I Spent New Years Day Coming Out to Extended Family

Happy New Year! On January 1st, I drove to the mall with my mom, grandma, and aunt. The four of us spent the whole day shopping the after-holiday sales. For my grandma and aunt, it was supposed to be a fun way to spend the first day of the new year together. For me and my mom, well, we had a different agenda. Between Christmas and New Years, my parents and I sat down and decided it was time to begin the process of coming out to the rest of my family. Between all of the things I post on social media and the seriousness of my current relationship, I feel out of respect for my family, it is time to come out to everyone. I want them to hear it first from me even though that is becoming more and more challenging as I’ve told more people over the years.

The plan was to tell my grandma and aunt over lunch. The four of us ended up eating at a burger place called ShakeShack. I found the environment too open and loud to have such a “serious” conversation. I got anxious and it didn’t happen. I was so mad at myself.

Later that day, while shopping for my Ruby Spice Cider tea at Teavana, I received a phone call from my mom. She told me that after trying to send a text to me and my dad that essentially said, “Things are being said and this isn’t going to go over well,” but she clicked the wrong button and sent the message to the aunt we were with! Oh my goodness. What a mess this was quickly becoming.

With my heart now racing, I bought my tea and left the store to find my mom. I met up with my grandma who was taking a break from shopping, sitting down in a chair at the center of the mall. She didn’t seem to know what was going on yet. If she did, she wasn’t saying anything about it. When I saw my aunt, she was already talking to my mom. I figured my mom was addressing the situation with her. I mean, the text was sent. She must know now. I wished I could have been more involved in the coming out discussion but mistakes happen and this was now out of my control.

As we left the mall to go to our car, my mom turned to me and quickly mumbled, “Oh my god, oh my god, she’s looking at her phone right now.” Wait, what!? You mean you didn’t already talk to her about the message yet!? Ahhhhh! My head began to flood with thoughts about how awkward our drive home was going to be.

Once we got onto the road, my mom basically just said, “Look, I think we all need to talk.” From there, I put my fear aside and took control of the conversation to tell them the truth once and for all. Both my grandma and my aunt were stunned. I was fortunate to receive a mostly positive reaction from both of them. My grandma cried but explained to me that it was because she felt truly terrible that I’ve had to hide this part of my identity from them for so long. My aunt told me that being gay isn’t a big deal and that they ultimately she just wants me to be happy. I was happy with how they responded. What more could I ask for?

The two of them met up with me one-on-one over the next few days to ask more questions. I can tell they’re both still in the early stages of accepting it but they’re truly making an effort to understand. They expressed some confusion about certain things pertaining to LGBT issues and asked the same questions I’ve pretty much come to expect after coming out. I explained as much as I could and tried to wipe away as many LGBT misconceptions as possible. In the end, they both told me they love me no matter what.

I can only hope the rest of my family will be just as understanding.

9 Comments

  1. How absolutly fantastic. I’m so pleased for you, I remember having to do all of this so vividly. Some you will win, some you will lose but the winners will be so strong for you so that you don’t even notice the lost; what do they know anyway, not you as a beautiful and now more happy human being. Keep the faith and keep that smile going, it will turn every heart. Congratulations. Dx

  2. Mike Hayes

    Congrats on such a positive reaction from your aunt and grandma, i’m proud of you for being so open and embracing who you are!!! As a gay boy myself, I know how it is always having people to come out to; the process never really ends especially when new people come into your life. The more you do it the easier it gets right. I’m curious though, has anyone had a negative reaction? If so, how did you handle it?

    1. Absolutely. It definitely gets easier over time. I think we also become better at judging which people intuitively “know” and which people we need to explicitly tell. As for negative reactions from people, I honestly think the worst one I got was probably from my parents when I first told them (though even that reaction wasn’t all that bad). I guess it was the most important one for me so I was also the most sensitive to it. With the point I’m at now, I don’t think a negative reaction would impact me as much as it once would have. I have the support of my family and friends and that’s what matters to me the most.

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