Not the right time to come out!+-

Posted by RJ on Tuesday, November 15, 2011

As the various holidays descend upon us, it occurs to some gay and lesbian people that  it would be the ideal time to come out.  I am not an expert on this subject, but I can tell you what a thirty year affiliation with PFLAG (and now the voice of the helpline  #908-300-4227) have taught me.  There is no perfect time to come out, but there are times when it's an unusally wrong moment in time. 

Thanksgiving would seem ideal because you have many of the relatives in one place at the dinner table, after becoming almost drunk, and chances are you will be returning to school or a residence out of town.  In my opinion, it would be wiser to come out to your parents in a quiet atmosphere (and that may mean coming out to only one of them),  The comedian Bob Smith explained that he decided to use the holiday time to make the big announcement.  At the Thanksgiving dinner table, he asked his mother to please pass the stuffing to a homosexual.  His mother immediately handed it to his father! 

The considerations each of us must make are:

Does one parent seem more likely to be accepting than the other?

Are you truly sure you are gay and not bisexual?  Friends of mine used the bisexual admission technique.  When they observed that it had not killed their parents, they then decided to say that they were mistaken and are gay.

Try to come out when you are over some of your own doubts about wanting to be out.  Not every gay person makes the choice to come out during some kind of a time table.  And some never come out.

Are you depending upon your parents for tuition money on into post graduate school?  If those same parents are Southern Baptists, it would be wise to wait.

Grandma's funeral is also a truly stinking time.  Some dudes have told me that the family was so upset and "numb" that it would seem to be a good time to come out-- you know,  at the funeral home while they are upset already.

If your parents have finally filed for divorce, this would be another time to dummy up!

Don't count on doing it at a joyful event either. At your nephew's Bar Mitzvah  it  would be taking the focus from your nephew.  Now, if your nephew were to come out at his own Bar Mitzvah, the dunamics would change.  However some relatives would assume that you made him gay!

And if you have just broken up a kind of hostile relationship with your boyfriend and you have a  very sour personal view of the entire gay world, it's best to wait.

I also know a man who felt compelled to make the announcement to his father while he and his father were driving, so he told dad just after paid te toll near Asbury Park.on the Graden State Parkway.  He must have figured that Asbury Park was the closest thing we have to Provincetown or Greenwich Village.  Coming out to anyone who is driving a car is not generallly considered safe.

I had the "unique" idea of writing a very long personal coming out story which I could let my parents read and savor when I was not around.  I enrolled in a very gay-friendly writers' workshop at school.  The instructor very matter-of-factly said that gay people ALWAYS make their first attempt at writing by telling thier coming out stories.  At the time, I felt deflated.  Now, I know that it shows we would be writing about the most significant  revelation many of us would ever make in our lives.

I will pass on a few reactions my, now deceased) mother made when I came out. 

       As I recall Mom said:

                        "Why is this not a surprise to me?"

                        "Does this mean you will no longer take me to the theater in New York?"

                         "When you were an altar boy, did any of those priests engage in any monkey business with you?"

                         " If you are happy, I am happy and I will do everything to understand more."

                          And from there, she was one of the founders of PFLAG of Northern NJ, and remained a member until her passing last year.

Only you know your family dynamics and dysfunctional interactions.  Make sure you are ready to stand on your own two feet and also answer the hundreds of questions which will undoubtedly arise from then on.  I just suggest that you not engage in a discussion of what gay and lesbian people do in bed.  They already know!

  If you need some reinforcement during the holidays, I'm usually available at the helpline number or  I call back within a day.       




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