Hit or Miss

In which Matt tries to decide whether to come out to his parents or not… I know what you’re thinking: “Matt, you’re 25 and you’re completely out in your job and on your webpage. What do you mean you aren’t out to your parents!?”

I’ve been out for 5 years now and I’ve never been able to work up the courage to tell them. I’ve tried to approach the subject on school breaks, but it always seems like some crisis with my brothers comes up and I’m afraid to add one more worry to my parents’ plate.

I’m graduating (finally) from grad school and starting my first job, so I’m not financially dependent on them. And I haven’t really lived at home for any length of time for 7 years now. So why am I worried?

I just don’t really know how they’d take it. But am I afraid they’d cut me out of their lives and not talk to me? No, I’ve already effectively done that. I rarely respond to their phone calls or emails because I feel like there’s this humongous gap of misunderstanding between us. This gap is completely of my creation.

Tonight in my dorm, this mother from Southern Indiana came to talk about her experience coming to terms with having a gay son. If Rhea Murray can do it, surely my folks can. I guess.

I just feel so guilty that I try to be a role model for all the undergrads I work with, yet I haven’t come out to my own parents.

It’s just…. why don’t they ask me about it? I know that deep down in their hearts they know. Why don’t they bring up the subject?

So I’m considering the coward’s way out right now. I found a nice webpage from PFLAG and I thought I’d just send my parents the URL with a short note that I think they should look at it.

My heart is racing now that I’ve typed up the email to them. Do I dare send it?

I read and reread what I’ve just written here.

Update: I sat for over half an hour and watched the cursor blink: send message y/n.

After bawling my eyes out and wiping my nose repeatedly on my sleeves (how unbecoming in front of my webcam), I finally hit “y.”

Now, I just have to wait.

6 responses so far (Respond)

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Coming out to my mom was one of the hardest things I ever did. The hardest was coming out to my dad; I never actually did that, though. I let my mom tell him for me.

I don’t have an answer for you, because I think it’ll be difficult at first. I just know that in the years since I took that first step, I’ve become much closer to both my parents than I ever was before. Having a significant other (and not just a boyfriend) made being out to them easier as well. Instead of saying “I’m gay”, I just talked about Drew (well, now it’s Michael). Rather than having my parents worry about an abstract “gayness”, they instead met this real solid individual who they came to care about as much as I did.

I guess I’m not helping you much, though.

bill | 13 Apr 2000
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when my parents learned of my own sexual preference, they were the last people on earth i thought would be cool with it, and as it turned out they were surprisingly okay with it after all. of course not every story ends the same. anyhow, good luck and try not to chew your nails so much. 🙂

jay | 13 Apr 2000
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You are a braver man than I, Mr. Kingston. Though I’ve come out to my mom, I still don’t know how to tell my dad. I’m left wondering if he knows after an email I sent him, in which I forgot to delete the .sig file at the end. The .sig that says:

++ [email protected] ++ http://www.nullmeansnull.com/ ++

How nice and clickable for someone using AOL. How amazingly out I am on my site. Then again, Mom’s more computer savvy than Dad is, and I’ve sent her tons of emails with several variations of the signature, and she’s never figured it out.

I’m digressing. Cheers to you for pressing ‘y.’ Things will work out.

Jason | 13 Apr 2000
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Good for you, Matt. Coming out to your parents is the hardest coming out there is.

You say that deep down you know that they already know. They may just be waiting for you to tell them, letting them know that the air is clear to talk about it. It sounds like you have created a situation with your parents where you are in control of the conversation and the topic of the conversation. Maybe they are keeping silent out of fear that broaching the subject may push you farther away from them.

Parents are very odd creatures.

Again, it makes me glad to know that you took the step. I’m proud of you.

John | 13 Apr 2000
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Matt, I think it’s great that oyu’re coming out to your parents. I hope it goes well. Even if any difficulty rears its ugly head at the start, I really think that only good can come out of being open and honest about who you are. You said it yourself — there’s a huge communication gap between you and your parents that’s of your own making. It’s always better to work at the truth than coast along with a fiction. I don’t know your parents, and can’t speak for their reaction, but coming out to my parents was a wonderful thing for me. I was about 22 or 23 at the time, and I knew that if I was ever going to realy show my love for my folks, and learn to think of them as friends as well as just “mom and dad,” then I would have to share such an important part of myself with them. The first month or two was rocky, but it’s been splendid ever since. I think they really appreciate feeling closer to me — especially in light of a number of problems that my brothers have had — and for them, getting used to thinking about me in a different was a small price to pay for the better relationship. Best of luck.

Dan | 16 Apr 2000
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when my parents learned of my own sexual preference, they were the last people on earth i thought would be cool with it, and as it turned out they were surprisingly okay with it after all. of course not every story ends the same. anyhow, good luck and try not to chew your nails so much. 🙂

jay | 4 Nov 2009