Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Coming Out' started by Clarity, May 10, 2017.
Sorry. Too soon, and I can't find a way to delete a thread.
I know you deleted this because you're totally overwhelmed and afraid and not ready, but I'm going to respond anyway. I'm going to say the thing no one said to me when I came out, but that I wish wish wish I had known:
The cultural story we tell about queerness is one of hardship and sorrow, but: being queer is good, and joyful, and worth it. There are the obvious things, sure - relationships with people you're attracted to, honesty to yourself, inventive and enjoyable sex. But there's a thing that no one ever named for me, which is twofold:
(1) Stepping outside of heterosexual sexism and patriarchy, into a world where you can examine and overthrow those core conceptions of how relationships work and how people relate to each other, is powerful. It is life-changing. Negotiating relationships on a different level is freeing, and it is something I have brought into my relationships with friends, family, and my community - to examine the script, and sometimes make decisions to leave it behind.
(2) Knowing people, your community of fellow oddballs and exceptions and homos and freaks, is without doubt the best thing about my life. I love my community of friends and strangers, and I love our shared culture and significant glances and little moments of recognition and support.
I don't even want to be straight, and not for some nonsense "I wouldn't be me" reason; but because I honestly think the deal I got is better. I would not give up my perspective, and the liberation and strength and radical kindness it has created in me, for anything. I see straight people living unquestioned lives, struggling with the toxic stew that is performative straightness, and I am so glad I was given something else.
You are scared. It is hard, to say, I'm going to be honest and critical and hopeful and here, and to face the ugliness that we know is out there for people who don't follow the love laws. And it sounds like you got handed a serious plateful, with a lot of that ugliness coming from those close to you. But the rewards are vast and life-altering. My queerness - and the way it disrupts the expectations and beliefs I was handed - is a blessing far more than it it is a curse.
It's okay to be scared, and there is plenty out there about all the hard parts of this life. But here on the other side of fear there is really, really good stuff waiting. I just thought you should know that, too.
Thank you so much for this. It's really so kind. And I have started to face my fear.
I am not someone who likes to put framed words on a wall, but I just might do it with these words.
I vaguely remember your opost, it was very well written. Honestly, I didn't respond because my post would have seemed so rough and unpolished next to your elegant prose.
But - from my heart? It gets better. Coming out was one of the best things I ever did. It is crippling to carry big secrets around and it is so liberating to let them go.
People are much more accepting and much less ignorant these days. When I first came out in the early 90s - it was a big deal. I would tell my friends, answer their questions, etc... An out gay person was like a unicorn. Now, it's pretty common and I don't even bother making announcements. I just talk about my wife like a straight person would talk about their husband- in passing, no big announcement. 'Yes, this week my wife and I kayaked the x river.'
Unless you live in a very repressive country, or are afraid of immediate risk to yourself (parents cutting you off financially, people beating you up) then I say come out. If it would pose an immediate risk, then I encourage you to work on getting into a better situation. Become financially independent, move to a more liberal area, etc...
Oh. And it's never too soon to lurk or pm people.
Thank you for your heartfelt note, Bluenote (which wasn't at all rough). And thank you for your compliment about my post. Sometimes, when I need to be honest but I'm scared, I turn to prose. It's nice to know it's well received.
And I'm happy to say that I've begun the process of coming out. I told my mother, who took it very well. And this weekend, I'll be telling my grandmother and father -- the two most difficult. I figure that if I can look them in the eyes and tell the truth, then I can tell anyone. And I'm so ready for the truth.
Thank you all for your kindness. It's really, really good to know this forum is here.
Hugs. That's basically what I got -- and my own coming out way back when was pretty traumatic....
But you're not alone and there are resources and good people here to help you.
So I came out to my family this weekend. It was . . . interesting.
My mom's first response was that she loves me and I'm her daughter and nothing can ever change that. And then it sunk in. And her second response was that she loves me and I'm her daughter, but I should probably be careful how many people I tell that I'm gay. I don't have to tell everyone. Really. It's okay to keep it a secret.
My dad's first response was that he loves me and I'm his daughter and nothing can ever change that. And then it sunk in. And his second response was that he loves me and I'm his daughter, but I don't need to tell everyone that I'm gay. Also, he's going to try to connect with me by comparing my coming out to going to Alcoholics Anonymous. And by the way, he did some research when he got home and found that there's a pill to cure gayness. Oh, but that last part is a joke, apparently.
My grandma's first response was that she was so glad I was finally admitting the truth. She's known I'm gay for years. She loves me and I'm her granddaughter. I will always be her granddaughter. Now let's talk about something else and pretend my coming out never happened.
My brother's response was the most supportive. We talked for half an hour about what this step means for me. He said he was very excited for me because he thinks this is a very positive step for me to take -- admitting that I'm gay. He's stuck to his first response ever since. But then he texted and said he wouldn't tell his girlfriend because first he wants to make sure I'm comfortable being gay.
So. That's that. The whole "coming out to my family" ordeal was pretty tumultuous. I'm scrambling to stay grounded, in my own skin. It's difficult. That was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.
I feel you! When I came out, my family's unconditional love came with a side of "but don't tell your grandfather" (still haven't, not worth it) and "I'm sad your life will be harder" (which is the kind of honesty well-meaning parents can really keep to themselves!).
1. You don't owe anyone honesty or transparency, especially if it feels unsafe. You are not lying if you don't come out to people, you are just prioritizing your emotional and physical wholeness over their knowledge of you. You do not have to come out to everyone, or all at once, and not a single person who has lived in our homophobic society will begrudge you your privacy and your safety.
2. But you also don't owe anyone lies, so don't let your parents build you a closet or let their stress about what people with thing (p.s., about THEM) limit your honesty and openness.
And then this other thing: do not do the emotional work for your parents. They are probably going to want you to process this with them, but there are excellent resources and support groups (start with PFLAG) for the parents of gay kids where they can talk about how they feel stressed or embarrassed or confused or whatever. There are even queer-competent mental health professionals who can process with them! But that is not your work to do, and it will not help you or them if you have to manage their feelings (because you have enough of your own to manage).
Your whole job is honesty and care for yourself.
Well, I got the crap beaten out of me and most of my ribs broken. It's all a bit fuzzy.
So I would say you did alright. Your family will likely come around, just give them time. It sounds like your brother is trying to be considerate and not 'out you,' or 'push you into telling.' It sounds like his heart is in the right place, even if the execution was clumsy.
Just do your thing and they will get used to it.
When I came out to my very Christian parents I realised that like me they had to go through a process of acceptance and often denial. I had years of knowing and they had only just found out so it took them awhile to get to the "yeah this is really happening bit" mostly they asked a lot of questions over the next few months to try and comprehend it all. So expect a bit of that but Honestly you've gotten off to a good start with your family, allow them to digest this new bit of news whilst staying true to who you are. I came out to my folks almost 4 years ago now and it's still a process but throughout it all. The number one thing we've kept true to is the love and support part. And honestly for it's been the most important part hang in there you've taken a big step. Be super proud of yourself