20 August 2009

How Did You Do That?

Don't know if I've mentioned it before, but a few months ago I made a 30 List with three of my friends: 30 Thing To Do Before I'm 30. One of the things on my list is to tell my immediate family the truth.

It's not something that has to be done right now. I have 3 1/2 years before I'm 30. But more and more lately, I'm noticing that I want to come out to them, specifically my parents. I think it's because I'm living at home again and I'm around them more. But also, I just want to be myself and stop being fake about certain things. That drives me crazy.

So I know that every situation is different...but I was wondering if any of you would care to share how you came out to your family. If you haven't yet, have you thought about it?



alex dumas said...

My family was easy. It was obvious to them, so all I had to do (once I had stopped being in denial myself) was confirm their suspicions.

Jenz said...

Well, coming out was a process. I was in love with a girl and was very happy. The main reason I came out was because I love my mom so much. I wanted to be honest with her. If something happened to me, if I died, I wanted her to know the REAL me and not some idea she had of me. I just sat her down and told her.

It was very hard after that for about 3 years. She would call me bawling in the middle of the night...asking what did she do -- why did I want to hurt her -- all the horrible things she thought I was doing because I was gay. I was 19.

All the questions I had to answer. It was painful. Very painful for us both...but in the end we are both better because of the honesty and tears we shared together. She accepts me and loves me...but that does not mean that she doesn't hold out hope that one day I will be straight. If that is what she has to do, fine.

You just finally get to a point in your life where all the lies get too much to deal with. And honesty is always the best policy.

There is no right or wrong way to come out. When the time is right...you'll do it your own way. You could write a letter if you wanted. Whatever you feel in your heart is the right thing for you and your parents.

But I highly advise to come out! The longer you wait, the more time that you waste being true to yourself and your family.

Anonymous said...

I am of the opinion that one can be true to herself even if one does not disclose to others that she is gay. I can keep certain aspects of myself private and still be true to who I am. Everyone does not need to know everything about me. I think it is neither wise nor healthy to disclose everything.

Having said that, I know it is both good and helpful to have people upon whom one can rely: for stength, for support, for advice, for love, for counsel, etc.

You asked how some of us, your readers, have told members of our family that we are gay. A few years ago, I told a beloved nephew that I am gay. I was in need to familial support. I knew he would love me no matter what. When I tld him, I simply said, "I know you are a smart man. And, I know you already know that I am gay. But, I want to tell you, from me, that I am."

People are smart. Whether they admit they know or not, people know already if we are gay, don't you think? When I told my sister, who told her daughters and their families, they all said, "Yeah- well, we have know for years. So, what? No big deal. She is who she has always been and we love her." Same with former mission companions- they have always known, and it has not mattered.

It has been kind of funny, actually- I struggled for years to finally accept I was gay, and now I find that people I am close to have known for years and years- why didn't they let me in on their knowledge?? :)

Good luck in your choices and decisions.

Were you able to get into school OK? How are classes?

Scott said...

While I'll agree with "live honest" in that being true to yourself doesn't require coming out to others, I'll also agree with Jenz that being completely honest with your family does involve letting them know who you truly are. I believe that "out" is a much healthier and happier place to be than "in".

But this wasn't about whether or not to come out, it was about how, right?

The first family member (other than my wife) who I came out to was my sister, and we (my wife and I) told her in person, and we regretted it because in the stress of the moment there were too many things that I forgot to say, or that I wished I had said differently (and that she misinterpreted).

We learned from that experience, and for the rest of my family I wrote a letter. This let me carefully word everything I wanted to say and make sure that I didn't leave anything out. It didn't totally eliminate misunderstanding, but it did reduce it considerably, I think.

In hindsight, I should have specifically followed up with each of them, I think, to see if they had any questions or wanted to talk about the email. Instead I waited for them to contact me, and in a couple of cases this led to some problems (specifically in the case of a sister who didn't talk to me for five months--I think a conversation immediately following the email would have forced her to deal with the situation sooner and would have resolved the tension much more quickly).

Not sure if any of that helps at all. Feel free to ask if you have any questions.

Jenz said...

Live Honest said ""I can keep certain aspects of myself private and still be true to who I am. Everyone does not need to know everything about me.""

This is a true statement. But another reason to come out is to change people's opinions of gay people. For now and for future generations. To end the hate.

Then everyone would know and love someone who is gay...and they would realize how normal it really is.