I think family acceptance is one of the hardest parts of coming out. I came out to a dozen friends months before I said anything to my parents, and most of my extended family still haven’t been officially clued in yet.
I did want to share what my parents said after they found out I was gay. My mom asked, “Well, you know you don’t have to talk or act any different, right?” The thing is, I’m not naturally feminine, so it wasn’t something I was even thinking about. But I dug in a bit and questioned them on it, and we came to the conclusion together that what she was really truly worried about was how others might treat me or hurt me if I “started acting gay” or even if they found out some other way that I was gay.
To be fair to my parents, that’s a valid concern, even still today unfortunately. When my parents were kids, gay people were picked on and beaten up on. It was only natural for them to worry about me if I was gay or “acted too feminine”.
If I had any advice to someone coming out with these concerns, it would be to talk it out with your parents and don’t assume the motives/intentions behind their words. They might just be worried about your safety and how others might treat you. Or maybe it’s something else, but I’m sure it’s not purely homophobia. They still love you and, based on my experience, the best thing you can do is talk it out and ask them questions about what they really mean.
We want to hear your story–here’s how to share it with us!
Each Sunday we feature a new Coming Out Story on the Latter Gay Stories blog. Coming out is an important process that is different for everyone; some experiences are difficult; while others are heart-warming and inspiring. Coming out is rarely easy–but your story will help others draw inspiration from your own experience. We rely on weekly submissions to keep the Coming Out Stories alive and invite you to share your story now.