I Spent New Years Day Coming Out to Extended Family

On January 1st, I went to the mall with my mom, grandmother, and aunt. The four of us spent the whole day shopping. For my grandma and aunt, this was supposed to be a fun way to enjoy the first day of the new year. For me and my mom, well, we had a bit of a secret agenda.

Between Christmas and New Years, my parents and I sat down and decided it was necessary for me to begin the process of coming out to my family. Between things being posted to social media and the open visibility of my current relationship, we decided out of respect for the family that the words should be heard directly from me before they come from anyone else. As nervous as I was, I agreed.

The plan was to tell my grandma and aunt over lunch. The four of us ended up eating at ShakeShack (a burger place) and we found the environment was too open and loud to have such a ‘serious’ conversation. It didn’t happen.

Later that day, while shopping for my Ruby Spice Cider tea at Teavana, I received a phone call from my mom. She informed me that she was trying to send a text to my dad that basically said, “All they’ve been saying is gay, gay, gay. This isn’t going to go well,” but she accidentally sent it to the aunt who we were with! Oh my god.

Heart racing, I bought my tea and left the store. I met up with my grandma who was taking a break, sitting in a chair at the center of the mall. She didn’t seem to know yet. If she did, she wasn’t saying anything to me about it. When I saw my aunt, she was talking to my mom. I figured my mom was addressing the situation with her. I mean, the text was sent. She must know now. I wish I could have been more involved in the discussion but mistakes happen and this was out of my control.

As we left the mall to go to our car, my mom turned to me and quickly mumbled, “Oh my god, oh my god, she’s looking at her phone right now.” Wait, what!? You mean you didn’t talk to her about it yet!? Ahhhhh! My head began to flood with thoughts about how awkward our drive home would be.

Once we got onto the road, my mom basically just said, “Look, I think we all need to talk.” From there, I jumped in and broke the news to them. Both my grandma and my aunt were shocked. I was fortunate enough to receive a positive reaction from both of them. My grandma cried but explained that it was because she felt absolutely terrible that I’ve had to hide this from them for so long. My aunt told me that being gay isn’t a big deal and that they ultimately just want me to be happy. What more could I ask for?

The two of them met up with me one-on-one over the next few days to ask more questions. I can tell they’re both still in the early stages of accepting it but they’re truly making an effort to understand. They expressed some confusion about certain things pertaining to LGBT issues and asked the same questions I’ve pretty much come to expect. I explained as much as I could and tried to wipe out as many misconceptions as possible. In the end, they both told me they love me no matter what.

I can only hope the rest of my family will be just as understanding.

0 thoughts

  1. How absolutly fantastic. I’m so pleased for you, I remember having to do all of this so vividly. Some you will win, some you will lose but the winners will be so strong for you so that you don’t even notice the lost; what do they know anyway, not you as a beautiful and now more happy human being. Keep the faith and keep that smile going, it will turn every heart. Congratulations. Dx

  2. Congrats on such a positive reaction from your aunt and grandma, i’m proud of you for being so open and embracing who you are!!! As a gay boy myself, I know how it is always having people to come out to; the process never really ends especially when new people come into your life. The more you do it the easier it gets right. I’m curious though, has anyone had a negative reaction? If so, how did you handle it?

    1. Absolutely. It definitely gets easier over time. I think we also become better at judging which people intuitively “know” and which people we need to explicitly tell. As for negative reactions from people, I honestly think the worst one I got was probably from my parents when I first told them (though even that reaction wasn’t all that bad). I guess it was the most important one for me so I was also the most sensitive to it. With the point I’m at now, I don’t think a negative reaction would impact me as much as it once would have. I have the support of my family and friends and that’s what matters to me the most.

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