Coming Out to Extended Family?

  • gibson23

    Posts: 9

    Sep 01, 2013 7:04 PM GMT
    When did you come out to extended family, and how? I'm out to friends and immediate family, and this feels like a logical next step. It's not really their business, but I'd like to bring a guy to family gatherings someday without causing pointless WTF? tension.

    The how has me completely stumped too—I see these people annually at most, and there are so damn many of them. Email? Chain letter? Tip it to the gossiping spinster aunt? I get that everybody takes a different route, but what worked for you?
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    Sep 01, 2013 7:13 PM GMT
    You're out to your immediate family, you say? So what makes you think the cat is still in that bag?
  • gibson23

    Posts: 9

    Sep 01, 2013 8:12 PM GMT
    theantijock saidYou're out to your immediate family, you say? So what makes you think the cat is still in that bag?


    Never underestimate the power of repression in Midwest Irish/Catholic families. They accept me but don't really talk about it, and give non-committal answers when directly asked, playing dumb if I'm in a relationship, otherwise, "He's dating around, searching for the right one."

    In other words, they're as hesitant to broach the subject with relatives as I am. Which brings me here.
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    Sep 01, 2013 8:50 PM GMT
    gibson23 said
    theantijock saidYou're out to your immediate family, you say? So what makes you think the cat is still in that bag?


    Never underestimate the power of repression in Midwest Irish/Catholic families. They accept me but don't really talk about it, and give non-committal answers when directly asked, playing dumb if I'm in a relationship, otherwise, "He's dating around, searching for the right one."

    In other words, they're as hesitant to broach the subject with relatives as I am. Which brings me here.


    I guess that's just the Jewish-American families then. Within two years of telling mom, she was matchmaking. Hooked me up with the love of my life. I know I was lucky in that.

    But maybe you have other gay cousins you can talk to first. I gotta bunch of'm and we first talked about it as teens back in the 70s, so in a more liberal family but during a less gay time. Seems to me it runs in families. At your next reunion just gather the gay ones, have a few beers together and the rest will join in. They'll figure it out. Or when you have someone you love enough to bring to a family gathering, just bring them along like it's normal.

    Even with my brother who is a bit of a homophobe by his own insecurities, he's not a real outspoken supporter of gay rights--though he wouldn't vote against us--but when I had my buds with me he acted completely normal around them and he does want me to find another guy to fall in love with.

    If your parents accept you, with some exceptions, of course, I'd think most family, even if homophobic, would respect their love for you. Once you've got your parents' love, cousins tend either to fall in line or to the wayside. Don't fear them.
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    Sep 01, 2013 8:54 PM GMT
    It probably won't happen unless I get married, I've only told my mother and felt that I didn't need to tell anyone else.
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    Sep 01, 2013 9:50 PM GMT
    Show up with your hot Boy friend at the next "funeral, wedding, birthday party".
    Just watch the PDA around Uncle Oscar, especially after his second bottle of Jack.
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    Sep 01, 2013 10:27 PM GMT
    gibson23 said
    theantijock saidYou're out to your immediate family, you say? So what makes you think the cat is still in that bag?


    Never underestimate the power of repression in Midwest Irish/Catholic families. They accept me but don't really talk about it, and give non-committal answers when directly asked, playing dumb if I'm in a relationship, otherwise, "He's dating around, searching for the right one."

    In other words, they're as hesitant to broach the subject with relatives as I am. Which brings me here.


    I definitely understand where op is coming from i understand the repression in midwest catholic families because was born into one and will die as one. I kind of like not having to talk about it because that is awkward dinner conversation.
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    Sep 01, 2013 10:35 PM GMT
    No point of bringing it up until someone else does.. like if they ask if you are dating you can say yes.. but that is still not a proper time to bring it up.. if they ask are there any lucky girls lined up or something like that THEN say oh no I am gay haha.. or something.. just don't randomly say it.. it would be pointless

    I think we gay guys sometimes take coming out too far, it is simply a part of us.. not a contageous disease
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    Sep 01, 2013 10:38 PM GMT
    Oh gosh i will neva do such a thing, my immidiate family is enough. usually aunts are a bunch if gossips, so just tell one cousing who u know has a loud mouth and the rest will know before the week ends. That is how im gonna do it. if that doesnt work ill set myself up, ill put myself in a situation where i know one of them can see me making out with a guy. Atleast they will have something to talk about at breakfast. Goodluck
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    Sep 01, 2013 10:41 PM GMT
    TheRece25 saidNo point of bringing it up until someone else does.. like if they ask if you are dating you can say yes.. but that is still not a proper time to bring it up.. if they ask are there any lucky girls lined up or something like that THEN say oh no I am gay haha.. or something.. just don't randomly say it.. it would be pointless

    I think we gay guys sometimes take coming out too far, it is simply a part of us.. not a contageous disease
    agree fully with u bhuti wami (my brother in zulu).
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    Sep 01, 2013 10:51 PM GMT
    I was about to tell my family since last year but I didn't. I know I am not a good example since u are asking an advice on how to come out. Still, I was afraid and I though about how close would these people be to me after I come out. Maybe my mom or dad wouldn't even want to see me, it wouldn't be the same fun time with my cousins and everything like that icon_sad.gif I still haven't met anyone who has come out yet but what I say shouldn't at all affect you and your choices. Coming out takes a lot of courage and it's not an easy thing at all. So just telling it to your parents was such a good thing for you to do. However it would be better if you came out during (in the middle of) a conversation, i think. Try to invite some ppl (three or four) over for dinner and tell them. I don't know something like that, im not too much experienced, but i was going to try the dinner thing with my family. I wish you all the good luck. icon_smile.gif
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    Sep 02, 2013 3:55 AM GMT
    I am not out to extended family. Don't see them really.Just cards on holidays and the occasional call.So no need really.
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    Sep 02, 2013 4:04 AM GMT
    Mike34 said
    gibson23 said
    theantijock saidYou're out to your immediate family, you say? So what makes you think the cat is still in that bag?


    Never underestimate the power of repression in Midwest Irish/Catholic families. They accept me but don't really talk about it, and give non-committal answers when directly asked, playing dumb if I'm in a relationship, otherwise, "He's dating around, searching for the right one."

    In other words, they're as hesitant to broach the subject with relatives as I am. Which brings me here.


    I definitely understand where op is coming from i understand the repression in midwest catholic families because was born into one and will die as one. I kind of like not having to talk about it because that is awkward dinner conversation.


    But also where he's coming from is that he would like to be comfortably himself among his extended family, including introducing them to a boyfriend should that happen for him. He has to go to their weddings. Fair is fair.

    I think it is not just important for himself but also for our community. He's got the support of his parents so having others who love him think of us as normal is both to our advantage and to theirs. Why shouldn't his family be able to share in his happiness? They can't possibly feel good about themselves by making him uncomfortable.

    So he's seeking ways to rectify that. I find that admirable.
  • 1blind_dog

    Posts: 377

    Sep 02, 2013 8:43 AM GMT
    My mom took it upon herself to tell her siblings while catching up with them on the phone which would get around to the rest of the family and that was fine with me. They all know and I didn't have to lift a finger.
  • secondstartot...

    Posts: 1314

    Sep 02, 2013 9:32 AM GMT
    I come from what you would call I nice middle class slightly orthodox jewish family .....I decided i would come out to everyone at Passover...by bringing my then boyfriend with me and introducing him to everyone
    .....the trouble is my family was already soooo tired of me being such an attention seeker they were falling over themselves trying to be uninterested and cool with it even though I could see them all DYING to go like OMG !!!....I have a very funny family I love them to bits....
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    Sep 02, 2013 1:49 PM GMT
    TheRece25 saidNo point of bringing it up until someone else does.. like if they ask if you are dating you can say yes.. but that is still not a proper time to bring it up.. if they ask are there any lucky girls lined up or something like that THEN say oh no I am gay haha.. or something.. just don't randomly say it.. it would be pointless

    I think we gay guys sometimes take coming out too far, it is simply a part of us.. not a contageous disease


    Best advice here.

    If you really feel its not really their business, why volunteer it?

    If they ask or make assumptive(?) statements, then just state it as matter-of-factly as you can.

    Or, if you have a Facebook page, you can use that to post everyday comments or isn't there something on there about looking for men or women?

    Lots of subtle ways to go about it but you do have to accept you may be in for a discussion or two with people.
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    Sep 02, 2013 1:53 PM GMT
    I just did this last thanksgiving. it wasn't one of those dramatic things where everyone is sitting down at the table and i stand up and glitter out, "omg i'm gay!"

    it was more in the planning process, i was bringing the bf with me up to visit friends and finally just asked some family members if it was all right if i brought my boyfriend with me to dinner. both sides of the family (my dad's side and my mom's side) were open and awesome about it. he instantly became one of the family.

    personally, because no one ever saw me bring a date to any family function at all growing up (on either side), i think most people were just happy that i finally had someone and the gender didn't matter.
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    Sep 02, 2013 2:04 PM GMT
    In your situation, I would gather a couple of your more open-minded cousins and tell them that you are gay. They will likely show signs of support. Then, just tell them that is not a secret, so they are free to discuss it with anyone in the family. Further explain that you didn't want to make a big dramatic announcement to the whole family, but that you want for everyone to know in order to avoid future confusion, should you bring a boyfriend to a family function.

    Keep it simple for you, and let the family grapevine do its work. If someone doesn't know when you finally do bring your guy to a family get together, they will promptly be filled in by one of those who know.
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    Sep 03, 2013 12:31 AM GMT
    I understand your situation completely, having coming out to my mid-western German American Catholic family myself. The thing is everyone accepted me for who I am and has no problems with my sexuality....on the surface, but who knows what they say behind your back. You have no control over that and nor should you worry. The thing is everyone is "ok" with it, until you bring someone that you truly want to be in relationship with around family gatherings. That is when it will be awkward. I know this first hand as my sister already said, "well that ain't going to happen"...so much for accepting me for who I am.

    Bottome line: someone in your immediate family cannot keep their mouth shut more than likely. God knows, my sister didn't keep it from my siblings and wouldn't put it passed her to having shared it to extended family (i.e., cousins). My fault for telling her. So to conclude, I wouldn't say anything. Let them ask you or let them find out through word of mouth. If they approach you, then you can tell them. It's really none of their business unless you want it to be.

    If you really want to make a splash, do it the traditional way: send them a Christmas card (weeks before the gathering) with a picture of yourself in front of the rainbow flag at this years gay pride parade events. You ought to know everyone in the midwest loves a family photo at Christmas time. See if they catch the hint. Best wishes.
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    Sep 03, 2013 12:36 AM GMT
    gibson23 said
    theantijock saidYou're out to your immediate family, you say? So what makes you think the cat is still in that bag?


    Never underestimate the power of repression in Midwest Irish/Catholic families. They accept me but don't really talk about it, and give non-committal answers when directly asked, playing dumb if I'm in a relationship, otherwise, "He's dating around, searching for the right one."

    In other words, they're as hesitant to broach the subject with relatives as I am. Which brings me here.


    Haha. I hear you man. It's like that in "Southern, Black Baptist" families too. I am in your exact boat. My grandparents don't know, for fear it might send them to glory land sooner. Let me know if you figure out a best practice for communicating it. Lol.
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    Sep 03, 2013 12:40 AM GMT
    gibson23 saidWhen did you come out to extended family, and how? I get that everybody takes a different route, but what worked for you?



    I had good luck handling extended family members the same way I handled co-workers or acquaintances / friends in clubs or other groups I belong to. Without saying much of anything, I just appeared at the dinner, or whatever it is - picnic - cocktail party - sports event - with my date (or partner). You just have to make sure that if it is a private home, you have permission to bring a plus-one - so they'll have enough chairs/places at the table. This works well for me, and people catch on real fast that you're not with a girl. Just go - looking good, feeling on top of the world, be friendly and happy - and make very little of it. Introduce your date or partner as though it was the most natural thing in the world that you are with a guy. Because it is! Most people (enlightened people) will be watching you and following your cues. If YOU act as though this is cool and all is well - - - they should follow suit. At the end of the day - if anyone would give me shit about this - I'd dismiss them entirely. If you and your date are being friendly and courteous, and somebody treats you like crap - just get rid of such people - relatives or not.
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    Sep 03, 2013 12:55 AM GMT
    I never announced to them that I was gay, but started bringing my then boyfriend (now hubby) home to my folks with me when I visited for a weekend (living about 3hours away). Since a lot of my extended family from both sides lives in one place, word got around. My final jump out of the closet was to bring him to my dads 60th birthday party with lots of family, friends etc. I did not experience a single negative reaction.
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    Sep 03, 2013 1:22 AM GMT
    You mean like weddings, holiday dinners, or family reunions? Ask the host for permission to bring a date.

    If you have some of your extended family on facebook, you post pics of yourself and your boyfriend.
  • gibson23

    Posts: 9

    Sep 04, 2013 3:48 PM GMT
    Thanks for the responses, guys! Think I'll be using the grapevine-through-cousins technique, but lots of great ideas here.
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    Sep 04, 2013 4:01 PM GMT
    I worked for the only Gay/Lesbian Community Center in my county for the past two years and my uncle is the mayor of a neighboring city. Anytime something gay related happened in the country the local news cameras and politicians would descend on the Community Center for feedback. I did not have to come out considering the constant attention to my workplace especially in the last year or so. Though I have religious family members it has not caused any issues for me.