Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Plans

I've been planning to come out to my siblings for a long time now, and I haven't gotten around to it. My main excuse has been that I haven't had time because of school. Now that school is ending though, I want to finally get around to it. I've already decided that I'm going to come out to them by email, so I don't really want to hear that I need to do it in person or over the phone. I've considered all the options extensively and I think email would work best in my situation. What I'm wondering is if anyone has any advice for what I should say to them. I know a lot of you have come out to family, so if you know certain things that would be helpful to say, I'd really appreciate any advice you have. Thanks!

5 comments:

Alan said...

This is such an individual thing that it's hard to give general advice for all situations but I'll try.

Express your love to them and your gratitude for being part of the family and for all their love and support. Tell them that you love them too, enough that you trust them and want to be completely honest with them about yourself, that you are confident they will honor your trust. Then just tell your story, when you knew, how you knew, what's in your heart, how you may have struggled, how you have come to terms with being gay and realized this is how God made you and you want to be honest with yourself and your family. Reassure them that this changes nothing about who and what you've always been, that the only thing that's different is that now they're seeing a side of you that was always there anyway but they didn't see before. Tell them again that you love them and are proud to be part of the family.

That's sort of how I came out to my sister, and she was wonderfully loving and supportive. I haven't told the rest of my family yet because they're not ready to hear it. But this approach worked for me and I've seen variants of it work for others. Also, say as fervent a prayer as you can muster beforehand that their hearts will be receptive. Good luck!

Lush Amazon said...

My advice- don't do it by e-mail, although it may be the best option for you, imagine their response. Even though coming out personally maybe uber awkward, i think it really is the only way to go, especially with family.

Captain Midnight said...

I'm actually fairly positive that they'd take it best by email. Like I said, I've thought long and hard about this, and I'm not doing it by email just to avoid embarrassment. At the end of my email I'm going to tell them that I want to talk to each of them either face to face or over the phone within 24 hours of them reading it so I can answer questions and hear their thoughts. There are other factors too, but I think it would be easiest for them to read what I have to say before actually talking about it in person.

Scott said...

Let them know what being gay means, and make sure it's the plain, unvarnished truth.

When I came out to my family, they immediately assumed that because I had decided I was gay I was going to leave my wife and kids and start finding guys to have sex with. I didn't put enough effort into making it clear that I intended to stay with Sarah and stay active in the Church.

It may be that you have different plans, but whatever your current status and/or intentions are regarding the Church and relationships, make them clear so that there is no speculation or assumption.

You've already indicated that you intend to speak with each of your siblings in person shortly after they receive the email, so this might be more appropriately addressed in that conversation, but I still think that some sort of declaration of intent in the email itself would be a good idea.

Also, make it clear what you expect their response to be. You have the right to expect them to react to the news in a certain way. Obviously they also have the right to react differently if they choose to, but if you've made it clear what your expectations are, then at least the reason for any possible tension or hard feelings (if their reactions and your expectations don't coincide) will be obvious, and nobody will be able to say "I don't know what you expect of me".

I didn't do this with my family, and several tense months went by before I finally confronted them and let them know that I wasn't happy with the fact that they were refusing to acknowledge what had become an integral part of my person. Things have gotten better since I made it clear what I expected--not that our interactions always go like I would hope, but at least they put some effort into their side of things, and I can recognize that and it's easier to forgive them where they still fall short of the ideal.

Hope this helps!

Bravone said...

Good advice above. Whatever way you end up using, I would recommend giving them some time and then bringing it up to them again to see if they have questions. My folks had a few questions that they harbored, but didn't want to offend me by bringing it up. Every so often I ask them if they have anything they would like to talk about and they are always grateful to have the opportunity to get clarification on certain things.

Good luck. I hope it goes well for you.