Coming out to my parents was nothing like what I expected. To start off, I did not have the slightest clue whether my mom and dad would be angry with me or accepting of my identity. When I finally had the chance to come out to my parents, I found that telling them about my orientation left me with more questions than before I ever opened my mouth… From what I have seen, most people come out to their parents very soon after realizing they are gay. I chose to wait things out for a number of reasons. A part of me was always waiting for the “right time” to tell them. I thought it might be easier once they started to catch on. But there hasn’t been a “right time” and I am starting to think such a thing might not exist.
The “so when are you getting a girlfriend?” questions must have finally gotten old because my parents were starting to discuss the possibility of me being gay at home more often according to what my sister would tell me. She went on to explain that if I was ever going to come out to our parents, this weekend was THE last chance. She said if I didn’t tell them soon, they were going to ask me. Ahhhhhhh!
(As you can imagine, knowing this in advance didn’t, like, make me anxious or anything as I traveled home for Easter…)
It was around midnight when my parents and I were sitting around our kitchen table catching up. There were a few moments of silence when I could have blurted out what I wanted to say but I didn’t. I couldn’t. I was too afraid. My heart. Was beating. Out of. My chest.
Around 1AM on Easter, my mom finally couldn’t wait take it any longer. She asked, “Rock, is there something you need to tell us?”
Gulp! I stumbled a bit on my words. I really couldn’t say anything. I knew exactly where this conversation was going and my head was already spinning. I wanted to RUN. I somehow managed to mumble, “Yeah. There is…”
After a small moment of silence, my mom finally bit the bullet and asked, “Look. We need to know. Are you gay?”
Of course, I then confirmed it and said “yes.” My sexual orientation “announcement” was met with no reaction on their end. (Very unsettling in the moment as it was happening…) They were quiet and seemed confused. I adjusted in my seat and tried to relax my whole body. I recovered from my nervousness rather quickly and began to tell them my whole life story one event at a time. I told them everything from how I was asked to prom by another guy to how I joined a gay fraternity this semester.
I’m sure it was a lot for them to mentally process but they were hanging in there.
Certain things were said that I found a little frustrating for me to hear. They posed typical concerns like the whole HIV and AIDS issue and I happily informed them that I’m familiar with the issue and currently in the process of writing a 15 page research paper at Rutgers University on HIV, AIDS, and gay men for my class That’s So Gay.
As invasive and private as it may be, all boundaries were now broken. And maybe for the best. The hardest thing for them to understand by far was why on Earth I’d ever want to go to bed at night with another man when I could have a beautiful woman instead. I tried showing them the situation from my perspective but I don’t think they ever got it. And maybe they never will?
They told me they want me to date a girl so I can know for sure. Sorry but that’s not going to happen. :/ I’m not confused or questioning. I know what I want. I know what I like. End of story…
They kept saying “it’s not a good choice” and “why would you want to live that lifestyle?” so I had to explain how I firmly believe being gay is not a choice. For me, it definitely wasn’t. And what “lifestyle” am I choosing, exactly?
I like guys. Why isn’t it that simple…?
Above all else, they were concerned about my safety. They said they don’t want to see me get bullied and that once I tell people, “it’s going to spread like wildfire.” Once again, I disagreed. I’m very fortunate to live in an accepting generation located in a rather accepting region. (It’s not legal to get married here but I suspect it will be soon.) I don’t see my sexuality as something that makes me weak. In fact, I’ve learned to embrace it.
My parents, however, seemed to adopt more of a “it-is-what-it-is” attitude. I hope this doesn’t stay a touchy subject for the rest of my life… If I ever do find a partner, I’d like to think my family will come around and welcome him.
By the time we finished talking, it was 3AM and we were exhausted. I basically got to say Happy Easter and call it a night. What a day!
I feel much better now that my family knows my full story. There’s nothing left to hide and whatever guilt I once felt is now gone for the most part. To anyone who celebrates, I hope you had a happy Easter and a happy Sunday to all the rest! I know I did! 🙂