The following is a comment that a reader “Asher” made on my “being rejected by your family for being gay” blog entry. I found it extremely honest and real.
This is an issue that is very close to my heart and one that I can partially relate to. I came out to my close friends not so long ago, and although they did not understand it at first (they said I was so straight looking and acting – granted, it had been my closet mechanism), and so do not completely believe that I’m not going through a phase, they have been supportive and even set me up on dates sometimes. However I have not yet come out to my family; that is going to be a steep mountain to climb.
I believe coming out is basically in stages. How one defines as being out is objective, in relation to the circle that they consider close and also in relation to whom they would consider “someone they would not come out to”. While it was liberating to be out to my friends, who are very close, I feel I am not yet completely out because my family, who are part of my circle of close loved ones, still have no idea. and the reason for this is because I’m completely terrified of what their reaction will be. I certainly am aware of their views on homosexuality, which makes it very difficult to broach the subject. My family has had very little contact with anyone who might even be gay, and they actively avoid LGBT people. They protect their world and societal views this way. Gay life and culture is so far flung from their daily experience or interaction that me coming out to them would be the equivalent of pulling out an inter-galactic alien life form out of my pocket and introducing it as my long lost twin. It just seems that impossible.
What hurts the most about this inability to come out is the distance that is created by my secrecy. I feel I am growing further and further from my family and that they are losing out on my anecdotes and experiences that I would otherwise share with them – my adult life is evolving without their knowledge or input and that hurts deeply as it feels that I am alienating them.
I feel like such a coward for not telling them, and then I counter those emotions by telling myself that my relationship with them has never been easy and has always been fraught with so much secrecy and shielding of the truth. I begin to feel that my inability to be honest with them is the product of a life-long bargaining sort of relationship with them.
I live far away from most of my family, so I feel that the distance shields me from any unexpected situations where I might be outed unintentionally, but the emotional distance created by this hidden secret is frightening for me. I feel its insidious.
But I have hope that soon (and it needs to be very soon) I will sum up the necessary courage to be open with them. I just fear that it might just be the last interaction I have with them.