View Full Version : Coming out PK
My name is Julie. I'm a 25 year old Seventh day Adventist preacherís daughter. Growing up I was not even allowed to say "gay" because it was considered a curse word. I loved the Ellen DeGeneres show...until I was no longer allowed to watch "that homosexual". I always knew that I liked girls and was caught playing doctor or just cuddling in bed with my girlfriends. I think my parents knew too because I was not allowed to spend the night with friends. My dad's church the women wore dresses, no makeup, jewelry, and adult dating was chaperoned. This is a history of my conservative background.
I've been with my girlfriend for 3 years, minus the two times I left her to try and make myself straight. We are together and strong now and I'm in the process of coming out to my family. I told one older brother who couldn't be more supportive and a friend outed me to my oldest brother who is still letting me see his 4 kids which was my biggest concern. We still have not said the words, but I'm told he knows. My mother makes me think she knows, but I'm not sure if that's paranoia.
Anyway, I was thinking about coming out to my parents at Christmas since all my family members live in different states and I would like my brothers to be there. Is this a bad idea? I don't want to put a damper on the holiday. I was thinking I would wait until the end so there would be some fun family time before I'm disowned. But, I though perhaps I should do it sooner so they could have time to ask questions and deal with it. Does anyone have thoughts?? I was very reassured by I post I read on this site about coming out being a good idea and few people regretting it. I want to put together some articles and books to give to them...Any recommendations? My Dad has endless knowledge on the Bible and is mostly accepting of everyone. He did make a comment about changing his sermon topic for a friendís wedding when he found out her lesbian aunts would be there. He tries to be funny so I'm having a hard time gauging his reaction. He is one who is always cool until he's not...then you need to run very fast!! I guess I just need some advice on coming out and how to do it. I feel 5 years old again I have a BS in psychology and 5 years in the field. I've helped girls come out and I can't answer one question for myself. Any help would be wonderful!
10-25-2010, 10:02 PM
How would you feel about writing a letter to each family member? You could think about what you want to say in a low pressure environment. Your family members could process the information without feeling pressured to respond right away. It could give them a chance to come to terms with your sexual orientation.
To me, telling everyone at Christmas is like dropping a bomb on the holiday. It may sour them on the holiday for a long time. They may feel pressured to accept just to keep peace at Christmas. OTOH, they could all start quoting scripture at you at once to make you see how wrong you are.
Maybe you should discuss this with your older brother that is supportive. If he "has your back" then you wouldn't feel like you were walking into a tribunal alone. He would know your family better than anyone here. What does your girlfriend say about this? Does she want to be a part of Christmas with your family?
10-26-2010, 10:23 AM
holidays with family are more than enough stress! don't come out on christmas.
My dad is very much like yours, which is, he's cool, until he's not, and then it's bad.
it's great that he'd change his sermon because of the lesbian aunts, but why not start with a sermon that isn't offensive to lgbt people? and THAT is what has me worried about you coming out to your family. so why not write that letter that Brian suggested? if you'd rather do it in person, do it privately, not in a big family get together with an announcement.
one of the things I've found helpful is to let people know what you expect of them even as you're coming out to them. so, you say something like "I've always trusted you and I know how much you love me. I have something to tell you, which you may already suspect, and I know you will love me just the same as you always have. I'm gay. I've known this about myself a long time, and now I need to be honest with you about this. I'm still the same person, you just have more information about me now. it's not easy coming out; I hope I can count on you for support."
10-26-2010, 07:08 PM
I would advise against coming out Christmas. When I came out, I chose a time when things were calm at home and no major issues or events were going on. I also wrote a letter to my parents since they have always had a way of twisting my words or becoming argumentative when trying to talk to them. With a letter, what I wanted to say was on paper where it couldn't be changed or twisted by them. It also avoided a confrontation, leaving the door open for them to talk to me if they wanted.
Brian: I like the idea of writing a letter to get my thoughts together. I'm a little afraid that I may hear nothing from them...ever! My girlfriend suggested reading the letter to them. I think I may do that. My girlfriend does want to spend Christmas with me. I’ve already taken her on family vacation and to their house for my birthday. I feel like it's evident at this point (I don't bring anyone to my parents). That is why I was thinking about doing it over Christmas. I feel like it will be the elephant in the room. But I think all of you are right about it causing a lot more stress!!
Keltic63: I love the idea of letting them know what I expect! That's just great psychology and social awareness skills! I teach this precise skill where I work and yet it never crossed my mind! :) Thanks man!
Kevin: You are so right about twisting words! My mother is the queen of this! Great point!
Thank you guys so much! I feel much more prepared! Any ideas about wording or how to bring it up are still welcome! I'm scared to death!!
10-27-2010, 07:54 PM
RedJ: When I wrote a letter to each of my parents it was based on Mouse's letter from the book Tales of the City. That letter said a lot of the same things I wanted to say. A couple of weeks after I sent the letter I followed up with a phone call. My mom didn't want to talk about it at that time. My dad said he didn't have a problem with anyone's sexual orientation. I'll try to find Mouse's letter so you can see what it looks like.
Letter to Mama (pg. 159)
I'm sorry it's taken me so long to write. Every time I try to write you and Papa I realize I'm not saying the things that are in my heart. That would be O.K., if I loved you any less than I do, but you are still my parents and I am still your child.
I have friends who think I'm foolish to write this letter. I hope they're wrong. I hope their doubts are based on parents who loved and trust them less than mine do. I hope especially that you'll see this as an act of love on my part, a sign of my continuing need to share my life with you. I wouldn't have written, I guess, if you hadn't told me about your involvement in the Save Our Children campaign. That, more than anything, made it clear that my responsibility was to tell you the truth, that your own child is homosexual, and that I never needed saving from anything except the cruel and ignorant piety of people like Anita Bryant.
I'm sorry, Mama. Not for what I am, but for how you must feel at this moment. I know what that feeling is, for I felt it for most of my life. Revulsion, shame, disbelief -- rejection through fear of something I knew, even as a child, was as basic to my nature as the color of my eyes.
No, Mama, I wasn't "recruited." No seasoned homosexual ever served as my mentor. But you know what? I wish someone had. I wish someone older than me and wiser than the people in Orlando had taken me aside and said, "You're all right, kid. You can grow up to be a doctor or a teacher just like anyone else. You're not crazy or sick or evil. You can succeed and be happy and find peace with friends -- all kinds of friends -- who don't give a damn who you go to bed with. Most of all, though, you can love and be loved, without hating yourself for it."
But no one ever said that to me, Mama. I had to find it out on my own, with the help of the city that has become my home. I know this may be hard for you to believe, but San Francisco is full of men and women, both straight and gay, who don't consider sexuality in measuring the worth of another human being.
These aren't radicals or weirdos, Mama. They are shop clerks and bankers and little old ladies and people who nod and smile to you when you meet them on the bus. Their attitude is neither patronizing nor pitying. And their message is so simple: Yes, you are a person. Yes, I like you. Yes, it's all right for you to like me too.
I know what you must be thinking now. You're asking yourself: What did we do wrong? How did we let this happen? Which one of us made him that way?
I can't answer that, Mama. In the long run, I guess I really don't care. All I know is this: If you and Papa are responsible for the way I am, then I thank you with all my heart, for it's the light and the joy of my life.
I know I can't tell you what it is to be gay. But I can tell you what it's not.
It's not hiding behind words, Mama. Like family and decency and Christianity. It's not fearing your body, or the pleasures that God made for it. It's not judging your neighbor, except when he's crass or unkind.
Being gay has taught me tolerance, compassion and humility. It has shown me the limitless possibilities of living. It has given me people whose passion and kindness and sensitivity have provided a constant source of strength.
It has brought me into the family of man, Mama, and I like it here. I like it.
There's not much else I can say, except that I'm the same Michael you've always known. You just know me better now. I have never consciously done anything to hurt you. I never will.
Please don't feel you have to answer this right away. It's enough for me to know that I no longer have to lie to the people who taught me to value the truth.
Mary Ann sends her love.
Everything is fine at 28 Barbary Lane.
Your loving son,
More Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
© 1980 The Chronicle Publishing Company
Published by Perennial Library/Harper & Row
11-08-2010, 07:27 PM
I would also wait until a quieter time to come out to your parents. You might want to do that without other family members, maybe just your supportive brother(s). Also, regarding you giving them books, articles or the like. Don't take it too hard if they reject that. You can think about letting your news sink in a bit, or if you give them the items, be prepared to maybe refill the stock at a later date. I had family members who pretty much tossed everything I gave them. I didn't mind the free stuff and articles, but can't afford them to toss a $25 book.
Good luck and be strong. It will be very difficult, no matter what their reaction. But after, you'll be so relieved and thankful. Take care and let us know how it goes!
11-08-2010, 10:06 PM
The Holiday's have enough emotional baggage without the added stuff of coming out. That said, waiting until things are 'calm' could be like waiting for forever. Sometimes we do have to seize the moment. It's a dance that one can plan for, but often must improvise to suit the moment.
Writing letters is a good idea.
I gave my parents a list of books to read, but to this day don't know (and doubt) that they read anything on it. Parents can surprise us though. Your father is a pastor, right? He's probably going to swing into preacher mode at some point, and your 'dad' isn't going to be in the room. Can you reach that person? Good question. You parents are going to need time to deal with the news, even if they 'know' it on some level. Give them time by not inundating them with information. They will let you know if they are receptive of not.
One thing is for sure: you won't be the same person after you come out. That is, you will be free. A very good thing.
Hoping that it goes well.
Oh. Make sure you have a support system when you decide to take the step. You are going to need your friends. Big time. So get that in place, OK?
03-08-2013, 12:14 AM
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