Coming out to my family has by far been the most bumpy road I have ever traveled. I never could have expected the outcomes I have experienced since the whole thing began in 2013. People who I thought would never understand turned out to be incredibly accepting. People who I thought wouldn’t care, did. The results have been mixed.
Right now, I am in a pretty good place. I am fortunate enough to have the full support of both of my parents and the best possible relationship with my sister I could ever hope for. My one grandma has known since the start of this year and while she was extremely upset at first, she has come to terms with it over time and she really enjoyed talking to my boyfriend (in Spanish) over the summer – which made me happy.
As for the rest of my family, I am not content with where we stand right now.
A few of my family members are still being kept in the dark because I fear telling them the truth could end very badly. I do believe my grandpa would greatly disapprove and I worry I wouldn’t be able to defend myself due to the thick language barrier between us. He is old and I really don’t want to introduce any unnecessary stress and confusion into his otherwise straightforward life. In addition, I worry one of my uncles may suddenly change how he sees me due to false stereotypes and assumptions about gay men. Maybe I am wrong about them. I hope I am wrong and that they do deserve more credit than I am giving them, but this is, unfortunately, what I believe given what I know.
What about everyone else? Well, for the most part, me being gay is what I consider to be a known but unspoken truth throughout my family. I think many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins have heard through the grapevine over the last few years. Or through social media. But in person, with the exception of a select few, I have never talked about my orientation or relationships with anyone in my family. I used to dread being asked the question, “So Rock, any girlfriends yet?” Again and again, I’d say, “No, not yet,” until the question faded completely and everyone stopped asking. Since then, mostly everyone now knows, yet no one has changed the question to, “Are you dating anyone?” (Or if they were a bit more daring, “So Rock, do you have a boyfriend?”) And maybe it is because they want me to bring it up to them first. I can respect that. Especially if they are doing it to respect my privacy. I know it can be uncomfortable. I just wish it was more of an open dialogue.
In the past, I was mostly able to avoid discussing the topic because it didn’t matter. But now, I am in a meaningful relationship and I want my family to know about it. Not knowing about my boyfriend shows, in my eyes, a major disconnect between me and them because he is a major part of my life now. So I refuse to allow the whole topic to continue being treated as the elephant in the room that is has become. There should be no more secrets. Besides, most of my family is friends with me on Facebook and they see the pictures and statuses I post with Jorge. They most likely all know by now. And they should! They deserve to know.
With a trip to Spain right around the corner, the topic should be easy enough to bring up. I am going to challenge myself and attempt to discuss my boyfriend with family members who I have never had the chance to discuss anything like this with before. In particular, I really want to tell my cousins who are all just a few years older than me. I really don’t think any of them will have a problem with it and I bet they’ll be happy I finally told them.
Reactions can be somewhat unpredictable. I do not know what will ultimately take place in my house today but I am hoping all goes well so I can enjoy everyone’s company, eat delicious Thanksgiving foods, and celebrate what should otherwise be a peaceful night to celebrate all that we are thankful for in life.