Sunday, April 12, 2009

Coming Out

I am slowly but surely coming out to my friends and family as gay.

This weekend I came out to my cousin. He was supportive, and as a fringe benefit, my little sister no longer uses the expression "That's so gay."

So far that brings the grand total of people who know up to fifteen, plus the members of the gay/straight alliance at college and my writing class.

I actually came out first to my three roommates. I had been dating a guy for a couple of weeks, and I was starting to realize how incredibly uncomfortable I felt. Hand holding was fine, but kissing? The best comparison I can make is it is like a straight man trying to kiss a man. It was awkward, and just didn't feel right. It wasn't planned, but I ended up asking my roommates how you could possibly break up with a guy if you're gay. It's just something that advice columnists never cover. They were surprised, but they helped me figure it out. I was honest with him.

The guy was so sweet, and told me how brave I was to tell him. I expected him to be shocked, or angry, or in denial. He was so great, though. We're still friends.

I told my parents next, on my birthday weekend. I had my van packed up and ready to go before I said anything. I didn't know how they'd react. I figured that since it was my birthday, they couldn't get too angry. They took it surprisingly well, though my mom still wonders if I'm going to hell. I come from a very conservative church.

My sisters were very supportive. One told me that if any of us turned out gay, her bets were on me. That made me laugh.

My parents still fluctuate from day to day over who they're willing I tell. First they say that I can be as open as I want (except for with my grandpa---they say he'll have a nervous breakdown and never recover if I tell him), then the next day they tell me that I shouldn't even tell my therapist, because then it's in my permanent records. I haven't told anyone in my tiny town yet---they freaked out when I turned vegan, who knows what would happen if they knew I was gay. I don't have to live here much longer, but my family does. I can keep quiet for them. It just feels like I'm denying who I am.

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