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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ay Papi!

I wrote this email to a reader (they were under 21) a few weeks ago after they contacted me for advice about how to come out to their father. I was reading it just now and it occurred to me that it might help someone I wanted to post it here. There's nothing in it that would let you know who the reader is, and PLEASE know that this is just my opinion, I am not an expert at ALL, and that this is just one way of going about things. If you feel that coming out to one of your parents could become a violent situation, please seek the advice/help of a professional first. I do hope these few words do help someone out there reading....

Wow, I'm really honored that you'd ask me to help you with this. Thank you for thinking that I could:-) I'm not an expert by any means, and I wouldn't want to steer you in the wrong direction. But I can offer my opinion of what I'd do.

The good thing is, you've gone through this with your mom already. And no matter how she views it, she might be your best way of getting it across to your dad. Have you asked her to tell him? I know it might seem like a cop out by not telling him yourself, but your mom and your dad are equals, and she might be OK with bearing some of the heat if he's upset, or explaining it more if he's confused/curious...or just talking about it if he's not surprised.

I kinda feel like, unless your parents dont talk to each other at all and would get into a big fight about it, that your mom should help you out. I think she might even be happy that you're asking her to help you. Most moms live to help their children and to be appreciated by them. So if you tell her that you've been struggling with how to tell him for a few months, and that you really need for him to know...and that you think she's the best person to tell him, she might like that.

If your mom is not an option for whatever reason, maybe you can email him or write him a handwritten letter. You have to be prepared for a bad reaction, because we never really know how any one person will react to this type of news. But a lot of times, parents will surprise you (in a good way). So talk to him like an adult with maturity and be direct, but also let him know that you're still the same daughter he's always known...and that even if initially it is a shock to the system for him, it won't always be that way.

The most important thing is to let him know that you're happier being yourself than living a lie. And that he's allowed to ask you questions if he wants. Or he's allowed not to mention it if he wants. Give him some options...makes it easier to handle news like this.

Yeah so without knowing your family AT ALL, or knowing you very well, I can't give specific advice, but I do wish you luck...and just know that you're not the first and certainly wont be the last to go through this:-)


I'd love to hear some stories about how you came out to your parents. How old were you? What did you say? How did they take it? Did they already have an idea? How are things with them now? Your answers might help someone lurking in the shadows of this blog who needs help but is too shy to leave a comment. Remember, you can comment anonymously on my blog:-)


Lez Love said...

I was 17, when I came out to my parents. It was the night after my junior prom. I had asked to talk to both of them at 11:58pm on a Sunday. I was so scared it took me a bit to speak. I told them that I liked girls knowing the L word would push them off the edge to early. My mom started to cry n my father said nothing. I felt like I had crushed my parents hopes for their dream wedding, and for their future grandchildern. My father said few words but he said "you're my daughter I love you". My mom said " I don't want this for you". She asked who knew,I told her some people but didn't tell her my older sister knew. Later my mom said that she felt in her heart that she had already knew but didn't want to except it. It was something that was very touchy but after 3 years of time there have been so many improvements from being told you dont know what you want to my mom and lil sister buying rainbow belt and pants. My parents have come a long way. I am thankful for them and happy that as I grow the are growing as well.

arlan- I think what you do is alsome, so keep it up girl.


Robot said...

I told my mother I was a lesbian when I was 9 years old. I didn't think there was anything wrong with it at the time - not fully understanding the gravity of the situation. I said, "hey, I figured out why I don't like boys." And she said, "because you're too young." And I said, "no, because I'm a lesbian." She was shocked and cried a bit. Then my mother tried to convince me I didn't know what I was talking about, and not to tell anyone about it, that it was a silly thing for a girl to think up. Well, here I am, 21 years old, still as gay as the day is long.

Anonymous said...

I didn't come out till last october. I'm turning 30 in Aug. I'm bi, and didn't see any reason to come out until if/when I became serious with another woman. Fear, rejection, etc, kept me from coming out. I look back now, my step dad has a gay sister, and my mom has always been accepting of everyone. They basicly shrugged and said "And?" when I came out. My step dad said he had a feeling I might be gay way back when I was a kid "C'mon I have a gay sister, I know some things"(But Fred I'm only half-homo :P). My parents are just that awesome. My brother was there at the time, and I was waiting till all 3 were in the same room and they weren't distracted. Well, I kept putting it off till the last day I was there. I still haven't come out to my brother and step sister, I will, I just want to do it in person. I figure their reaction will be similar to my parents.

Anonymous said...

I came out to my mum when I was about 17 and for years after she ignored it and tried to get me to go out with guys. It was only last year (when I was 21), that I wrote my mum a letter saying that nothing was going to change the fact that I am gay and that it does not make me a different person and it does not mean I love her anymore. She took it quite hard and cried a lot and then just told me that she has to have time to deal with it but she was happy if I was happy.

Anonymous said...

I'm 19, and I came out a little less then a year ago. I came out twice, since my parents are divorced. I wasn't expecting to tell my mom when I did, actually. My stepdad was insisting that of course I will want to marry and have kids someday, unless maybe I'm a lesbian or something. My friend and I started busting out laughing and then I said, well what if I am? They pretty much said 'So?'. And that was that.
With my dad, it was a bit more stressful. I sat him down and talked to him about it one day. He said he had known, and that he would always love me, but I should know that he doesn't approve of 'these kinds of things.' He told me not to tell my grandparents because they might not speak to me again. It was hard and it hurt quite a bit. We've gotten a lot better, and we're very close, but I know he still doesn't condone homosexuality. And that's a shame. Still, I'm happy that I told them, and blessed that I have wonderful friends and family that love and support me just the way I am.

Anonymous said...

I remember when I came out. I first came out to my friends, because to me it was easier. They already knew I was going to a gay club so they soon started asking me about my sexuality. By coming out to my friends and slowing "coming out of the closet" it made it easier to tell my mom. I didn't tell my mom until I was 21. We were talking about me going to the gay clubs and she came out and asked. After denying it to her for so long, I finally just told her the truth, and then waited for her reaction. It actually wasn't that bad. At the time, I was still bi so it was a little easier for her to take on. When I finally told her I was a lesbian, she took it well. I think telling her in small amounts helped her come to terms with it. My dad on the other hand, I did exactly what you said in the blog. I told my step-mom and had her mention it to my dad. He surprised me a lot because he was so cool about it. I personally couldn't be me relieved that my parents know. It's hard to try to hide it from them when they constantly want to know if I have a boyfriend...and well, I don't see that happening any time at all! My mom still struggles with it and doesn't really like to talk about it, but my dad has met a few of my girlfriends and our relationship weirdly go better. It's a big step and sometimes even bigger risk, but most parents are going to love you no matter what.

Anonymous said...

My mom was absolutely SHOCKED when she found out about my sister. she kept saying "i just want you happy", "i don't have you to have to deal with all of the problems that gay people face" etc. within two months, however, mom called me up and got on to me because apparently she had found out that my sister had been out of the closet for a WHILE and she was actually offended. So I talked with her about it for quite some time, and accidently let spill a few of my sister's girlfriends names, mom called her a hoochie mama, and everything has been fantastic since. lol. :)

Anonymous said...

I recently started my first relationship with a woman - at the grand old age of 34! I worried about telling my parents for months and eventually my twin sister told my Mum - it came up in converstaion apparently! I'm glad my sister told her in a way because they communicate in a similar way whereas me and my Mum argue a fair bit. My Mum is struggling with it a bit but my Dad (who we all thought would be really unhappy) is pretty cool about it. He has never been happy with how messy I keep my house and his first comment was 'if she helps you keep your bedroom tidy, I'm happy!'. My Mum seems confused and avoids bringing it up much. Its really teaching me to be more gentle in the way I talk with her, because I see that its difficult but I want her to see that I'm happier than I've ever been and THAT should be the important thing, not what a shock it is for her or what her friends might say. Good luck to anyone going through telling their family...when is it not going to be so painful?! Zoe

Chabet said...

I came out when I was 14. I spent the summer lusting over my female friend, and reading L word fan fics since I didn't have cable in my room.
At that time I tried to tell myself I wasn't gay, but my baggy jeans and short hair said other wise.
It was late one night, me and my father were having a rare convo about me, and my goals. And he asked me why i didn't want to go to chruch anymore.
I told him that I didn't like the way they treated homosexuals.
He said it shouldn't matter to me if I wasn't one.
Then I told him I was.
He told me it was just a phase.
At this time in my life I was living in a Rual Alaskan town. I came out to everyone, and never once was called a faggot or a dyke.
The only person who couldn't stand me was my father. Three days after I came out, we got in a physical fight. I refused to hit him back since he was much bigger then me and was in the Army, so I just went numb and waited for it to stop. But only one thing sticks out from the night, even after the burise healed were the words he shouted at me. As I layed on the floor he screamed. "What you're not bull dyke enough to fight me."
After that I lost respect for my father, and in 6 months left his home to live with my mother, who knew about my sexuaity since I was 9, and didn't care either way.
Since then my father still hasn't told me that he loves me for who I am. And I only see him once a year when I vist him for christmas.
Although I lost part of my family by comming out and being true to myself, I feel like I have gained a new one from the support of the gay coummity, and from you Arlan, you make being a lesbian much less scarier then what it was in the 90s hahahah
Thanks to everyone who is supportive of GLBT people, and supportive of just being yourself. I hope one day my father comes to relize that I am much more then a lesbian, but untill then I'll be comming back to you for a good laugh =D Thanks again!