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 sexual identity. With no idea what to expect, the easiest thing for me to do was nothing at all.
I put off coming out.
When I finally had the chance to come out to my parents, I found out that telling them about my orientation left me with more questions than answers. Why did I ever open 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.
One of the biggest ones was that 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 going to get a girlfriend?” questions must have finally gotten a bit old because my parents were starting to discuss the possibility of me being gay more often, according to what my sister would tell me while I was living away at college.
She went on to explain to me that if I was ever going to come out to our parents, this weekend was THE last chance. I would need to say something when I came home for Easter. She said if I didn’t tell them soon, they were going to ask me.
(As you can surely imagine, knowing this tiny bit of information prior to going home didn’t make me anxious or anything as I traveled home for Easter…)
My dad picked me up from college. He drove me home. The topic of dating came up but I couldn’t bring myself to say anything. I shut down the questions about having a girlfriend. I wanted to sink into my seat and cover my face. I wish everyone would leave me alone…
It was around midnight when my parents and I were sitting around our kitchen table catching up with me. There were a few moments of silence when I could have blurted out what I felt pressured to say but I didn’t. I couldn’t do it. I was too afraid.
My heart. Was beating. Out of. My chest.
Around 1AM on Easter Sunday, my mom finally couldn’t take it any longer. She was concerned and tired of waiting.
She asked, “Rock, is there something you need to tell us?”
I stumbled a bit on my words. I… I.. I really couldn’t say anything.
I knew exactly where this conversation was going and my head was already spinning.
I knew what I needed to say but I wanted to RUN! Yet, 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?”
With a deep breath, I confirmed it and said “yes.”
My sexual orientation “announcement” was met with no immediate reaction on their end.
(A very unsettling feeling in the moment as it was happening… Any parents out there reading this, don’t do that.)
They were quiet and seemed confused. Maybe shocked? Lost? Upset?
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 seemed to be hanging in there.
Things were said that I found a little frustrating to hear. They posed typical concerns for me like that I might get HIV and the danger of AIDS. I happily informed them that I’m familiar with the issue and currently in the process of writing a 15-page research paper on the subjects of HIV, AIDS, and gay men at Rutgers University for my class That’s So Gay.
As invasive and private as it was, all boundaries were taken broken. And maybe that was for the best.
The hardest thing for them to understand by far, it seemed, 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. Ha.
I tried to explain to them the “situation” from my perspective but I don’t think they fully understood it. And maybe they never will? They wanted me to try dating a girl so I could know for sure. Sorry but that’s not going to happen. :/ I’m not confused about this or even questioning it. I’m the gayest gay to ever be born gay.
Okay, maybe not. But what does that even mean? If it means liking men, maybe I am the gayest gay because I literally feel 100% attracted to men.
I know what I like and what I’m interested in. End of story…
They kept suggesting, “it’s not a good choice” and “why would you want to live that lifestyle?” so I had to repeatedly explain how I believe that being gay is not a conscious choice. For me, it definitely wasn’t. And what “lifestyle” am I choosing, exactly? The sound of that makes me feel like I’m more different than I actually feel. Which is not different. I feel completely normal, in that respect.
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 start telling people, “it’s going to spread like wildfire.” Yeah, okay.
Once again, I did not agree. I’m very fortunate to live among an accepting generation of peers in a rather accepting and liberal region. (Same-sex marriage is not yet legal 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 an “it-is-what-it-is” attitude. I hope this doesn’t remain 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.
I really hope for this.
By the time we finished talking, it was now 3 AM 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. I’ve wanted to be able to come out to them for a long time now. There’s nothing left to hide and whatever guilt I once felt around them is now gone for the most part. To anyone who celebrates Easter, I hope you had a happy one and a happy Sunday to all the rest!
I know I did! 🙂