Avoidance. Tolerance. Acceptance. Encouragement.
As a gay man, I’ve learned to expect any one of these four reactions from the people I come out to.
There are the reactions we fear: avoidance, tolerance.
And the ones we yearn for: acceptance, encouragement.
Prior to coming out to my parents, I wasn’t sure what kind of reaction I would get from them. I knew as a Catholic family, there was a possibility that religious Christian-beliefs would be brought into the conversation but because my family goes to church maybe once or twice a year, I think I would have been more surprised if they actually knew what the bible even says about homosexuality.
When I came out to my parents the night before Easter, I was met with a reaction that closely lined up with the idea of “tolerance.” Things could have gone A LOT worse. Luckily for me, there was no violence – no yelling – no crying – no screaming. Just words.
I felt a little better after coming out to them but it was nothing spectacular. I could tell we still weren’t seeing eye-to-eye. They said it themselves. “It is what it is but we’re not happy.”
Over the next few months, the topic almost never came back up. We had somehow slipped into “avoidance” as I learned they were choosing to pretend I never came out to them. That was hard on me. It was easier for them to stay in denial and to pretend this was all one big phase that would eventually pass so I could marry a girl and live a normal life.
I wasn’t happy about their attitude but what could I do? It’s like they said: it is what it is. If that’s what they would like to think and hope for, fine.
Around four weeks ago, I started seeing a guy. I’ve never actually dated anyone before so I think it threw my parents off when they saw me running around my house frantically getting changed, doing my hair, and trying to look top-notch.
It took less than 24 hours for them to figure out what was up and to confront me about it.
Since that day, I’ve gone on a bunch of dates with this same guy and we’ve been getting more and more serious as we spend more time together. We’re at a point now where my sister is asking me why we aren’t officially boyfriends yet. Haha. 🙂
Despite the fact that I’m dating a GREAT guy – my mom has chosen to pretend like nothing’s going on. She won’t show interest in the guy since she thinks it’ll encourage me and make me think she approves of what I’m doing. At first, all she did was yell at me for not telling her where I was going so I had to explain to her how she wasn’t open to me dating a guy so I was too scared to say anything in the beginning.
She went on to tell me one day how I’ve changed so much and that our whole family-dynamic has changed and basically stormed off leaving me behind on the verge of crying. I felt so bad but I didn’t know what I was supposed to do differently.
My dad, on the other hand, has been really trying to keep things under control. He still says the wrong things sometimes but I can tell he’s making an honest effort to TRY to show interest in my life and to guide me in the right direction. He’s definitely been more accepting.
Around 3 weeks ago, I told my mom I wanted to talk to her. We had a long chat with lots of tears involved and I can only hope I’ve done my best to show her that I’ll be okay, that she’ll be okay, and that everything’s going to be fine. It’s not as big of a deal as she’s made it out to be.