Coming out to parents: a Copernican revolution

Paladin's picture

I was driving back from my piano lesson and feeling dreadful about my plan to come out to my parents. I turned up the music and sang Cold Play's lyrics instead of thinking about it. After my parents got back, I felt dreadful again, and I went to my room and slept. Then my dad woke me up for lunch. I decided I would tell them after I had a cheese sandwich. Then I said that a certain university was my first choice instead of another one, although the other one has better policies to gays and lesbians like myself. This flew right over them, and they didn't catch on. This really got me worried and I could hear my heart beating.

I vowed to tell them by 1:30, so I had another two sandwiches. Then I just told them that there I thought they should know that I'm gay. Both asked me to repeat what I said, and I did so. Both were surprised. My mother said that she had a "gay phase" when she was a teenager, but "grew out of it". My father just started moaning "no, no, no" and put his hands over his face. Then we all went to the lounge room to discuss it.

My mother was more progressive about it the whole time. We talked for about an hour. I said that it was not likely that I was going to change, but that it was theoretically possible. My mother talked about how it seemed like gay rights groups were organised like religions, "converting people". I said that they didn't try and convert people, they just tried to get them to see their point of view. Just because one preaches equality does not mean that one must be gay, in the same way that one need not be black to oppose apartheid.

My father was devastated. He said that I was his pride and joy, past tense, but now life had lost meaning. As predicted, he wanted to know how men had sex with one another, but both me and my mother did not want to discuss that. He asked if I had told anyone else. When I said I had told some close friends and some teachers, they seemed to think the situation was forlorn, and surely most of the school would know by now. This I found particularly irritating, because it could be taken to mean that I lack the ability to read people. When he found out I even told a girl, he was even more crushed (I guess he thinks girls gossip more). There were tears in his eyes as he asked god (which he is an agnostic about) why he was being put through this.

Both of them seemed to think that it was the result of American cultural influence, something I said was not true. I pointed out how there is research suggesting genetic causes of homosexuality. If one identical twin is gay, the other is more likely to be. Mothers of gay sons tend to have more children. Homosexuality occurs among animals. I got my mother a study to read on the matter . She read about a third, then said she'd read enough for today.

Both of them were distressed when I told them that I would be coming out to everyone before the end of the academic year. They did not think that I would be able to change anyone's attitudes by doing so. I said that it would be most in accordance with my character, as someone who will not tolerate this oppression without a fight.

It ended with my father trying to salvage what one might call a compromise. He said that he, and my mother, would try and work towards changing towards being accepting of me. In the meantime, I should be trying to go it straight. He said that having loved me as a son all these years, the least I could do was to not "join the other camp" so quickly. He said that I should, for my sake at least, have heterosexual female friends and refrain from any homosexual activity, until I'm 21. This I rejected. I said that I could not promise that I would not be having sex with another man for the next 3 years. He asked why not be sure about it before I make any irreversible decisions), since I "cannot possibly know" yet. I said that I did know, and I was pretty certain. I said that even if I was to have sex with another man, it would not mean that I could not have sex with another woman in future, if that's what he was worried about. He said that there would always be stigma following me around if I were to have sex with another man. I said that I woudln't want to get close to anyone who would judge me by that.

Then, as I was writing this just now, my father came back home from a jog to clear his troubled mind. He said that I was being inconsiderate to the feelings of others. I said that my consideration for their feelings was why I told them. He said that this would have repurcussions for the next several years.

Overall, I feel glad that I've done this, in spite of the big hoo-hah. We'll be talking it over with my school's counselor tomorrow, I hope.


the mooses loose tooth's picture

You're a true hero.

Im sorry about your dad's reaction although from what you said it seemed that he was still marginally liberal about the situation. It must of been hard, though you stood your ground so well. If i was in your situation i would've folded like a cheap tent, especially after that proposed 'compromise' from your dad. For me it would have been so easy to just say 'yes' to keep him happy and then go againts my word. Congratulations i guess. You're a true hero, i can see you doing great things for the gay community. Cheers.

Hope things improve

corporal mike's picture

I am very impressed

That was a very inspiring coming out story. I certainly would not have remained so calm at that point in my life. You should be very proud of the way that you handled the coming out. I am sure that your dad will come to realize how wrong his requests are. Thank you for sharing.

KieBem81's picture

youre so brave-im proud for you ...good luck w/ ur dad

"If you love someone, tell them for hearts are often broken by words left unspoken"

1 in 3 women think of having sex or experimenting with other women

"Should I smile because we're friends or frown because thats all we'll ever be?"

cnn* :)

the mouse that roared's picture

It seems like you handled eve

It seems like you handled everything well, even though your dad didn't. You are really brave to be so persistent about it. I would have given up for the day after they didn't pick up on the college application hint. I admire your consistency and calmness in a tough situation. Your story is really inspiring. Hope things with your dad get better.

Brosia's picture


I don't know if there's anything I can say that hasn't already been said. You're a true inspiration. People with your self confidence and persistance are few and far between. You should be proud.

Andrewgirl3's picture

Have fun with the rest of the revolution

Good job. You really are a inspiration to the rest of us. Especially the younger people who are still stuggling about being gay.

"Love, as long as it hurts no one"
Annie on My Mind, by Nancy Garden

Paladin's picture

Thanks very much guys.

It's nice to have all of your support, especially since I'm pretty sure that I'm going to feel really bad about this all in the near future.


Rocky's picture

you did the right thing for yourself

It must be very hard to tell your parents what you really feel. My son told me he was gay before high school was out. I knew before hand, so it wasn't really a shock to me or his mother. He is my son, and always will be. I love all my children, no matter what. Also, being gay myself doesn't hurt. You sweated out a decision that didn't get you the expected results. But just remember, you were the same the day before, the week before, the month before. So, you didn't really change. You told your parents the truth, Good for you !! Now that they know, just relax, let them absorb it. You don't have to say any more unless they bring it up. Let them take the conversation where they want. If it starts to get out of hand, or you feel frustrated, change the subject. I am proud of you, you ARE NOT the only gay male out here. As long as you protect yourself, there is nothing wrong. I am a father of 4, plenty of things in this world are really so much worse, such as a disease. So if you think they are worried about that, reasure them. You don't have to agonize over this any more. You are still the same person. RELAX, now. You have done the right thing. Take care, God Bless.

Dan84's picture

And breathe...

Hi Dave,

Well, congratulations! It's all been said by the people above.

One interesting thing... your mother admitted to going through a "gay phase" in her teenage years. That's interesting, but it will make it more difficult for your mother to accept you. Now she thinks it can definitely be a phase... I hope she doesn't go after you, trying to get you to "grow out" of your "gayness".

Anyway, everything should be easier from here! If anything, most of the stuff is now in your parents' court!

Best of luck,