Coming Out: Parents before and after

JayJay was sharing his coming out experience in another thread. He had a strong catholic upbringing and his mother was initially completely freaked, but is now completely accepting and totally OK with it.

I’m wondering about the rest of the gay dopers. How were your parents about homosexuality before and after you came out to them. Did their attitudes evolve? Do they “tolerate” vs. “accept” vs. “reject”?
Just curious. Thanks.

It wasn’t a big topic while I lived at home but after I moved out I went through around a decade of minimal contact with my parents. When we did speak my mom always managed to work something in about how bad my being gay was. It was either sending me to hell or keeping her up nights worrying about me, etc. Over the last couple of years it’s gotten much better and even though she still has strong religious objections, we actually have a pretty decent relationship these days. She even spent a week out here in LA with my SO and me…and she stayed at our home the entire time. That was something I never thought would happen.

I would say we’re at a point of ‘tolerate’.

Mine were initially quite accepting, with the occasional understandable verbal lapses. It’s actually more of an issue all these years later when they just don’t quite give Mr. Mallard the same respect as they would a wife. They treat him kindly, but more like my roommate than their son-in-law. His parents are the same: they like me, but their daughter’s marriage is really family, I’m just the guy who also shows up whenever their son visits.

My parents are that way with my SO as well. He will never be treated as well as their daughter-in-law even when he does become their son-in-law. Fortunately for us, his mother is quite different in that regard. She has always treated me very well and made me feel like part of the family.

I’m not gay, but I can add a data point. My brother (finally) came out last year. Actually, our mother sort of outed him. He had been depressed to the point of suicidal, secretive, and his life was in self destruct mode. She was very worried about him, naturally. Finally in the middle of a heated discussion she blurted out, “If the reason you’ve been so secretive and sneaky lately is because you’re worried your father and I will find out you’re gay, don’t worry about it. We already know.”
He seemed surprised. He asked her how long she knew. She told him she suspected since he was 4yrs old. He said she knew earlier than he did. He asked if Dad was okay with it. He is. We all pretty much knew, but no one would say anything. We were waiting for my brother to say something.

It’s been the elephant in the room for almost 18 years and I can tell you that we’re all rather relieved to finally have things out in the open. We’re all still getting used to things (Can we crack jokes about it? When should it be brought up, when should it not be brought up?) but the walking on eggshells bit is fading. We’ve learned that, other people’s reactions notwithstanding, it’s not really a big deal. He’s living with a very nice boyfriend. They come over for holidays like any other couple. We’re just all happy that my brother’s life has turned around and that he has someone he loves and trusts to help him through this rough patch.

His boyfriend was somewhat impressed. When he came out his family disowned him. My parents were hippie sorts long ago and have always been more tolerant than our staunch Catholic upbringing might lead people to believe. We accept that nothing has really changed since my brother came out. He was the same person before that he is now. We just get to meet his significant others now.

My mom was kind of hostile while I was having “the talk” with her - I think she was still ticked off that I moved so far away. I was taken aback because I had been told by my sister (who had already come out to her) and my best buddy, John, (ditto) that she was incredibly supportive. Got kind of nasty with me, but that may have been chemically induced.

These days, my ultra-catholic mom sends e-mails to her friends urging them to support gay rights, declared JustThinkin to be another one of her daughter-in laws, and makes sure to send me any articles she finds about gays in her local newspaper. I wouldn’t call her an activist, but she is far from rejecting! I love her dearly, and I know that she would support me through anything - that’s the kind of mom she is.