This Thanksgiving I Want to Be Thankful For a Family Who Accepts Me

Coming out to my family has been one of the most bumpy roads I’ve ever travelled down. I never could have expected the outcomes I have encountered dating back to when it all began in 2013. People who I thought would never understand turned out to be MOST accepting. People who I thought wouldn’t even care, (strangely) do. The results have been mixed. Unpredictable.

Right now, I am in a pretty good place. I am fortunate enough to have the full support of both of my parents and the best possible relationship with my sister I could ever hope for. We may fight but we’re 100% there to support one another. My¬†one grandma has known I’m gay since the start of the new year and while she was upset at first, she has come to terms with it and enjoys talking to my boyfriend (in Spanish) over the summer – which made me happy to see.

As for the rest of my family, I am not content with where we stand right now.

A few of my family members are still not aware of Jorge and my identity in general because¬†I fear the reaction from telling them the truth. Plus, I almost don’t even know who knows anymore and who doesn’t. It got so confusing ever since my dad started telling people for me – something I did not wish for. I do fear my grandpa¬†might disapprove and should that happen, I wouldn’t even be able to defend my stance because of a language barrier that divides us. Not for nothing, there’s also the fact that he is old and I really don’t want to introduce any unneeded stress or confusion into his life. I do not want my aunts or uncles to suddenly change how¬†they see me because of stereotypes and assumptions of gay men. Maybe they wouldn’t. But what if? I hope I am wrong and that they know better.

What about everyone else? Well, for the most part, me being gay is pretty well known at this point with my family. I think¬†most* of my aunts, uncles, and cousins have already heard either from me or through the grapevine over the last few years. Even through social media. It would be hard to not know, if we’re being honest. But in person, with the exception of a select few people, I really never talked about my orientation or relationships with anyone in my family. I used to dread being asked the question, “So Rock, any girlfriends yet?” Again and again, I’d say, “Nope, not yet,” until the¬†question faded completely¬†and everyone stopped asking. Since then, I’ve come out and mostly everyone now knows the reasoning behind the answer I gave for years. Yet no one asks anymore. “Are you dating anyone?” (Or if they were a bit more daring, “So Rock, do you have a¬†boyfriend?”) That is what I want. I wish people would ask and just normalize it already. Maybe some are waiting for me to offer and bring it up first. I can respect that. Especially if they are doing it to respect my privacy. I get how it can¬†be uncomfortable. I just wish I was able to have more of an open dialogue with everyone.

In the past, I was mostly able to avoid discussing the¬†topic because it didn’t matter. But now, I¬†am in a meaningful¬†relationship and I want my family to know about it. Not knowing about my boyfriend shows is a major disconnect between me¬†and them¬†because he is a¬†huge part¬†of my life now. Huge. So I refuse to allow the whole topic to continue being treated as the big elephant in the room.¬†There should be no more secrets. Besides, most of my family is friends with me on Facebook and they see¬†the pictures and statuses I post with Jorge. They must all know by now. And they should! They deserve to.

With a trip to Spain right around the corner, the topic should be easy enough to bring up. I am going to challenge myself and attempt to¬†discuss my boyfriend with family members who I have never had the chance to discuss anything like this with before. In particular, I really want to tell my cousins who are all just a few years older than me. I really don’t think any of them will¬†have a problem with it and I bet they’ll be happy I finally told them.

Reactions can be somewhat unpredictable. I do not¬†know what will ultimately take place in my house¬†today but I am hoping all goes well so I can enjoy everyones’ company, eat delicious Thanksgiving foods, and celebrate¬†what should otherwise be a peaceful night to celebrate all that we are thankful for in life.

13 Comments

  1. Dear Rocky,
    First of all, I always love your honest posts. Honesty is rare because many don’t realize that it actually shows strength, not weakness.
    I have several gay friends and one of the things I always speak up for is tolerance and understanding instead of labelling one type of orientation inferior to another. You deserve to feel comfortable in your own skin but feeling that way regardless of what other people say will make them accept you fully because you will have given them no choice with your positive self-perception. However, I understand that family can be tricky and emotional to deal with but after this weekend, things just might get easier. Have faith ūüôā
    I am thinking that some of your family members might be waiting for you to bring it up because they feel it is more polite that way – I have seen this kind of behavior among mutual friends. Those you fear would not accept you might behave this way because they don’t accept themselves fully in various aspects of life. I blog about confidence and Law of Attraction and I continuously come across individuals who cannot accept and be happy for themselves so they are unable to be happy for their friends and family while only hurting themselves in the process. If you come across any negative situations, don’t take it personally – this is only a reflection of their limiting beliefs and not a reflection of you in any way. You did state that you understand other people’s limiting beliefs but it can never be said enough.
    You are a positive person and I want to keep reading about your happiness in life and everything you love about it! You have plenty to be grateful for.
    Happy Thanksgiving ūüôā

    1. Thanks for your comment, Nina! Yes, I think self-perception plays a major role with things like this. When I was more insecure, I couldn’t even consider bringing this topic up with my family. I delayed for years. I feared my own confusion would manifest in the people I spoke with. But over time, I have grown much more comfortable in my own skin and I think my self-confidence today will serve me well. Thanks again, your comment really insightful and I am very thankful for it! Have a fantastic Thanksgiving! ūüôā

  2. Mario

    All the best!

    I think I’ve been pretty lucky that everyone has been cool about it, both in Australia and in South America. Coming out face to face with some family was scary, but overseas the news just spread, so by the time I visited, everybody knew and was cool about it (as far as I know).

    I think my dad struggled with it a bit, though he really likes my partner which made it easier for him a bit. He struggled again when my sister came out a few years later.

    Mum knew about both of us, and she hinted that fact to me many times, but I just wasn’t ready. It took me a while for that to happen.

    1. If your parents like your partner, I think that makes a huge difference. I’m super grateful my parents both like Jorge. I think having a good boyfriend or girlfriend makes everything easier for them to process as opposed to their child dating someone they do not have a liking for. The first few years are an adjustment period for everyone but I think people grow more comfortable with time. At least, that’s what I’ve noticed with my own family.

      Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!

      1. Mario

        It does make a difference, and ten years later both our mums are good friends!

        Thanks, we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia but it actually coincided with a family dinner with my cousins. Lots of nice food and one of my cousins revealed that she was pregnant, so lots to be thankful for after all!

  3. Michael Hayes

    Thanks for making this post Rocky, and happy belated Thanksgiving. I am glad your immediate family is accepting, and if you tell your uncle, grandfather, or anyone else in your family that doesn’t know yet, I hope they are supportive as well. I can relate to your coming out experience; when I was in the closet, the thought of telling my family was super nervewracking. But now that i’m out to my mom and sister, they are both very supportive and I’m so thankful for that. However, i’ve never brought a significant other home to meet them and it feels like coming out all over again. When you brought Jorge home to meet your parents, what was it like? Any tips on introducing a boyfriend to your family for the first time? Any advice on preventing things from becoming awkward, preventing your family from embarrassing you, and how to make a good first impression when meeting his family for the first time?

    1. Hi Mike! You’re right – bringing home a significant other does feel like coming out all over again. And for me, it essentially was. I think my parents thought being gay was just a phase and that it went away right after I told them. When I finally brought home a guy a year later, it was like I reawakened a sleeping beast. Of course, the aftermath wasn’t THAT bad but there was a lot of tension and I definitely felt uncomfortable at home for a while. Thankfully, that was a few years back and things are much better now. When my parents met Jorge, they had already had time to adjust and grow comfortable with the idea of me having a boyfriend. I’ll eventually post about this topic as I have a lot to say about it and can’t fit it all here haha. Anyway, hope you had a great Thanksgiving! ūüôā

  4. Pingback: Coming Out to My Cousins on Thanksgiving – Explore The Rocky Safari

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