Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Coming out update

today I had an IM conversation with Matt at Debriefing the Boys and we discussed my progress with coming out (sorry to treat you like a coming out coach, Matt--I hope you don't mind).

Where I am:

I have been out all summer. I was out at work (I rather expect I will return to the same firm after graduation--assuming I get an offer. I find out next week!). It really was great to learn to get comfortable with myself. I think that was an important step. Had I not taken it, I am certain I would be seriously considering staying in the closet for ages.

I have been able to date some, as well as just have fun. A lot has become clear to me this summer. For instance, I always hated kissing, until I started kissing guys. Now I actually really like it--a bit too much perhaps given my inability to remain appropriate after a drink or two. I suppose that means I actually am gay.

Where I need to be:

I really need to start thinking seriously about telling my family. So far, I have trying to build up to them, but Matt suggested it might be easier to go the other way: family first then friends. Otherwise i have worse worry for longer (let's face it, most of us are more concerned about how our family reacts than our friends, however close they may be).

Now, I have decided to wait about a year. Before you get too concerned that I am still stalling, let me tell you why. A year from now I will have graduated and finished taking the bar. I will have made, at least in my own mind, the transition into bona fide adulthood. As an adult I should be honest with my parents about who I am. But at the same time I will be in a position to take care of myself, should it come to that ( I don't expect it to, but it just seems prudent to have this option).

Further, assuming I get the job I hope to, I will be working rather long hours over 500 miles from where they live. That will give them a sort of buffer of time and space to deal with it on their own terms (and honestly, it will give me some means to forget about the discomfort my sexuality will cause them while they do deal with it).

Finally, it will give me time to prepare how to do it. Should I tell my sister first, or my parents first? I'll probably do it while they are visiting me here rather than at their home. I feel like I need to read up more. Perhaps plan out exactly the things I want to say. This is not the kind of thing I think I should jump into cavalierly. It wouldn't be fair to them.

PS: I regularly re-link to it, but once again I want to go over Nick's Mom's advice. She's awesome.


ThatGayConservative said...

Before you get too concerned that I am still stalling, let me tell you why.

Why do you care so much what we think? YOU are the one coming out, not us. Come out because you want to, not because a bunch of miserable queens say you should. You're not less gay if you don't and you're not trying to qualify for a membership card, so screw it.

Do what you think is right for you.

Tim in Italy said...

Nick's mom is a star and the Anonymous commenter is correct (my experience as well, but I was already on my own at 18 and I never looked back). For me the question always was one of self worth. I wanted to be whole. How else does one maintain their dignity?

Matt's a good choice as mentor. His experience, and the library he surly has collected, will be of utmost value to you. If he hasn't already, make sure he points you in the direction of Micifus Phil's experience.

Whatever happens, survive. Be happy. There is some truth to the notion that living well is the best revenge.

Michael in Norfolk said...


I can understand your reasons for waiting to tell the folks. Hopefully, when the time comes to tell them, you will be lucky like I was and your parents will take it in stride.

As my mom said in a recent e-mail about one of my posts about my dad, all that mattered to my dad was that I was his son, whether gay or straight.

Andronicus said...


My only advice to you is to do more of what you are doing....read as many coming out stories and talk to as many out gay guys as you want until you figure out how and when you want to come out to your parents.

You will never reach a point where you will feel comfortable doing it, in my experience, but at some point you will reach the tipping point and in your own mind will know that , yes, this is the right time to do it.

I was never a Christian of the reborn type, but for a gay man, coming out has really got to be what the word "reborn" was meant to describe.

You have already started the process, but telling family is like the narrowest point in an hourglass...the hardest part to get through, but after that the possibilities to live and to find love are unlimited.

A long time ago a good friend and I were talking about happiness, what it is, how you attain it, etc. and he gave me some of the best advice I have ever received. He said that to be happy you really only need 3 things: Someone to love, something to do and something to look forward to.

I have never forgotten it.

Matt said...

Of course I don't mind, silly! That's what friends do.

Lyndon Evans said...

You have to come out when it is right for you, not everyone else. Sometimes a lot can be lost, but also it can be a gamble worth taking as a lot can be gained. For some insight, take a look at my coming out post at LGBT Rainbow Links (lgbtboomers2.blogspot.com)
There is no textbook rule on coming out, only patience, courage and hopefullness.

Icon said...

PE.....sometimes refers to a Professional Engineer.....beware of "overengineering" this. The more you primp and prepare, the more likely you are to blow it (in your own mind) than if you just let things flow.

My flying partner, Scott, and I flew to Florida for an annual event. We met and ate supper with a gay couple who are friends of mine. In due course, Scott asked how we three knew one another. I jumped on the opportunity to tell Scott that we are all members of the National Gay Pilots Assn. It was, in my mind, the perfect setup.

My best hope for you is that you will get through this as quickly as possible because every day that passes is gone forever. I had thousands of such days during which I had not even dealt myself. As with a root canal, the pain is momentary but the fix is permanent.

Jason said...

You're the only one that's going to know when it's right.

I remember my stalling. I kept waiting for the right time, saying I wasn't ready, making up excuses about being more sure of myself or being in a better place, etc. It happens.

So I stalled, and I stalled, and finally... I just had enough of the stalling and got it over with.

I couldn't stand the thought that my parents didn't really know me, that they loved this facade I put up. I also couldn't stand feeling fake. I was a different person around different people, always hiding myself. I realized I was never going to be happy and comfortable with who I was until I started just being myself. And I couldn't do that if I was lying to my family. I just had to start my own life.

There's nothing wrong with waiting. Take time, read up, get to a place where you feel comfortable with telling them. But realize you're never going to be completely ready. Take a year if you think you need it. But understand that one year from now, you could just as easily feel no more prepared.

You're the only one who knows if the reasons you have are something you really believe you need to do or just something you're telling yourself to stall.

Decide what you really want and go for it, however long you wait.

Also, as far as telling your sister first. I know it helped for me. My brother found out when we were younger. When I told my parents and my mother just couldn't handle it, it really helped her to have my brother there. It was someone inside the family who knew and could help talk her through things. Siblings tend to take it better and become really big allies. But you have to decide how you think your sister will handle it.

And one more, the time and space is a good idea. It helped my parents greatly. I was away at college, they weren't seeing me on a regular basis. We could still talk plenty, but they had the space and time alone to process things without me staring them in the face the whole time.

Anonymous said...

I did it yesterday. I came out to my parents. I'm a 23 year old guy and in India where the word 'gay' is barely known. I had to explain for an whole hour over tears of my Mom and the shocks of my Dad. They were devastated but have understood now what it means to be gay. They said they were at least not going to force me to marry a girl. That comes as a great relief in this society actually. The part about me having a partner however still needs more discussions.... I'm going to struggle everyday :-)