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! 🙂
Congratulations! Good job! Now get moving on with your life. Given what you’ve shared, your folks need to digest this confirmation and then they will also. Best wishes! Much love and naked hugs! 🙂
Thanks! I’m looking forward to that 🙂
The fact they would ask questions such as, “are you sure” means you need to go to a good book store and find a good book that explains exactly how people figure out their sexuality without the actual sex act. Your parents concerns show their ignorance of the subject and a little enlightenment would help everyone.
Funny you mention that! I’ve actually considered going out and buying them a book. Maybe I’ll still do that!
I hope you feel free now that your family knows. I can’t imagine having that conversation, but then it also makes me wish it wasn’t a necessary one. And maybe some day it won’t be. Hopefully. I never had to sit my parents down and tell them I am straight. It’s not a choice. We’re attracted to who we’re attracted to. It’s that simple. I hope your parents will be accepting and more comfortable going forward.. It sounds as though your sister is very supportive, so maybe she can help them in that regard. As ^^aguywithoutboxers^^ said above, now get on with your life!
Thanks! I definitely feel better now. Yeah, it’s an awkward conversation and one that I’d never wish on anyone. I’ll try to take your advice and go forward without looking back! 🙂
I’m so happy that you got this off your chest. I’m sure your parents only want to see you happy. Give them a little time to digest it. You’ve had eighteen years to deal with it, they’ve only had a few hours.
Maybe give them your rainbow egg. That would be enough to make anyone smile :0)
Thanks Kevin! That’s the very mentality I tried to adopt throughout the whole discussion. They won’t see me again for 3 or 4 weeks since I’m back at college so they have some time to reflect. 🙂
When I told my mother she said that I’d die alone of AIDS with nobody around me. So that was a nice uplifting experience. Oddly, I am the only one of their 4 children who is in a committed relationship and has been for over 10 years.
I’m happy that you had the conversation 🙂 And, yes, time and space. 🙂
Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry… but at the same time, good for you! Proving that gay men can live happy lives with meaningful relationships. 🙂
It was a long time ago (about 14 years or so), and I’m okay with it now. It could’ve been a lot worse. She was operating out of fear and a lack of understanding – and she’d been very aware of the AIDS crisis of the 80s and 90s and was very … Middle England – so I let her think what she thought and got on with my life the best way I could.
I know that she had problems with it. She used to talk to my sister-in-law about it – who then had enough and pointed out that she had a son who was loving, respectful and intelligent and with whom she otherwise had an excellent relationship with. What more could a mother want as long as their child is happy? Which somehow did the trick, I think!
So to quote – it does get better. 🙂
Maybe you could try compromising with your parents. They want you to try dating a woman, so perhaps you could offer to try a threesome with a male-female couple.
(Sorry… I’m no expert on these issues. You get what you get.)
Hahahaha your comments…
(By the way, I told you I’d get back to you– the blog never came up at all when I talked to my parents)
Oh good. Doesn’t mean they didn’t hear about it but it’s a lot easier for you if it’s not a topic… regardless of reason.
Now go do your homework, young man.
So glad that went as well as possible for you!! Imagining myself in that situation, I would’ve been very nervous and shaky. I probably would have changed the subject completely. Hunny props to you! From what you’ve shared, it seems like your parents will come around very soon though. Seems like you’ve got a great family. <3
Aw, thank you! I was pretty nervous and shaky right in the beginning but once I realized that this is it. This was the moment I’ve waited so long for and this was my chance to finally speak- it made it much easier to share my story! 🙂
Congratulations on coming out to your parents. As someone who has been in that very same position back then, it is extremely nervewracking for sure. It takes a lot of courage, determination and willpower to say the truth and I hope that you get to reap the benefits of being free and open in life.
There will still be a lot of challenges in getting them to understand (my parents still don’t understand after 9 years) but as long as they love and accept you as their child, I’d guess that’s all that matters.
Thank you, Anh! Yeah, that’s what I’m worried about. My parents really haven’t been exposed to anything besides heteronormative culture within our immediate family so my goal is to gradually introduce them to more about what it actually means to be gay – and not the stereotypical gay image but rather the fact that it’s merely a preference and doesn’t really change much else about who I am. If they begin to see it as less of a big deal, they might be able to one day accept it as a fact of life. We’ll see! 🙂 Thanks for sharing
Do NOT get a girlfriend. As the former girlfriend of a mostly gay man, I can tell you that it would be a very cruel thing to do to anyone. Love can appear completely outside of one’s gender preference because we love PEOPLE, so be very careful and responsible and DON’T obey your parents. I loved this man and he loved me; except for the insurmountable and non-negotiable problem. we were a GREAT couple. Sooner or later one of us had to walk away. Neither of us wanted to and it took a long time and a lot of pain for that separation to finally happen. As for the CHOICE question, my boyfriend said to me one night, “Who would CHOOSE this? Who would CHOOSE to be outside of every aspect of common human life? NO one.” That was 1977 or 1978; there was a lot of darkness ahead for him and he ended up dead from meningitis which is a way of saying HIV that doesn’t damage his reputation, I guess. Remember, also, your parents only have to live their own lives. They’re not responsible for yours.
Martha, thank you for stopping by this post and sharing your insightful comment! Don’t worry – I have no intentions of following my parents advice on this one particular subject. So sorry to hear about the man you once loved. I found the part about covering what happened with “meningitis” so interesting – really emphasizes the stigma surrounding HIV!
Even though his family was generally accepting of their son’s sexuality, they were certainly aware that many others would not be. He was a professor and had a somewhat public profile, as well. In 1988 revealing that he had died of HIV related meningitis would seriously have freaked out many people and might have led to the school being sued. I think it’s natural that people are afraid of a disease like that and in those early days no one understood it very well and there was no medicine “cocktail” to alleviate the suffering and relieve symptoms. Stigma, yes, but it was something to be afraid of. Still, it should be a case of hating the disease and loving the person. But you know all this from your research paper! 😉
When you started following me, I read the suggested post “How Can my Parents not Know..” and was led here. It seems to me that your parents are simply confused/ignorant of the facts of sexual preference. Bringing up “choice” and “lifestyle” smacks of right wing “Christian” propaganda. It sounds as though they truly love you, though, and given time, they will realize that you are still you, and come around.
Hey David! I can’t even tell you how excited I was when I got the notification today that you commented on my blog and followed me. Just a few hours earlier, I was scrolling through your blog and noticed that your archive goes back to 2000. It’s so cool to see that you’ve kept your site going for over 14 years now.
I hope my blog can be a long-term project like that too. So far my blog is only 2 years old. I noticed we both use the same theme template except you inspired me to start publishing more posts with photos. I really like your site and thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on my situation with my parents! 🙂
I have to be honest and tell you that most of those 14 years I migrated over from my LiveJournal. I seem to be scattered across several social media platforms right now. I don’t recommend it! The thing is, there are different people on each one. Anyway, I look forward to watching your blog develop.
Aah I see. Regardless of what platform you use, you’ve still been producing content for a long enough time to show that you’re dedicated. 🙂 I’ve technically been blogging since 2008 on Blogger but all of those posts are private. My public blog went live only 2 years ago.
I enjoyed reading this. From the parent’s point of view, you sometimes have an inkling, but want your kid to be the one to tell you. You’d like to have your kids come to terms with who and what they are on their own, not feel judged one way or another. If my kids ever share with me they are gay, not straight, I hope they would know, based on my conversations with them and how I’ve taught them, that I would be so happy for them no matter what. There are challenges in every relationship, risks and cautionary tales. I’m going to worry about them no matter what too.
Hi Veronicoons! Thank you for following and exploring my posts. I think it’s wonderful that you’ve made an effort to make such a message clear to your children and hopefully they’ve been perceptive to it. A parents love and acceptance means a whole lot to their children.
Sounds incredibly frustrating. I hope things have gotten better for you. Luckily my parents had known for quite a while and just came out and asked me one day. They have been very excepting but I think my mother still worries about me sometimes. Probably because I am her baby. She had me when she was 17 so it kinda make me her baby forever.
Haha so we both had our parents confront us! I think my parents still worry about me at times too. They just want to make sure nothing ever happens to us.
I’m glad you did this early in life. I’m in my 40’s and my clueless parents still think I just haven’t found the right woman. Seeing men in secret is difficult and I’m about done hiding anything. But it’s a different era than today and my folks are homophobes borth in the 1940’s.
Hi CB! Thanks for sharing. I hope you find the courage to tell your loved ones. While my parents have known for awhile, I’m currently preparing to tell the remainder of my family. It’s not easy!