I just read on the other thread about how one poster's parents literally disowned (him/her) when they found out he/she was gay. Wow. That's heartbreaking from my perspective and I feel for you. But it got me wondering... how did it work out for everybody?
Got worse, but later got better.
They disowned mr, which meant when they reached out to me several years later we had to reinvent our relationship...on my terms.
If anything it is an eldergay thread. They are more likely to have had very bad experiences coming out to family.
(Though I know plenty of people my age(20s) whose parents were definitely not that accepting, still happens more often than it should these days)
Most parents have to have some inkling their kid is gay whether they subconsciously bury it or not.
So what age would you be today if you were in the last age group where it seemed more likely your family would freak out than accept it, initially? (Assuming most families come around in the end.) I'd guess in your forties you would have had higher odds of having a bad time coming out in your twenties? So that would have been around 1980- 1990.
What about gays in their thirties? Was it easier between 1990 and 2000?
Thankfully my parents aren't religious and don't have any of that baggage. My father is ambivalent about it. I think he just likes to ignore it, as he does with any heavy issue. My mother on the other hand has been a real gem. I've always been a mama's boy and she's truly one of my closest friends. She told me that it didn't matter if I told her I was an alien from Mars, she'd always love me.
Remember, this was the early 60s. I was 16 but I knew.
I told them I was homosexual (gay really wasn't used that much then) and they allowed me to stay the night but be gone by morning.
I took the Greyhound to San Francisco, had quite a bit of money for those days, about $150 and landed in the Tenderloin.
I never saw them again. I get sad knowing they have passed but such is life.
It is so much better today than even just 30 or 40 years ago. That makes me happy for the young generation.
I admire how measured you are about it, R7. It would be easy to be very bitter.
I honestly don't understand how any parent can just demand their kid to leave by morning and never see them again. I can't imagine my mother ever doing that. Weren't they worried about you? Didn't they care if you had somewhere to sleep, something to eat? If you were happy?
I sincerely just don't get it. How do you turn off those parental feelings and concerns like a light switch? Sounds sociopathic if you ask me.
I came out to my parents (and the rest of my world) in 1977 at the age of nineteen. They were great. There was no negative reaction at all. All of my family were and have been entirely supportive.
Of course, none of them were burdened with religion.
Thanks r8 and r9.
Thankfully, I have a really positive outlook on life. I'm very thankful for that.
Not to get too melodramatic but the last thing my mother said was: "I'd rather you had told us you had cancer!!!" Those were her last words.
Oddly enough, though it wasn't funny at the time, I do giggle at the Joan Crawford moment now and then and it really set some finality to that season in my life.
It allowed me to forge a new life, move forward and be very happy ever since.
"Deciding" to be a faggot among many circles was (sometimes is) thought of as being seduced into being a incredibly deranged pervert. It is hard to put yourself in the mindset of their ignorance but to them they clearly had already lost their son and failed as parents.
A ridiculously high percentage of homeless youth even today are LBGT, especially in certain communities such as Salt Lake City with its Mormon population.
It has gotten better recently, but parents wanting to excommunicate their child over their sexuality is not some rare occurence.
I was late to the party. I dated girls till I was 29, then out to family when I was 36. My mother is 73 and very religious, but very supportive. She told me her only wish was that I was happy. She added that Catholic religion has a very old school attitude to homosexuality, and that she simply did not agree, believing that it's genetic and always present. She's pretty outspoken about it to others when the topic comes up and a strong presence in her church. I'm sure it's because she has a gay son.
If I had known she would react so positively, I would have been honest earlier.
It was heartbreaking. Seventeen years ago, i came out. My mother deliberately cut me out of her will, then called everyone in her address book to tell them the scandalous truth about me. I can only recall two people (not including brother, who made millions off this one.) who will respond to my telephone calls.
Then, after ten years, Mama calls to tell me she has stage three colon cancer. Then, partner and I move back to flyover-land to do fools' errands to which she already knows the answers.
I am lucky to have had a great partner for 16 years. God does give...
It got better with my dad and stepmom, but worse with my mom. As a matter of fact, I've only spoken to her a few times in the past year.
Who cares? Relatives are just people who are more related to you than others. They don't support you? Fuck 'em. Sweep negative people out of your life: punch, delete.
All you ever really have is yourself, anyway.
My parents were pretty horrible people who used to sneer and bitch about gays (and everything else). My mother should have been especially ashamed because she had gay friends and socialised with quite a few gays. But she's two-faced to the extreme.
I'd just done one of those New Agey weekend things in which I'd spoken about being gay to a room full of about 70 or more strangers. It had been a very powerful weekend actually and a lot of the people were very nice people, very supportive. Lots of people had had a very powerful time of it and felt supported there. A friend who felt she had benefited a lot from it, had persuaded me to do it.
If you spend two long weekends in a room full of people all opening up about their most personal stuff, things tend to happen. The theme of the weekends was LOVE & relationships.
The following day for some reason my father called and asked me to join him for lunch. Then (strangely) my mother called and I asked her to come along (they'd been divorced, but 'friendly' for years).
We went to some new very grand hotel restaurant that had just opened and I was still fired up from the day before.
Anyway, they started bitching away as usual and then it was onto 'the gays' and I decided to tell them, there and then.
& they couldn't have been nicer about it. My mother held my hand and gave me what I can only describe as the most powerful shot of love I'd ever felt from her (& she's a COLD bitch). My father said he didn't care but didn't want to talk about it, but he left first and gave me a big hug as he left. I saw him again later that week and he was especially nice and kind.
I think they were relieved in a way that it was out in the open. I think it was also good that they were together when I told them and for me, two birds with one stone.
I saw my mother soon afterwards and we spoke quite a lot about it. She was worried because it was at the height of the aids crisis.
People had told me for a long time to tell her and I couldn't face it. I thought I would when I eventually got a proper BF, but this happened first.
I think that's the gist of this little story. I was terrified of telling them and it worked out fine.
Well, I'm 25 and I came out in High School at age 16. My parents were fine with it and our relationship didn't change. They seemed kind of relieved to find out that I was gay. Even my grandparents were fine with it. When my grandmother was young she was friends with Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey ( and other gays and lesbians). They were much older than her but I've always wondered about their relationship but I've never asked. I think those friendships ( or whatever they were)made things a lot easier for me as far as my grandparents are concerned.
R7's post is really sad.
my family's so weird; (yeah, everyone's is, I kmnow.)
we dealt with an early tragedy that made us screwed up so my being gay is in many ways a non-issue.
it's never talked about; people don't want to hear it.
I think if my two brothers both weren't young fathers they'd never talk to each other.
I told my mother I was gay when I was 19 in 2005. I moved to New York and started living out of the closet. I didn't want to have a complete double life that was separate from my mother and I wanted her to be able to visit me in the city and meet my friends and know who I truly was.
I sat her down and before I could even get the words out, which I planned and rehearsed, I started crying uncontrollably. I was sobbing and making guttural noises. So melodramatic LOL. My mother held me tight as I stuttered the words out. "I'm gay". Immediately she told me that she wished I told her sooner and she was sorry if she ever gave me the impression that she would react in any other way than supporting.
I thought "Great! She accepts me! This is wonderful!". In the beginning everything was fine but I noticed that my mother started to feel uncomfortable with it and didn't want to talk about it at all. When she came up to visit me in New York I introduced her to my then boyfriend and she was polite enough to his face but when we had a private moment she told me that it was becoming too real for her and that it was very difficult to see me with another man.
So now we're in this weird place where she still loves me and we talk at least once a week but I never mention anything about my "gay life" to her. So now I feel like "Why did I even come out to her if she's going to live in denial?"
I knew I was gay, since I was 13, and I accepted myself once I graduated from college. When I wanted to come out to my family then, my oldest brother beat me to it and came out himself. I had no idea he was gay too. His experience kept me in the closet longer. We're from an upper middle-class, well-educated family. We're Catholic. There was never a question of my parents disowning my brother, but they tolerated him, more than accepted his sexuality at first. My brother was in a relationship. They are still together 25 years later. It was tough on him, but my parents came around and accepted both his sexuality and his partner as a member of the family.
I didn't want to be the other gay son, so it delayed my coming out to my family for some years more. My brother's experience helped my family to accept me when I eventually came out to them.
R7 I don't want to pry, but I'm sure a lot of us would be interested in knowing what happened when you landed in the Tenderloin at 16, homeless, with $150. How did you survive?
r14, I don't understand your reference to your brother, who "made millions of this one."
For R23 : I believe that R14 's reference to his brother " [making] millions [off] of this one" refers to the fact that R14 was cut out of his mother's will. As a result, his brother inherited a lot of money.
Am I right, R14 ?
r21, I wonder if your family thought your brother made you gay.
R20, sounds like she'll get there. It's just going to take some time. How old are you anyway? Or more tellingly, how old is she?
Getting liberated from my family was the best thing that ever happened to me
I came out shortly after I left for college. I come from a more conservative area but surprisingly none of my friends seemed to care. My parents were big hippies in their day so I wasn't surprised that they were fine with it. Though I still get a kick out of what my mom told me after she met my first BF. "It's ok to tell my father you're gay, but don't EVER tell him you dated a black man!" Her father still holds the belief that blacks are inferior. To his credit he did vote for Obama, but only because "He has some white blood in him."
My mom and I had a mother/son talk, very rare. Then she made the fatal mistake of asking if there was anything else I wanted to talk about. I thought she was hinting about my sexuality. "Well, I guess there's this one thing," I said. And as I talked I watched her face crumble. "Let me get a drink," she finally said.
My Dad was the opposite. He asked me outright, I said yeah, and he embraced me, literally and figuratively. He even apologized for sending me to a child psychologist. "It was your mother's idea."
Yeah, they were divorced.
Quentin Crisp: Oh, that coming-out business! I keep getting asked that. Of course I was out, but -- that telling-your-mother stuff. I have a message. DON'T TELL YOUR MOTHER! Your mother hates you. If you leave some coins on the table and go out, fifteen minutes after you're back she's told everyone. Yes, of course she did love you when you were a child. She owned you. You had no personality. You were a toy. But now you have to go on, and going on means being Alone.
[R7] post was a little soul-destroying... Thank God most of us aren't *that* unlucky even if there are problems.
Most of my family know now. A lot of them are religious homophobes, but not much has changed. I think we know where each other stands and so it's not even really discussed anymore. I mean they think I'm going to hell, but I don't care. That's their beef =)
At first, yes. I got spat at and constantly reminded about the worry I had caused. I think it was mixed up with a lot of other stuff and me being gay was an easy thing to pin all of that on.
A co-worker's brother-in-law came out to his family last year. My co-worker said that her religiously- and politically-conservative in-laws are unfailing civil, if not downright polite to her brother-lin-law and his partner.
However, she said that one can feel the emotion and tension that lie just below the surface in that family. She fears that her husband's family might implode, with a lot of bitter, angry and scarred family members not talking to each other. She has begged her husband and his family to get help from a family counsellor before the family implodes. However, everyone pretends that every thing is all right
It's a difference in prejudice that your own family may reject you for being a gay male or female. The feeling of being cast out from your loved ones can have a profound effect.