Thursday, December 30, 2004

Christmas Day with my Family


I decided that this past Christmas was the perfect time to come out to my family.  Everywhere I turned I saw signs reinforcing my decision.  Was it the sparkling gold and silver lights? the rainbow-colored balls? the carolers telling me to don my 'gay apparel'?  In anycase, I did; and this is my coming out story.

My plan was to gather all of my family in one room and do a big dramatic revelation: 10-page letter with tears and emotional gesticulation.  I was told that Gemini's are naturals at being drama queens.  Then I realized how it might make certain members of my family uncomfortable. Scrap the letter. My new plan was to try and get the biggest reaction of each one alone, and compare the results.  To get the most honest reaction, I would 'come out' without much leading up to it.

On Christmas Day, the first person I told was my sister.  Read her reaction [+/-]

Me: I need to tell you something.  I'm gay.
Her: Uhm.  Okay.  (pause, hand touching face)  I still love you.

Result: Although the reaction was semi-boring, I could still tell she was holding back something.  Not homophobia, but perhaps compassion; almost as if she was worried of the hardships I'd face as a gay person.

Current mind state: A little nervous.  Coming out to my sister turned out fairly well; not bad enough to shake up my confidence.

As we were about to meet with extended family for brunch, I knew I had to tell my mom before we left.  Being nervous from the first 'coming out', I procrastinated until we were literally out the door.  Read her reaction [+/-]

Me: Today is Christmas, and I wanted to let you know that I love you.  (Arms open up for a kiss on the cheek and a big hug)  And because I love you, I need to tell you that I'm gay.
Mom:  (hugs tighter for three beats, then pulls back with tears in eyes) I hope you change your mind.
Me:  (expecting such a reaction, holds composure) Okay.  (What I really wanted to say was, 'Well, let's see how easy it is for you to be a lesbian.')
Mom:  (sniffles) You know you're my only son.
Me:  (heart breaks, but still holds composure) I know, and you would want me to be happy right?
Mom:  Yes, you're right. (goes in for a hug)
Me:  (whispering) And this makes me happy, because I don't have to hide it anymore.
Mom:  (hugs tighter, then pulls back and wipes tears)
Me:  And besides, I can always adopt.
Mom:  It's not the same.
Me:  (near breaking point, ends the conversation) I know.

Result:  Reacted in a traditional Chinese manner: realizes that her first born son won't have a son of his own.  Although there were tears, there was no overtly-dramatic, irrational behavior from either side.

Current mind state: More nervous.  Coming out to my mom took a big hit to my confidence.  Now I worried if other family members will say the things that my mom did that broke my heart.

Then my dad called like he normally does on Christmas Day.  Read his reaction [+/-]

Me: Merry Christmas!
Dad:  Merry Christmas! (blah blah blah)
Me:  You know... (blah blah blah)
Dad:  That's good.
Me:  Oh, one more thing.  I told Mom and (my sis) already; but I want you to know I'm gay.
Dad:  Okay.  Whatever makes you happy.

Result:  Exactly how I expected him to respond.  Yes, he's the one that asked if I had a boyfriend when I was still in denial.

Current mind state:  Still nervous from mom event.  Coming out to dad wasn't a concern.

Christmas night, we all gathered at my aunt's house for dinner.  Two uncles, three aunts, and four cousins.  I worried how I was going to do this, and ultimately decided not to tell my extended family adults yet.  In other words, I chickened out.

However, I did tell the two oldest cousins (24 and 20); but only after I had 5 glasses of wine to prep myself.  First was E, 20 yr old female.  Read her reaction [+/-]

Me:  Hey, I need to tell you something.  I think it's important for you to know.. (she starts smiling at this point) ..what?  You know what I'm going to say, don't you.
Her:  Yea, that your gay?
Me:  Yea.  I knew you'd probably be suspicious.  Why else would you tell me there was a gay and lesbian club in your high school.
Her:  I knew when we went to Florida and you bought this tight little red woman's t-shirt.  No straight guy buys something like that for themselves.
Me:  Uhm.. I didn't buy a red shirt in Florida.
Her:  No?  
Me:  No.  I only wear mens' clothes.  And there's always Abercrombie.

Result:  That didn't count.  She thought I was gay for the wrong reason.

Current mind state:  Coming out to E made me confused, in addition to being nervous.  Or it could have been the wine.

And finally there was M, 24 yr old male; his girlfriend was there, so I told them both.  Read their reaction [+/-]

Me:  (still tipsy) I think you're important to me, so I have to let you know that I'm gay.
Him:  (pause) and?
Me:  Oh.. uhm.. that's it.
Girlfriend:  Aww.. it's fine (hug). We still love you.
Me:  I know (gives Him a hug).
Him:  (does the manly 'pelvis away' hug)

Result:  Pelvis avoiding hug was a little surprising, but we don't normally hug, so that could just be how he normally hugs people.

Current mind state:  Relieved that I was done.  Disappointed that I didn't have the courage to tell all of my extended family.

I came out to everyone I could handle reactions from; and they turned out okay.  I know this makes me lucky because my family still loves me; and that I'm not disowned and living on the street.  That was my Christmas Day with my family.


riye said...

*hug* that was great.

my parents had the similar reaction, my mom was definitely the more concerned and slightly guilt-ridden one, and my dad the nonchalant acceptor. and there's no need to tell everybody in one fell swoop.

Rob Byrnes said...

Oh, c'mon. 'E' totally nailed you on that red girly shirt. You were busted. Why are you still in denial?

Jon said...

You totally should have said to your mom 'why don't you become a lesbian'- that was classic, even though you didn't say it outloud.

I'm glad you posted this story, it took guts and I'm glad you did it. As I've told you, I haven't come out to my aunts and my remaining grandma, I think they know already. No need to rush everything.

Happy Gay New Year!

iiltweet said...

hey! that "mens clothes" and "abercrombie" comment was me!

Anonymous said...

Great Post Jase! Welcome OUT and Happy New Year! May 2005 be the best yet!


Jess said...

Even though we already discussed this face-to-face, I wanted to say again that I am happy for you. It's a real weight off your shoulders to be able to tell the truth to the important people in your life. I hope it makes life easier for you! *hug*

Brechi said...

aww, congratulations on telling them. i'm suprised your dad is so easy-going about it--lucky!!!

Jennie said...

I'm glad you came out. I'm happy for you =)

Anonymous said...

Oh hunnie, I am soooo proud of you for coming out! This is Charmcat, donysa's friend(just in case you forgot!). I came out too. I am only half lez. I told my father years ago, but I told my mother after the election.
Anyways, I knew you were the first day I met you! I knew you had to be gay for me to love you so quickly!

Jennirhiow said...

oh, u're chinese? maybe u could give some pointers to my friend who still dare not tell his family that he's gay...

epicurist said...

Jase - Good on ya. I told my parents and brother a little over 16 years ago, and had a far worse reaction. Consider yourself lucky. My father and mother had similar feelings about their child not producing grandchildren. In many ways, when you come out, your family does too, and it takes some adjusting to re-acquaint. In the end, it should be about your happiness and your life. :)

Anonymous said...

"Me: Yea. I knew you'd probably be suspicious. Why else would you tell me there was a gay and lesbian club in your high school."

I do not remember that in the conversation.

the Girlfriend's reaction is funny, like you did something wrong. haha. she's understandable.

Anonymous said...

"Me: Yea. I knew you'd probably be suspicious. Why else would you tell me there was a gay and lesbian club in your high school."

I do not remember that in the conversation.

the Girlfriend's reaction is funny, like you did something wrong. haha. she's understandable.

Anonymous said...

unless i'm reading it the wrong way, or you're conveying the tone of her reaction poorly...

Pua; Bakin' and Tendin' Bar said...

Jase...that was an awesome post! Poignant, real, courageous and beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

richie rich said...

Hey! It was nice meeting you the other night...Wanted to browse your stuff and this is the first one that came up. it not right to say it's a bit funny? And cute..I remember telling my sister and she cried and mom was like yeah I know..i've been reading your letters!! What a snoop Mom's are. Anyways..see ya round!