Though I'm out to my parents, I still feel in the closet...

underdarkness's picture

Even though I'm out to my parents and they seem relatively okay with me being gay, I feel as though I still can't tell them anything about gay issues, who I like, what bothers me, etc...

My mom pretends to be interested in who I like but I can tell that she hates the idea of me being with a man. She tells me that if I go out with a guy he will pressure me into sex but it seems to me that she just doesn't want me to have sex... ever. I understand that most parents are like this, but she would have no problem with it if I wanted to have sex with a girl. In fact, I'm sure that she'd go buy me a box of condoms if I wanted to go out with a girl. Instead, she gave me a booklet on how anal sex is harmful to the body.

When I bring up gay rights to my mom she gets angry at the fact that I am so passionate about them. She can't understand why gays want to be married, she feels that only heterosexual Christians deserve the title of marriage. I kindly explained to her that that would fall under a "Separated, but Equal (we promise!)" scenario, but she still doesn't really get it. She assumes that all gay people are anti-Christian and therefore shouldn't want marriage.

My father, on the other hand, makes jokes that seem to show how he truly feels. He said to my cousin the other day, "Greg isn't gay, he's just conflicted." He says this a lot, and it really just annoys me. It's basically the same thing he said when he thought he could "pray the gay away" (to quote South Park). I can tell that my parents still have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that I won't be like they were. I won't get married to some lovely lady, have three kids and live happily, if slightly dysfunctionally, ever after.

Is there any way to make my parents a bit more enlightened about gay issues? They refuse to talk to anybody who's been in their shoes. In fact, the other day my dad's good friend from work asked if I was dating any pretty ladies...


jeff's picture


On some level, you just need to stand up for yourself and let them know that this isn't going away and, with some subtlety, that their interaction with you determines how involved they will be with your life moving forward.

I always see things opposite from most people. Your goal isn't to change your behavior to make them more accepting, because that assuming your behavior is the problem. Their boorish, immature knowledge of sexuality is the issue.

So, you just need to assert your own sexuality, call them on their crap, and when appropriate, stop letting them in, as a sort of preview of what life will be like for them if they continue on this path. Because choosing between your parents' acceptance and your own happiness isn't difficult over time.

If you think it would help, sure, buy them a copy of "Now That You Know," or somesuch, but a lot of parents don't bother to read it. By the time my mother read it, she didn't need it anymore, but in that moment, it wasn't something she wanted to address.

Your job is not to keep your parents integrated in your life, but to let them know it is not a given and that they need to get on board, or you'll proceed without them. You're in the right here, and they either need to catch up or, ultimately, wave goodbye. And, if they do, it is entirely their choice and nothing over which to fault yourself.

My experience with this method has been entirely favorable. If you sit there and take their shit, it continues, when you start to push away and live your own life, they want back in, and then you get to define the terms.


"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

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rainbowboi's picture


I was kind of in the same situation with my parents. I don't know how long it's been since you came out to them, but it's really hard when all the dreams they've created in their minds (you getting married, having kids, etc) dissolve. It sounds like your dad is just trying to ignore the truth (my dad did that too). But I think if you just give them time they'll get better about it. They might not necessarily be amazing and go march in pride parades, but when they admit the fact that you're gay and it's not going to change, it'll be better. It sure is awkward though when my dad's coworkers ask about girls...

and about who you like and stuff. I dont know...I don't tell my parents at all about guys I think are cute or w/e. I doubt they'll ever really be "in" on that part of my life, at least not any time soon. Which is sad, but sometimes thats just how it is...

Don't worry though, your parents'll become more accepting.

Duncan's picture

I know how you feel. My

I know how you feel. My parents are like "Kool, you're out... now don't talk about it..." Yea, I know what you mean. To be honest, I have no Idea on how to help you out. What helped me was one day I sat down with them and said: "This is how I've felt since I've been out. I feel like I came out for nothing, because I still am being made to feel like I can't be myself in my own home." You know what I mean, eh? Well, that changed some things. I dunno why it's so hard for people, but I guess as teenagers we can't do too much. So I live my gayness in my room. And @ school. And @ GALAP (My towns gay and lesbian association for those of you who don't know. lol) When I'm out of the house I plan to really freak them out. The gay issue in my house causes more stress that it's worth, so I live as much as I can without getting murdered by my father. Occasionaly push things. But yea. In time, they get used to things. No worries. In the meantime, live your life as much as you can.

Courage is contagious... be strong, and soon you won't be standing alone.

andyouwillknowmebythesoundofmyname's picture

ha ha ha

Kool, you're don't talk about it..."
that made me laugh
it sounds so familiar
My mom is pretty great, but right after I came out and she said it was perfectly ok, I became a firehose of information and new experiences. I do this all the time when I learn something new, I become a really talkative nerd about it. I definately got the "ok...I don't want to think about that...", and I know what you are thinking. No, I wasn't graphic, I was just talking about crushes and movie stars and how I figured it out, etc.


She has come around more since then. I think she even adopted one of my gay friends. I probably just shocked her a bit when I came out....maybe.

I decided to take a peek in the closet.
What a suprise to find myself hiding inside!

patnelsonchilds's picture

Yes it's true, as teenagers

Yes it's true, as teenagers living under your parents' roof, you have to make certain compromises. However, that does not mean you need to compromise yourself. In other words, if your parents don't want it discussed, well you really need to respect that. But they have to understand that if they bring it up, then all bets are off. You have a perfect right to defend yourself against anything they throw at you. Also, I would make them aware that if they insist on forcing you to keep silent about such an important part of yourself, you're going to keep silent about other things as well. In other words, they don't get to pick and choose what parts of your life you involve them in. By placing these conditions on you, they run the risk of not having you in their lives at all as soon as you are able to go out on your own. I was already out of the house when I told my folks, but when they started imposing conditions on me in terms of who I could bring home to visit and how to behave, I basically said no, either you accept me, gayness and all, or I won't be coming home to visit anymore. They chose to accept me and now they are totally comfortable with it and have been for many years. It's harder to stand your ground like this when you are dependent on your parents, but you can make it clear that if they want you to involve them in your life at all, they need to learn to accept all of you, not just the parts they are comfortable with.

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- Pat Nelson Childs
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