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.