Becoming the gay role model for the next generation

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    Dec 16, 2012 11:29 PM GMT
    I apologize in advance, this post comes with a long winded story behind it. I'm seeking advice. To better understand the situation I feel details of my coming out need to be explained. Here it is:

    It starts off 8 years ago when I was 19, when my uncle (mom's brother) was staying with us for a night after his wife's mother passed away. The family on his wife's side was giving him hell and he got drunk. My dad picked him up and I was home from University after my first year. My dad asked me to keep him company since my mom was traveling for work and he had work at 6 AM. My brother was living at home at the time but was doing an internship and he had work early the next morning too. So i kept my uncle company while he continued to drink. He then went on about my younger cousins on how i need to be a good role model. The follow dialogue was exchanged:
    Him: I know you're different.
    Me: what do you mean?
    Him: You know- you can tell me...are you?
    Me: Am I what?
    Him: come on don't play dumb.
    Me: ...
    Him: am I right?
    Me: ...yeah

    Not sure why I came out to a drunk uncle but the what happened after hit me like a brick. He started yelling and cursing me. Saying how my mom would be heart broken. He then said how it was a good thing my grandfather was dead because he would kill me or news of me being gay would kill him... He cryptically mentioned getting the family together to fix me... I calmly told him that I live the life I want to live and it had nothing to do with him or anybody. He then said how I was going to hell. I'm a pretty big guy and could crush my uncle so I said a few things and puffed my chest enough for him to get out of my way. He had good enough sense not to try to stop me.

    I left and went to the gym...at 2 AM in the morning. I was the only one there (24 hour gym) besides the girl at the front desk. Lifted weights for an hour, and then realized I was still fuming and shaking, so I ran. Ran on the treadmill for about 45 minutes before I noticed my brother approaching very sleepy and annoyed. He was like, "Can you come home? Our uncle won't leave me alone. He's saying you ran away and we need to get the family together and help you. He's drunk and kept waking me up."

    I didn't know what to say but I was pissed. I knew my uncle was waiting outside the gym. I walked out and glared at him. He was pacing back and forth and he walked right up to my brother and said, "Did you know?"
    My brother had no idea what he was talking about and thought he meant going to the gym late at night.
    My brother replied, "well yeah...I knew he does it once in a while..."
    My uncle yelled "WHAT!"
    My brother then unknowingly says, "Hell I do it too sometimes."
    My brother, thinking that my uncle was referring to going to the gym late a night, is suddenly surprised at my uncles reaction. Stupid uncle then insults his girlfriend (now his wife) that she was just a cover-up slut.
    My brother reacts angrily obviously confused why he called his gf a name and defends her honour.

    I was silent up to now and had tears streaking down my face. My brother notices and his face tells me he's shocked to see my crying (and somewhat hyperventilating).
    I speak up and tell my uncle that he's wrong. I then say, "He's not gay...I am..."
    At this point I can't look at my brother. I don't know why I doubt him for a second but I really thought my brother was going to turn on me and team up on me with my uncle. Instead he was like, "What? Is that what this is all about! So what? What's wrong with that?"

    I then tell my brother how I came out to my uncle and my brother's face is red. He turns to my uncle and says, "Who the fuck do you think you are? He's my brother, I don't care if he's gay. And if you say a word about this to anyone, I swear to God I will kill you!"
    At this point I've broken down and I'm openly crying into my hand. My brother pulls me into a hug and says that everything will be alright. "I have your back, if anyone give you any shit they will have to get through me. We’ll get through this together."

    My uncle is obviously dumbfounded by my brother's reaction. The girl comes out of the gym and looks at us and says, "I heard everything from inside. Do you want me to call the cops on this asshole?" She has cellphone in hand and is glaring at my uncle.

    I tell her that it's alright. My brother apologizes and tell at my uncle to get into the car. We drive to the train station and my brother basically kicks my uncle out. My uncle never said a thing during the ride. My brother looks at the time and it’s around 5:45 so he's like "Let's get breakfast". We have a great breakfast where my brother then tells me that i don't have to deal with that shit alone and that if i need his support to call him anytime. We then see on the TV some actors in the news and my brother is like, "So...is Antonio Banderas hot to you? I'm straight, but even I think that dude is sexy." And so we talked about who was hot and who wasn't.

    In the weeks to follow, I come out to my parents and my sister who all embrace it.
    _________________________________________

    Fast forward to today.
    I'm Project Manager for a multi-million dollar high tech firm. I live with my boyfriend and we are moving to our new condo in 2013 of March. Life is pretty sweet.

    I'm 500 km from my immediate and extended family. Although I'm close to my immediate family, I've always tried to distant myself from my extended family. I didn't want to live under my extended family's scrutiny and constant rumor mongering. This isn't lost on my cousins who over the year have seen me as the cousin who keeps them at arms length. I used to be the fun one who always played with them.

    Their FB friend request gets denied by me until they are 18 because I didn't think it was appropriate for them to see the things I've posted on facebook during university and of my early 20s. It shows me partying with friends and the good times of my life. I didn't want them thinking this is all what university was. It didn't show photos of my sleepless nights of studying and mental state due to back to back to back exams, because honestly, who posts those pictures of FB?

    Today, I've found out that my cousin, son of my uncle from the above story has come out to his dad. His parents are divorced, the children were living with him. He's gone to stay with his unstable mother. I heard this from my brother, who does not spread rumors. Given the details he thinks this deserved my attention and asks me to reach out to the poor high school kid.

    I want to- but I'm at a loss in how to navigate around this kid. I've purposely kept them at a distance because I didn't want their parents accusing me of influencing them with my gay ways. 5 years ago, this cousin added me to facebook and I denied him like the others. I've looked at this friend request for the last few hours, Facebook keeps record of the fact that it awaits for your response even if you did deny it previously. I want to add him to facebook now instead of awkwardly trying to approach him in a family Christmas get together in the next 2 weeks. But I'm at a lost on what to say. This kid clearly reached out to me many years ago, and I rejected him... What do I say to him now?
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Dec 16, 2012 11:41 PM GMT
    I think you should friend him and share everything you just wrote. It's very heartfelt and touching, and he'd probably really appreciate it.
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    Dec 17, 2012 12:11 AM GMT
    Thanks guys- I guess when I read it now, it is a no brainer to add him, but I'm lost on how to approach anything. Do I just keep quiet and let him come to me? Do I bring it up? I feel so awkward about it.

    Also- i considered having the dual FB account for personal and work/family and honestly, i can barely check one account these days haha. I've merged family, friends, and coworkers and moderate what my more crass friends may post icon_smile.gif
    I like to keep my FB classy anyways haha, no passed out pictures of me to be found, just ones where I look like I'm clearly posing for the camera icon_smile.gif
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    Dec 17, 2012 12:12 AM GMT
    You have an amazing brother who handled you coming out to him perfectly, why not copy that? Maybe start off the conversation with "I heard you're gay and want you to know that you're my cousin and I'll always be there for you."
  • reptile18

    Posts: 199

    Dec 17, 2012 12:24 AM GMT
    I don't have any advice to give, but just wanted to comment about the touching story. I think you're already a good role model given your successful career, partner, etc. I don't know about hiding the partying stuff from him, I don't think it's necessary...?
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    Dec 17, 2012 12:28 AM GMT
    The confrontation that happened to me occurred all too quickly in one night.

    With my cousin, this has been on going since October. I really don't know the details and if he's good or not. He has a very protective older sister who has his best interest at heart and has been his confidant through the ordeal. I'm really proud of her. Maybe I should reach out to her as well.

    To give you some context, last time I saw him was in September when my family threw me a birthday party. I was with my boyfriend. He barely returned my greetings and hid away for the whole party. Found out later he left and went home by himself. I never thought anything of it because I didn't know he was gay.

    I sound like a broken record. I guess I'm afraid of screwing this up and making it awkward for him. I want to get to where I can say exactly what you said Dahas. But I also feel like I shouldn't be the one to approach him, and that I should wait for him to approach me. Am I backwards?

  • reptile18

    Posts: 199

    Dec 17, 2012 12:37 AM GMT
    simple_collision said
    I sound like a broken record. I guess I'm afraid of screwing this up and making it awkward for him. I want to get to where I can say exactly what you said Dahas. But I also feel like I shouldn't be the one to approach him, and that I should wait for him to approach me. Am I backwards?


    Not at all. If you feel uncomfortable approaching him first, just friend him on facebook and wait for him to reach out to you first. That's what I'd do in this situation.
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Dec 17, 2012 1:46 AM GMT
    Most gay men come out to their closest friends first, and then their siblings, and then they use their support to come out to their parents, and then go on to the extended family. You've been fucked over by a guy with his own agenda.
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    Dec 17, 2012 2:01 AM GMT
    Reach out to him. He's probably unaware of the resources he has available to help cope with this (namely you). Also possible he's not strong enough yet to reach out. Throw him a note. Let the rest take care of itself.
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    Dec 17, 2012 3:07 AM GMT
    As the only gay (to my knowledge) in my very extended family, and the innate pressure to "represent," this is the kind of problem I always wish I had. I like the idea of accepting his FB friend request. He'll see you're out in the least awkward way and then it will initially be his choice to reveal himself to you. Of course if he doesn't, don't wait forever - initiate!
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    Dec 17, 2012 3:44 AM GMT
    Thanks all! Yes, my uncle (aka his dad) did a shitty thing to me. I can only hope the years having to deal with me made it easier for his son.

    I've gone ahead and accepted his FB invite. I will leave it to him to contact me first. If not, I'm in Toronto next Wednesday for Christmas. Tradition for us is going to my aunt's house, so I imagine he will be there. I will talk to him then if he feels up to it.

    My extended family knows about me. I brought Dan last year during Christmas last year so it's not like it's a big secret icon_smile.gif
    He was invited by my aunt again this year, but his sister is back from Australia for a visit so he's going home. It's okay- I will make an attempt to engage him.
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    Dec 17, 2012 6:04 AM GMT
    First, thank you for sharing your story, your experience, strength and hope. You've got courage and bravery, and a great brother and immediate family.

    Be careful how you proceed if your cousin is a minor. Your uncle could turn your good intended actions into a miserable legal hell.

    Consider "coming out" to the older sister of your male cousin first. See how that plays out.
    If she accepts you, then consider sitting with her and having a conversation about your male cousin.
    Carefully consider how you word your purpose and your message to your female cousin.
    First and foremost, I suggest discussing the challenges which young gay people face, and the risk of teen suicide.
    Once you have established a foundation of mutual understanding of the challenges and the risk, voice the concerns you have about your male cousin.
    I suggest keeping any talk about your uncle and his past behavior to a minimum. This conversation is about your male cousin, not your uncle.
    Ask your female cousin, who is immediate family to your male cousin, "What are your thoughts and feelings on what I have just shared?" Allow her to respond. Use active listening skills to make sure you understand her, and that she knows you understand her.
    If you sense that you have established sufficient trust and support from your female cousin, ask her what any next steps might be.
    Work through your female cousin, if possible, to establish communication with your male cousin.
    Consider engaging other family members as may be appropriate to build a collaborative support mechanism for your male cousin.
    Do not put anything in writing. Keep it all verbal. Carefully consider how any written communication may look in a criminal court of law.
    Be prepared to gracefully end the conversation if your female cousin allows emotion to overwhelm reason.

    May God bless you richly for your contribution to your family and to the RealJock community.

    Aloha and Be Well!
    Alan


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    Dec 17, 2012 11:16 AM GMT
    I remember reading the first part of your story before. When did you originally post it?
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    Dec 17, 2012 11:33 PM GMT
    Thanks for the response GAMRican! Yeah- I plan on engaging his sister. She know a bit more about the situation than I, and I think it was with her help he came out. Maybe she will suggest it to him if he's unsure if he can approach me or not.

    Not_Superman - thanks for the feedback, that's reassuring. I'm glad you had the support available to you. I want to provide the same for my cousin icon_smile.gif

    turbobilly - I may have, but I no longer can find the thread. I don't remember if I created a thread or if it was a response to a thread. Probably the latter, but I figured I'd start my own.
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    Dec 17, 2012 11:44 PM GMT
    Oh and new development. I found out from my sister that my uncle spoke to my mom about his son. My mom contacted me separately to see if I could talk to my cousin.

    I'm not too afraid of my uncle anymore.
    I should add my mom is like the Matriarch of our family. She brought all her siblings to Canada and provided the down payments to all their houses. They are all in her debt and is the last person they want to make enemies with icon_biggrin.gif
    That probably helped since I received no other negativity to coming out.
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    Dec 18, 2012 12:03 AM GMT
    1) Facebook is not reality. Perhaps add him in order to get a contact number. Then you could speak via phone to get a larger picture.

    2) It's clear to me that the least of his problems are his sexual orientation. There's a whole bucket of family secrets you've mentioned in this story. The best thing you could do is make the minor problem (sexual orientation) the easiest and smoothest transition; lending an ear does wonders. He will thank you for it later.

    Thanks for your story.
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    Dec 18, 2012 12:17 AM GMT
    Thank you for sharing your story.

    I think you've taken the first step in the right direction by accepting him on facebook. Perhaps just let him know if he does need somewhere to stay or someone to talk too you'll welcome him? Only if you're comfortable with that idea of course.
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    Dec 18, 2012 12:24 AM GMT
    I can't add anything further to what's been said other than that I'm happy and impressed to see the kind of support people are giving you.

    There's a thousand ways to learn life lessons the hard way, so when a few good ways present themselves, I think it would behoove any of us to do the compassionate thing and help out.

    The thing about Facebook actually bothers me more than the rest of that. The support you want to give, as well as what others have expressed, seem complete. It's the education about Facebook that will need more careful navigating for your cousin.

    For your own part, think of it this way: do you need to glamorize your life online? Would it bother you to clean it up? Can you use email instead?
  • monet

    Posts: 1093

    Dec 18, 2012 12:48 AM GMT
    My only suggestion would to be very careful about telling your cousin about the shitty thing his father did to you. Even if he bad-mouths his father he may resent you bad-mouthing his father. Either talk about the incident outside the gym in the most general way without trashing his father, or just keep the whole thing to yourself.
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    Dec 18, 2012 1:12 AM GMT
    simple_collision saidBut I'm at a lost on what to say. This kid clearly reached out to me many years ago, and I rejected him... What do I say to him now?


    Don't say anything.
    You made a decision not to get involved with the drama.

    If you want to say anything, say,
    "Get permission from your dad to connect with me. If you do, tell your dad to call me."

    You do this to:

    a) see if his dad respects you. If his dad doesn't, your original decision to be distant has been confirmed.

    b) to find out if his dad has more respect for his son's homosexuality than he had for your homosexuality.

    Part II

    If towards his son the uncle is abusive with his homophobia, then give him generic advice. Remember, children and spouses of abuse still love and go back to those who victimize them.

    You
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    Dec 18, 2012 2:18 AM GMT
    deltalimen said1) Facebook is not reality. Perhaps add him in order to get a contact number. Then you could speak via phone to get a larger picture.

    2) It's clear to me that the least of his problems are his sexual orientation. There's a whole bucket of family secrets you've mentioned in this story. The best thing you could do is make the minor problem (sexual orientation) the easiest and smoothest transition; lending an ear does wonders. He will thank you for it later.

    Thanks for your story.


    I agree- FB isn't the best way of communication. I personally use the phone, but calling him up is a bit invasive. It puts him on the spot and I really don't want to do that without a dialogue already established.

    Sorry- maybe I understood, but family secrets?
    I'm not sure what you're referring to, maybe you can clarify? icon_smile.gif
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    Dec 18, 2012 2:22 AM GMT
    makavelli said
    For your own part, think of it this way: do you need to glamorize your life online? Would it bother you to clean it up? Can you use email instead?


    Haha, who isn't glamorized on FB? By default it shows the best of times with friends. Not shots of me doing funnels, or anything I would be embarrassed for my co-workers to see.
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    Dec 18, 2012 6:42 PM GMT
    Email sounds best then.

    I only mentioned "toning down" FB because it sounds like it keeps you from family, which, for myself anyway, seems like a no-brainer that your online identity would be wholesome enough to include family...
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    Jan 05, 2013 4:50 AM GMT
    I thought this deserved some closure.
    So- holidays have come and gone. I ended up adding my cousin on FB.
    But I ended up not talking to him over the break. He went to his mother's side of the family this year, so I didn't see him at all. I did drive his dad to my aunt's house where we all celebrated Christmas. It was awkward, but I had my dad there so I just talked to him. My dad brought up my boyfriend several times, it was hilarious to see my uncle sit restlessly in the back seat.

    I'm not going to confront my cousin at all. He knows like the rest of the family that I'm gay. I don't want to make it a bigger deal than it is. I have like 50 first cousins in Toronto (just to give you an idea how big my extended family is). Many of my cousins have a gay friends. So if he ever needed some help, my cousins would recommend he talks to me. If I hear of him in trouble I'll def reach out. But right now, from what I can tell, he's just a kid trying to figure things out just like we all did at his age.

    Sure his dad is a bit of an ass, but my little cousin does have a good support group among the family and his older sister. For sure I will see him around this year and so I'll talk to him when I see him. I usually remember what's going on in each of their lives from when I last saw them, and so I will treat him like I treat my other cousins. I'll ask how school is, what's new with him, where he's thinking about going to school to when he's done HS, and if he's seeing anyone. I don't see any reason to make him uncomfortable and put him on the spot. I periodically put up pictures of my bf and I doing stuff, and every so often, I put up sappy stuff which causes my friends to poke fun at my expense openly.
    For example, on Dec 25th I posted: Very thankful for meeting a special guy 3 years ago this month. Made the last 3 years of my life the best. I was reminded today that meeting him has been the greatest Christmas gift I've ever received... Plus he got me a coach laptop bag this year icon_biggrin.gif

    I'm still overwhelmed at the response I received from this thread and in private messages. Thank you all for your advice and for hearing me out icon_smile.gif
    Happy new Year!!!
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    Jan 05, 2013 2:51 PM GMT
    GAMRican saidFirst, thank you for sharing your story, your experience, strength and hope. You've got courage and bravery, and a great brother and immediate family.

    Be careful how you proceed if your cousin is a minor. Your uncle could turn your good intended actions into a miserable legal hell.



    Especially with this kind of thing as ammunition. It casts doubt and suspicion on the rest of us.

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/2859655