I am having trouble here lately. I want to come out to my parents. I'm just not sure that I can do it. I mean, I choke up on all my sentences and words when I speak to them in person. How would you suggest I come out? I was thinking of sending them a letter because I can describe what I am saying pretty well in email. What do you think? -Thanks, T
It's great that you're ready to come out to your parents, but should you do it via email? Some people do express themselves better in writing, so I'd say an email or letter is a good way to go. Keep in mind that to some folks in your parents' generations an email is a very impersonal form of communication. Only you know how tech-phobic they are. If they are not email savvy, you may want to hit them up with a throw back—a nice handwritten letter (and don't skimp on the number of pages). In the letter, describe all of your emotions about being gay (the good and the bad) and explain what their love and acceptance means to you. Talk about how your goals in life haven't changed and that you are the same person—just out. By describing your joys and pains, you invite them to better understand who you are as a person, not as a label.
Here's the hard part: You should give them the letter in person and wait until they read it. Don't just toss it and retreat. If its an email, don't just write it and wait.
Whether you know it or not, your parents have dreams for you and the gay card may throw a wrench in their complicated wheel of expectations. But as you guessed, this is about you being free to be yourself and not about their expectations for you.
After they read the letter reiterate how being closeted makes you feel and what feelings you have as a gay person. If you still want to have kids, tell them that. If you still want to marry (a man), tell them that. Then, give them a chance to vent. Also, make sure you do this alone with just you and your folks.
There is an infinite number of ways this could go down, so don't drive yourself crazy imagining every scenario. It's much easier to anticipate only two reactions: They'll hug you or they'll freak out.
If they blow up on you, give them time to vent. However, keep a close buddy or relative on standby just in case your house turns into a Jerry Springer set.
Regardless of the outcome, there is support waiting for you. It could be your friends, other family members, a local community center (they have support groups filled with other people that just came out) or even places like the Gay Life forum. Even if your coming out goes well, seek a support system and take time to map out your life as an out gay man. It's up to you where that road leads.
Happy coming out and have no fear—you're making a brave move and we're here to support you!
P.S. Read these articles and tips before you write your letter:
- Coming Out Step-by-Step
- Will My Family Stop Loving Me If I Come Out?
- Dealing With Family Rejection
- Coming Out Stories