The relative with whom I first I discussed it was my younger sister. Except SHE broke the news to ME, when I was 48.
Our mother had already died, our father terminal but the news being withheld from him. I was visiting her when we had a long talk late at night, most of it reminiscing about family history things, our minds on our dying father.
And then out of nowhere she said: "Well, Mom & Dad always knew you were gay." I almost fell off my chair, since I had only been out to myself 2 years, and hadn't told the family yet.
"They told me right after you enlisted in the Army that they knew from the time you were a kid." (I was 20, she 17 when I enlisted in 1969). "They thought you made a mistake, that you would get killed by the other soldiers, or get thrown into military jail." I sat there speechless, and eventually changed the subject, not knowing what to say to her about it.
She raised the topic again after our father did finally pass away, to tell me how much she hated me for being gay, and about other things in my life. I chose to never see her again, now 15 years.
The next problem, though, was whether to tell my father, which I greatly wanted to do while I could. We'd been informed he only had a few months left, but he was being kept in the dark. My sister claimed he knew about me from the beginning, but I wondered if over the years he came to believe I had "grown out of it."
I finally decided not to tell him. It seemed to me if the news would upset him, why make him unhappy in his last months? Was my motive in wanting to tell him more to ease my own feelings, rather than to make his difficult final days less stressful? And after all, hadn't his doctors recommended we not tell him he was terminal? (And later making me suspicious that my own doctors were doing the same thing when I developed the same cancer myself) But still a tough choice.