Out to Parents

  • Justbe_NYC

    Posts: 18

    May 22, 2008 5:42 AM GMT
    Ok here is the thing: I came out to my parents three weeks ago when I was visiting them. ...

    I had it all planned as the stars were all aligned right: my oldest brother is "eventually" waiting for his first child and my second brother is just engaged... (wedding this September)! So I took the opportunity of being home alone with my parents to announce them the big thing....

    Amazingly at the time I announced it, it went quite smoothly. We talk about it during two hours... Well actually I talk to my father and my mother was not able to pronounce one single word...

    I was kind of sad that they had zero clue about it. Come on! I never presented them a girlfriend whilst being 29.

    Well I have to admit that I realized I was gay on the late side of things (22yo) and plus I buried that deep down until 26yo... 3+ years of a long desert walk ! ... very long and very dry...

    Although there was no drama, my parents told me right away that it was a failure of education on their part. They were responsible and they will make sure to make me see the light... They were sorry they did not realize it but that being gay cannot lead to happiness. Media and current society tolerate it like the same way was tolerated at the end of Rome which should not mean it is ok.... Hey why d you think the roman empire had fallen in misery! ... I know it's very cliché! they continued on and on : That I might have the illusion of being happier and feeling better in my skin but that is just short term illusion, short answer to impulsions etc etc....

    Obviously I learned that as soon as I had closed the door living my parents' apartment my mum cried for 5 hours and went to bed at 9pm... No doubt I am affected by the pain I give to my parents who have always been as good to me as they could. But I need to be "Me" and not what they had planned for me.

    My parents are extremely smart but also at an age where their mind is settled on many issues. I know time is in my favor. My hopes are that most probably with time they will go over it. But I am a little bit puzzled as to what I should do for the time being... ??

    My mother is in major denial phase. Big time. My father is quite smart but he knows I am not an idiot either. So his strategy is to hammer me with letters and lengthy emails. These are very well structured and rational. But without knowing / realizing the pain it gives me to read these, he is kind of unwinding all my views regarding life, happiness and my future one after another.
    Although the fact I have told it to my parent is a major step for me. It was important and it is like a turning page (With the expectation of it being for a brighter future). The whole process has a greater tool on me than expected. I am a bit lost now.
    I don't know if I should reply by a long letter for instance to see my father crunching my points not for the sake of being right or against me but because he is so convinced that he is proving me the reason why I am wrong. By realizing "his" facts and flipping back to the straight world I will be more Happy for the rest of my life.... or if I should simply wait and give them time to digest while ignoring what they are telling me. ??

    To make a long story short I think I wrote all this
    1) because I needed to put that done - so thank you for the ones who will read it.
    2) because I would be happy to hear the views on some of my questions - thought I am not really asking for people to be judgmental about my parents.
    3) I would welcome reading the experience of others as it might help me.


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    May 22, 2008 7:51 AM GMT
    I think it's selfishness on their part. They aren't really concerned about your happiness, but their own.

    Grandchildren, social status, etc. Things like that can be affected by having a gay son. icon_sad.gif

    I don't know your parents, and if I'm insulting them inadvertently, sorry. Hehe. It's just my opinion. No matter how good intentioned they are, they'll have to admit that holding you back is more for their own good than yours.
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    May 22, 2008 11:27 AM GMT
    "I should simply wait and give them time to digest while ignoring what they are telling me."

    It's interesting how, in so many cases, we already have the answer we're searching for.

    Responding to their letters and emails will only lengthen the lifespan of their non-acceptance.
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    May 22, 2008 11:47 AM GMT
    You may have to come to terms with them never accepting it. Even 20 years later my mum still thinks that I could get married and have children if I met the right woman. Whereas my father has always been totally accepting and supportive of my sexuality.

    Well done you for telling you parents, some people never take this step and live to regret it all their life.

    Ultimately, you have your life to live as you see fit and they have theirs. You can't life your life for them even if you wanted to.

    I think you've done the right thing and I'm sure that with time will come acceptance (or denial on their part!)
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    May 22, 2008 11:48 AM GMT
    PS. Are you really 6ft 5 ? icon_razz.gif
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    May 22, 2008 11:56 AM GMT
    I love books about philosophy, rationality, skepticism, and critical thinking. One of my recent favorites is a book called Why People Believe Weird Things by Michael Shermer. The last chapter is entitled "Why Smart People Believe Weird Things."

    It is baffling when smart people believe things we know to be untrue, as in the case of your parents. But Shermer has a simple explanation for this.

    "Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons."

    I know this describes my dad, and probably your parents as well. My dad was a smart guy, very good at debating and making his points. He passed away before I developed this skill myself. I wish he was still around so we could have a more even handed discussion about many things.

    Again quoting Shermer: "The facts of the world come to us through the colored filter of the theories, hypotheses, hunches, biases, and prejudices we have accumulated through our lifetime. We then sort through the body of data and select those most confirming what we already believe, and ignore or rationalize away those that are disconfirming."

    It might be helpful to remember this. He has already decided what he wants to believe. It may be up to you to point out to him that he has no rational basis for believing this.

    He's probably just reading things coming from sources like NARTH and Focus on the Family, which invariably warn that gays live a miserable, disease-ridden existence and are never really happy. He believes this because it's what he's always believed and now he's reading things that are only confirming that, and ignoring anything that doesn't confirm it.

    You might implore him to be a little more skeptical, a little more open minded, and then provide him with some reading material that provides balance and counterpoint to what he's likely reading now.
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    May 22, 2008 1:45 PM GMT
    Like McGay said, you already have the answer. Not that I should know since I am not out yet but what your parents need is time and facts that will show them that you are happy the way you are, you have no other choice and if you were any different you would be miserable. I dont think any parent wants their child to be sad and unhappy.
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    May 22, 2008 2:28 PM GMT
    just let them see you living your life and over time hopefully, eventually they'll get used to it.

    it's what usually happens

    as for happiness, gay men have exactly the same opportunities to be happy as anyone else.

    i love the bit about rome icon_lol.gif

    it completely baffles why straights, who dominate by their number, think we are some kind of threat to the world.

    bottom line, you've been very brave. no straight guy has to go through the crap we do just live a 'normal' life.

    read as much as you can on here and elsewhere to bolster your sense of belonging.

    i wouldn't change being gay in a million yrs!

    good luck sweet man.
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    May 22, 2008 2:36 PM GMT
    haha congrats on coming out! It's a big step, but you should be glad you did.

    Give your parents time to come around. I know what you mean with moms being in denial. I told my parents a year ago that I was bi, and since that day my mom has never asked me about any guys im seeing or anything, just "so do you have a girlfriend at school" or "have you been talking to any of your old girlfriends?" She is obviously ignoring the fact that I'm also attracted to men on purpose, but i dont make a big fuss about it. I'm going to wait till i start dating a guy that's fun and personable, then im going to introduce him to my whole family as just a friend, then after they all like him, im going to say "oh, and by the way, were dating". That should let my mom know that male-male relationships are just like male-women ones; there is love and a serious connection, not just taboo sex.

    But i hope your parents start to accept you more as you go! Congratsicon_biggrin.gif again!
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    May 22, 2008 2:40 PM GMT
    I'm kidding, of course, but you could have a very frank discussion with your mom about why she likes penis and not vagina and then turn to your dad and ask your dad how he can tolerate your mom when she likes penis and he can't tolerate you when you have the same affliction. If he says it's because she's a woman, ask him if he'd prefer you to be a girl. If he doesn't smack you, you win the debate.
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    May 22, 2008 2:47 PM GMT
    As someone pointed out, you've already answered all your own questions...but every time my Catholic Republican parents annoy me with some backhanded comment...I remind myself - Live your life for you, not for them. But it's always a deep breath, one foot in front of the other moment.
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    May 22, 2008 3:14 PM GMT
    Don't deny who you are, and don't change only 'cause your parents want you to.
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    May 22, 2008 6:19 PM GMT
    My parents did the exact same thing. Mother in denial, blames herself, says it is a choice, a faze, wont bring you happiness..... etc. But you know it just takes time. Once you hit 6 months it will start to get better. It will be hard and your parents will say things that will upset you even break your heart, but know they will change. I felt like they never would, but hey its been a year and mine have come a long way. Just prepare for the long haul. You will do fine
  • Paradigm_Shif...

    Posts: 251

    May 22, 2008 7:08 PM GMT
    As dakuk said earlier, it really sucks the things we have to do just to live a "normal" life I agree with that 100%, but also know that there is hope and things will get better.

    I came out to my parents about 5 years ago, and it was no easy task. My father is a pastor, and my entire family is very religious. My dad ended up cutting off my college funding after my first year and I pretty much didn't talk to any of them for almost 2 years. Its a challenge to get through it.

    Similar to your parents, my Dad would send me letters (littered with Bible verses..lol) explaining why I was wrong and my mom too would drop little guilt trips about how it pains them that Im gay. The whole thing wasn't much fun...

    After a long period of avoidance and anger, I invited my parents to visit me and have dinner. We sat and talked about where I was coming from and I listened to their side of the story. They didn't preach to me about why I was wrong, but they told me some of the experiences and emotions they dealt with when I came out. I also explained how hurtful some of their letters where and how I needed them to respect me and my sexuality if we are going to have a relationship. In the end, my parents were still Evangelical Christians, and i was still a big Homo lol, but we at least were able to set parameters for our relationship (no more preaching.... lol) and move forward in an air of mutual respect.

    I tell you all of that to say that things can and will get better. In fact, I just got off the phone with my Dad about an hour ago, and I visited my Mom and my whole family for Mothers day. Today we are rebuilding our relationship, and I think I am closer to them now than I ever was while I was in the closet. In fact my Dad sent me a card yesterday saying that he was proud of me for my accomplishments in school and it moved me to tears. It meant a lot to me to hear that...

    Be patient and understanding. Its hard for you to come out, but its also a difficult adjustment for them. Its going to take time for them to get used to the idea of a gay son, it has a steep learning curve. But just know that over time things will change. They may never march next to you in a parade lol, but eventually your relationship will get better. Just hang in there.... :-)
  • Justbe_NYC

    Posts: 18

    May 23, 2008 2:26 AM GMT
    Hey !!!

    Many thanks to everybody for their support.
    I amazed and somehow recomforted to see that some of you had some similar experiences and that with time things went better. Obviously I'd like it to be tomorrow.
    I'll tried not to let myself brain watched by father and rather thrive myself for the greater good.
    I always told myself I would come out to my parents once I will have a boyfriend. ... I the end of the day I have not waited for that. I don't regret it.
    My idea was that it would have been good to show them that I can be in love with someone nice and full of qualities... not one of these stereotype you sometime see on european TVs. Actually my mum asked my who was "the guy". When I told that there was none it had a double effect
    1) she was able to continue the denial thing since she told me. "Well, see you can still meet a charming girl tomorrow..."
    2) I have figured out it was a better context to tell them I was guy because they would have hated him and easily convinced themselves that it was because of him I became gay than he lured me on the dark side of the force.
    That's actually what they now think about New York...
    They were planning to visit me this fall... but they canceled with a massive pretext that has nothing to do with my coming out of course. How stupid Grrr!
    That said I think that in the future, once I am in a stable relationship it might actually help them to put a sane reality to gayness

    Again Thank you very much for sharing your views or experiences and the sweet messages.


    Ps: yes I am 6'5 ... well between 6'4 and 6'5 when counting in meters
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    May 23, 2008 3:18 AM GMT
    JustBe saidHey !!!

    2) I have figured out it was a better context to tell them I was guy because they would have hated him and easily convinced themselves that it was because of him I became gay than he lured me on the dark side of the force.

    Luke, I am your father.

    It's nicer on the dark side. Well, at least it's hotter.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    May 23, 2008 4:13 AM GMT
    Good for you that you were able to face your fears and come out to your parents and be proud of who you really are

    Yes it is sad that your parents are disappointed
    but this isn't really about them
    They have the right to mourn their wishes for their child
    ... but it's THEIR wishes... not yours

    They will likely come around very soon
    You need to show them that you're the exact same son and person you always were
    and I'd also suggest that you send back each and every letter and email to your father with a note saying that you appreciate his concern but this is not needed

    best wishes to you with them
    but it sounds like you're handling it well

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    May 25, 2008 1:50 AM GMT
    I came out to them years ago and at first they weren't happy but now everything is fine with them.