I live in California and my family lives in NY. I live my life normally here in Cali but I don’t know how to tell my family in NY that im gay. That includes my friends and everyone ive known since birth. Any ideas?
Compose an email/letter. One for your friends and one for your family, perhaps. Write down everything you want to say to them and send it.
Even if you don’t send it you’ll have got your thoughts straight on paper and it might help with telling them in person, if you instead wanted to do it that way.
Good luck and be at peace! You’ll get a lot of more-knowlegable people than me on this board coming along soon with (probably) better advice.
Half of them already know, or aren’t going to be surprised. Just tell one person. Within hours, word will have spread and you’ll be getting phone calls.
Both of the above work; another option is “hi people, this is my boyfriend Matt.”
My personal view:
Why bother telling people? I don’t go around telling people I’m straight. Just make a commitment to not lie about it if someone asks, you don’t have to storm out of the closet, trumpets blaring to everyone you know. I see no reason to call your mum/dad/friends and say “I’m gay.” It’ll come up eventually, just wait for it happen naturally.
If it’s because Mom asks subtle questions such as “when are you going to give me grandchildren?” and “have you met any nice girls lately?” that’s a good moment to mention it, it counts as “it has come up”.
As a counterpoint to Jragon’s stance, I recently found out my best friend from school is gay but has never told me (I suspected for years, but have never had ‘official’ confirmation). He came out to a mutual friend and she asked “should I tell jjimm?” and he said “suppose so, if you like”. He lives in another city and is openly gay there and has been for 15 years - he was living with a partner for a substantial proportion of those years. And I’m frankly a little insulted that he has never got round to telling me. It’s an integral part of who he is, and his not letting me know makes me think he assumes I’m homophobic.
It’s a much bigger deal than that. It’s like not telling family and friends you’re pregnant.
You don’t have to let them know all these things, but if I was your brother and had no idea you were gay, when you tell me there would be a few things I’d be interested in knowing, such as:
How do you know you’re gay? (duh - I’m not attracted to women at all, but I find men hot. OK, duly noted)
How long have you known you were gay? (I think I’ve always known, but it wasn’t until I was about 10 that I had a word for it. OK, duly noted.)
Are you wanting to keep this a secret just between family, or can anyone know? (I’m coming out to the world. OK, duly noted. )
Is this going to change anything between us? (You tell me, bro, I hope not)
Again, this is not really anybody’s business, but if you do want to tell them everything then these are some pretty important things to tell them (because it lets them know that this is not just a phase or a fad for you).
I know people make it that big of a deal. I don’t, however, think it SHOULD be that big of a deal. I guess I may be operating more from a position of idealism than a position of good advice.
Why would you want to discuss you sex life with your family. That’s so sqicky. If you friends are real friends, they already know, or don’t care.
Me…I vote for the not caring part. And not wanting to know details. I also get squiked out if someone wants to tell me about their hetro sex life. I don’t care. I don’t want to hear about it.
I’m assuming that my next door neighbors are gay, just the same as they probably assume that I’m hetro. Actions speak louder than words. Honestly I don’t care.
I will confess to yanking homophobes strings, tho. I’ll look them in the eye and say that if they want to stop gay sex, they should vote to allow gays to get married, buy homes together and adopt kids. Once the bills and kids happen, the sex stops…isn’t that how it worked for you?
I never had a coming out day. (Well, I did but it was unplanned and most of the people there were not surprised.) I just stopped censoring myself and let the truth take its course. “Wanna go to a titty bar with us?” “Not particularly.” “Why, you gay or what?” “Yes.” “…Oh…” Your sexuality is really not actually that big a deal for most people and I didn’t particularly feel the need to have a big dramatic scene with everyone.
I’m going to second the thoughts of a few people earlier in the thread and say that, in this society, we’re past the point where “coming out” is some sort of event that someone needs to have. If you really think it’s important that your family know about this, write it in a letter or email and let them mull it over, but there’s really no need to out and say it.
I’m a mum (mom in US parlance) and was damned sure that my third kid was gay from the outset, just waiting for him to admit to himself the truth.
Well, as it turned out, my gaydar was really misaligned, 'cos the one I thought was straight ended up gay, and the one I thought was gay was a dead-set heterosexual.
Yep, even parents can get it wrong. But that’s OK too.
How on Earth have you managed to conflate “coming out” with “discussing your sex life?”
I was going to bitch about this joke being incredibly hackneyed and played out, but if you’re only using it on the 'phobes, I suppose I can’t complain too much. Pretty sure you’ve failed to blow anyone’s mind with your incisive wit, though.
This really, really depends on what sort of family background you’re coming from. For some parents, yeah, not a big deal. For other parents, it’s huge drama. And for a few, it’s the sort of thing you disinherit your kids over. Anti-gay discrimination is still pervasive in our society. People still send their kids to camps to “de-gay” them. In many parts of the US, politicians can openly bash gays, and see their approval ratings increase because of it. Gay teens still have the highest suicide rate of anyone else in their age group. And, of course, anti-gay discrimination remains a part of our federal laws.
So, yeah, coming out is still kind of a big deal. It’s not easy to voluntarily identify yourself as part of a disenfranchised minority, even (or, perhaps, especially) to those closest to you.
To the OP: the most important thing to remember is that you’re an adult, and you live an entire continent away from your parents. Their ability to directly impact your life is limited. The worst thing they can do to you at this point is refuse to talk to you. Which is no small thing, especially if you’re still close to them. But that’s also not likely to happen, or not to last too long if it does. Most parents come around soon enough. And trust me on this part: the stress of coming out is, in the long term, far less than the stress of staying in the closet.
Come out today. Call them, write them a letter, send them an email. Whichever. Just get it over with. You’re going to have to do it, sooner or later, so there’s no point in agonizing about it any longer than you have to.
To me though, this seems to be a reason NOT to “formally” come out. Drawing attention to something makes it special. If we want homosexuality to be treated as something that’s not a big deal, we need to stop drawing undeserved amounts of attention to it. Now, don’t conflate this with no gay rights movements, I support the lobbying, marches, fundraisers, and other things that advocate for gay rights. What I don’t agree with are the “gay pride parades” that don’t directly deal with legal issues, making a scene every time a character is gay in a work of art, and grandiose notions like “coming out,” it seems like they do more to harm gay rights than help them. Sometimes saying “I’m glad to finally see a gay character” just causes me to remember “oh right, that’s not normal” when it wouldn’t even pass for abnormal in my mind otherwise. In entertainment, we need less “a gay character” and more “a character who happens to be gay.”
Now, feel free to directly attack, address, rebut, and respond to anybody who makes a negative comment on a gay character, or reacts poorly to finding out their friend is gay. I just don’t think it’s useful to take action, if we want things like this to be “normal” we have to treat them as unremarkable, and only discuss it as a reactionary measure (again, legal matters excluded).
That doesn’t mean that somebody should never bring up their sexuality either, simply that somebody shouldn’t start a conversation for the sole purpose of discussing said sexuality. It’s perfectly fine for a girl to say “I’m a lesbian” if she thinks a guy is coming on to her, or in a discussion of cute movie stars for a gay guy to say “I think <male character> is cute.” But the difference here is that the sexuality is a result of the conversation, not the other way around. And I don’t think we’ll truly get anywhere near equality until almost every discourse about sexuality is relegated to those kinds of contexts.
I’m partial to this approach. You’re stating the fact and also that it’s really no big deal. Just like it should be.
Jragon, while I understand what your saying and agree that too much fanfare can have a negative effect, I think your missing Millers point. He’s not advocating a full page ad in the New York Times or leading the Gay Pride Parade past grandma and grandpa’s house. By the same token it shouldn’t be something mentioned in passing while discussing the weather or the Mets game. Given the broad scope of reactions and responses to such news from a person’s family and friends, from “Oh, ok honey, well we hope to meet your boyfriend soon”, to “You are no longer my child, click”, information like this really deserves it’s own moment.
I think it completely depends on your family. If you’re sure that mom and dad have no idea and that they might be upset about it then you’re best to tell them first and if possible, on the phone.
If you think mom and dad probably suspect and are OK with it then that’s different and maybe you can just follow Jragon’s advice.
I’m an athiest. There’s a whole part of my family who are fundamentalist Christians. I don’t overtly discuss my atheism with them because I know they’ll find it upsetting but if they ask me about it directly, I won’t lie.
I think you have to balance your need to be true to yourself with the needs of the people receiving the information. Your delivery of the information should fit the situation.
There are different forms of out.
People can be fine knowing your gay and totally uncomfortable knowing your gay and DOING something about it.
Also especially to people you are close to, coming out means admitting your a liar.
This I’ve seen first hand so many times. The parent is like “If you lied about this, what else did you lie about.” or “I don’t know my own kid?” I even know one guy who’s mother seemed to be more upset that she wasn’t there to butt into her kid’s affairs.
She was a busybody that like to run the marriage of her kids.
To a lot of parents it comes across as someone who has been living a lie. Parents can also feel bad, because they feel their child is emotionally distant and couldn’t share this. I’ve known many a gay person who’s parents were like “Were we such bad parents that you felt you couldn’t tell us.”
And if your a gay male, the AIDS issue comes right to the front on the line. Does my son have it, will he get it, can I get it?
As a gay male, my mum died when I was 16 and my dad died when I was 11 so I never had to deal with coming out.
Finally you do have to realize as far as gay people have come, you still can lose your entire family over it. Though not as common as the past, I still know gay men who’s family have cut them off and wrote them off.
It still happens more than TV and movies would like us to believe.