Coming out to my parents was difficult. They both accepted me and told me they loved me, reassured me this changed nothing and even admitted they always knew. It wasn’t their view of me that complicated the situation, but rather our religion. My family is from a long line of pioneer era Latter-day Saints and because of our genealogy, we have some imaginary Title of Liberty to proclaim.
My mom is my best friend. She often knows me better than I know myself. That is a rare trait to have between mother and son. Most guys aren’t as close to their parents as I am. Our family has been really fortunate and that has given us the chance to do a lot of traveling and creating shared experiences. I have many memories of just the two of us (mom and I) traveling to many countries around the world.
I always told my mom everything… well almost everything.
During my senior year in high school, I realized many things. First, I didn’t have to pick between being straight and gay. It’s ok to just be attracted to people. Second, I only had one year left living with my best friend, my mom. And third, I wasn’t being honest about a big part of who I am.
Coming to terms with my sexuality made me realize so much about myself and helped me develop and love myself, but I was doing this behind my room’s closed door. I was locking the door behind me, because I didn’t want to hurt my mom by telling her that I was bisexual. I seemed to have such a hard time correlating that I could be bisexual and a Latter-day Saint at the same time.
I was afraid. I feared her reaction. I feared the reaction of my church leaders. I didn’t want to lose the life and relationship we had built together. I didn’t want people to look at me differently.
One night, after a senior class event, my mom and I talked about how it would all be ending soon: how much we’d miss each other and how much we appreciate each other. I was planning on going to college for a little bit and then serving a mission. We got on the topic of marriage and dating, finding a bride to take to the temple (she was gushing at the idea of grandkids), and my future plans.
In that moment, I just blurted it out.
I said, “mom, I am bisexual and as much as I want all those things too, I want to find true happiness, however that plays out.”
We talked for a couple of hours about the subject. I really felt like she accepted me and she reassured me everything would be alright. Most of all, she thanked me. She understood it was a hard thing to do and she recognized the courage that it took to come out and the trust that I had in her to share it.
Coming out to my dad was a completely different story, he has always has been, difficult. He’s really faithful and because of his many callings in the church, often pressured us as a family to be perfect examples of Latter-day Saints. To be honest, I didn’t know what he would think about my bisexuality. He has often taught us that people who are LGBT are similar to disabled people, that this is their “cross to bear.” I always hated that he was talking about his own son, without knowing it. I wanted to tell him, but couldn’t. I never found the right time to share it with him. Again, I was scared. I didn’t have to stay closeted to long, because my mom went ahead and told him for me.
Immediately, I was furious. I saw it as a betrayal of my trust. Which to be fair, it sort of was.
She later explained to me that he specifically asked about me, and he had a feeling that I might be gay. They got into a long conversation, mostly about what the Church has taught on the topic, the November Policy and about the simpleness of Christ’s love. She told him that he and I needed to have a conversation together, because there was more to my story than he knew.
My dad sat me down. We cried. Hard. I told him I was afraid what people in my life would think. I worried about how being bisexual might impact my mission, or future in the Church. We discussed my feelings about him being homophobic. He told me he didn’t care about my sexual orientation. He told me I was his world and he would fight anyone who tried to hurt me. There was so much I wanted to say. So much he wanted to ask. But just getting that off my chest was enough for one night.
That conversation finally gave me some closure. I believe it even helped us reconnect even more. We could’ve talked all day and continued to build the father/son relationship we had neglected.
It is still an unfortunate fact that so much of our shared religion and culture is void of acceptance. We are missing out on getting to know the best parts of the people around us. How did we, as Mormons, get to the point that hiding and lying about a beautiful part of us was better than being honest? I know that straight and cisgender identities should not be the default, and those who have other sexualities or orientations should not be made to feel like the outsiders or an anomaly.
I believe that there will be a day when society and the Church will reach a position where coming out no longer needs to be celebrated and stating one’s sexuality will be as simple as introducing one’s name.
I look forward to that day.
I want to help make that a reality.
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.