some cases, he chooses to be the one who rejects rather than to feel abandoned. ”

Alexia Scappaticci adds that some people never take the step of coming out, and choose to show certain aspects of themselves only to a part of those around them. However, studies show that family acceptance, and even neutrality, significantly lowers the risk of suicide attempts or self-harm. “The support provided by Refuge Geneva is therefore a real mental health issue,” she concludes.

* non-gendered word used to indicate gender neutrality


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