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.