Monday, October 09, 2006

Coming out to family

So I've been coming out to more and more of my friends, and with coming out to them, comes answering all the questions, which I could really care less about. So today I'm talking to one friend who I just came out to, I know she'd be cool, her mom's a lesbian and she was raised with her mom's long time partner. So she asked me the question everyone asks, Does your family know?
As I'm talking about telling my mom and the rest of my family, I realize that I have absolutely no motivation to tell my mom. My mom and I are getting closer, but I still keep up a wall with her. I don't talk about my romantic life, I never have. I didn't tell her why I broke up with my one and only boyfriend, I didn't tell her anything about our relationship, and I don't ask her for romantic advice. We just don't talk about these things, so as of right now as I sit more comfortable with my sexual orientation; I feel no push to tell her. The only push I feel to tell her, is because that's what you do when you come out, you tell your family and friends. Okay so my friends I felt compelled to come out too, because I talk to them about my romantic life and my crushes, so leaving out that the person I have a crush on is a woman, is a big deal. But when it comes to my family I just do not have the motivation. I've given myself a 2007 deadline, to come out, but I really don't feel it necessary. That's bad isn't it? I don't know what to do, advice is welcomed.

6 comments:

skyscraper said...
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skyscraper said...

hey, beautiful woman,

this post is very sincere and honest. you know my answers to all of your issues here--i've shared them to you in one of your previous, similar posts.

i believe there's absolutely no necessity or obligation or moral duty to tell anyone and everyone. you do it as you feel what your relationship with them is like, as you know them as people and how they would react. would it kill anyone if they didn't tell their mothers, brothers, grandpas, uncles? no. it's up to each one of us and also up to what those people in our family are like. if it's more likely that you're gonna lose them (lose their love, care, respect, attachment, whatever) if you come out--then is it worth it? this is one of those situations where ignorance can be bliss [for both parties].

one just weighs all those factors and then makes the decision. i'm not officially out to half of my family, so what? i have the relationship with them that we both need, appreciate and want. on that level. i have more personal, confiding, open relationships with other people in my life (friends, non-family) and i find that oh so satisfying. because they understand and appreciate. and some of my family won't. so i don't feel the need to tell them only out of my feeling guilty, feeling that i'm lying to them, or feeling that i'm obliged to.

who i sleep with is none of anybody else's business but i also don't go out of my way to hide things. if people find out and they hate me--then i don't care about them. however, no, affirmatively i haven't come out to anyone in my family except my mother. and that only because circumstances forced me.

other than that i don't intend to do that to anyone else lest not to cause them a stroke or whatever. but half of them know and they're find with that--it's just never discussed. but they know i'm happy and no one has ever reproached or scolded me for that.

but there are some people who by virtue of their upbringing, values, social surroundings, religoius beliefs, traditionality, heteronormative ideals, etc. are unable to see certain things the way i see them. and that's ok. and that doesn't make them bad people, and that doesn't make them less deserving of my love. it does make me not come out to them tho--that's about it.

;-)

good luck, mujer, whichever way you decide to proceed. please just don't pressure yourself too much and don't set deadlines--you're not running a marathon. this is your life and your future that's at stake. and also remember that we don't choose family, but we love them no matter what. and that sometimes not telling them everything sorta evens things out.

also, sometimes, gradual preparation of people is very smart. start telling them stories, show how gay-friendly you are, watch some queer movies/shows together, talk about gay rights, gay marriage, etc... tell them you have gay friends...--i.e. make them comfortable with the idea that gay people are people like everyone else and what our struggles/concerns are. that way you'll avoid shocking people, too, and giving somebody a heart attack.

;)

cheers. peace,
s--

Sly Civilian said...

sky said it.

have a reason, better yet, have your reason to tell someone. especially when it comes to family.

i told my parents because i knew they'd be okay, and that it hurts us to keep secrets for that long...it's just the way we are. but there are family members i love dearly who will never know. and i don't feel badly about it, i regret that they were raised to think the way they do, but i feel no urge to change them now.

i think the question that you might want to think about is if you didn't tell your mother about your dating life because you felt discomfort over it or a feeling of not expressing your truest self in that manner...

Or if you simply don't talk about your romantic life with her, and that this would be a strained exception to that.

skyscraper said...

i must post a correction to this statement i made earlier:

"no one has ever reproached or scolded me for that."

actually, now that i reread my comment, i did lose a member of my family, precisely my aunt who has been very close to me since my birth and took great part in my upbringing and education (even more so than my mother), but who's a very conservative and traditional (as in stuck in the 18th century) weirdo.

anyhow, she did reproach and scold me. and she did try to shame me into guilt, announced that i'm a sinner (and she's actually pretty contemporary and secular otherwise), that i'm morally degraded, that i make her embarrassed in front of her friends and co-workers, and that she doesn't wish to see or speak to me every again. she ended by denouncing me. naturally i did the same.

that was 7 or 8 years ago, when i knewly came out. we haven't spoken since. frankly, i think we don't even care how the other is doing even. so much bitterness and hurt feelings on both sides, and there's nothing that can be done. and i didn't even come out to her--her co-workers saw me with a woman and reported to her.

sad how prejudices can ruin very close family and otherwise, ties. but that's the reality. hmmm..

anyways, good luck to you again if/when you decide to proceed with your coming out. i just wanted to share this experience to show that sometimes it really does end up worse than we think.

my aunt and i will probably never speak to each other again and there's nothing that can be done to reconcile those fundamental differences in us.

peace. ;))

JrnyWmn said...

I think I'm going to due away with m y deadline. I feel your situation Sky, I see something similar happening with a few of my aunts. Anyway I do want to come out to my lil cousin just because, he definitely has some gender identity issues, and I want to support him if/when he comes out, but I don't know how to do that without telling my whole family and opening up a bag of worms that I'm not ready for. Anyways thanks for the support Sky and Sly (hehe that rhymes)

nehanda said...

im reading your old posts, im slowly getting back to the scheme of things, please bare with me. so, i finally did tell my mom and it was W.O.N.D.E.R.F.U.L . I felt soo much looove i cant fully explain, express..i can only feel..So my whole family knows and what can i say besides I have choosen them well ( yeah). And I know that this is not typical african mother/family reaction. I know that with her acceptance comes gazillions of questions. But for now, i am deeply satiated with the knowledge that in between this ocean that separates our bodies and time, there is a bridge called love..Call it blissful ignorance. (smile).

“I remember how being young and black and gay and lonely felt. A lot of it was fine, feeling I had the truth and the light and the key, but a lot of it was purely hell.” ~Audre Lorde