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Coming Out to My Parents

"I Sent My Coming Out Letter to My Parents"

This week's confession comes from our anonymous Confession Booth group in the TrèsSugar Community. Weigh in with your advice below.

So I've been prepping to do this for several weeks now, refining and rewriting my letter over and over until it's exactly what I want to say and how I want to say it. I just clicked the send button and now it's in God's hands, awaiting their response . . . Have my support structure in place, just hope I am as ready as I think I am.

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GZO GZO 3 years
Hope all goes well! Just give them time to fully process everything... it may take time and it may be hard. Good luck! 
henna-red henna-red 3 years
Right. I don't know why there are soooo many people, not just your parents, who can't imagine or conceive of same LGBT love. Or, I suppose I can, it's just so opposite of my own mindset, that it's hard for me to accept the lack of acceptance, and imagination, and just general knowlege around the issue. My mom was the third of four sibs, second generation Hungarian of german descent. Her dad came over at age 8, and grew up on the south side of Chicago......she grew up in a small city in Ohio, where there was a large group of their particular ethnicity.....it was work, good work in the industrial area, that brought this particular group of immigrants in the 40's. There is a very strong, ugly color prejudice in this town, and in this group. I don't know how my mom missed buying into it.....guess it was her mom, who didn't emmigrate until the age of 26.....corresponded with my grandad and then married him in Europe and came over.....he wanted to marry someone from the "old country". My grandmom had come through Elis Island, where she saw bananas and black men for the first time. She didn't know what a banana was and she didn't know men came in that color....so she didn't grow up with this immigrant competition for work, housing....and she wasn't exposed to this prejudice until she moved over with grandad....and she never accepted or internalized it. So I grew up with a mom, as she did, who didn't have this, and many, many other prejudices. My mom was a very open and accepting woman, and she taught us that. So I'm very, very lucky. But I have sure met and know people with the same lack of understanding as your parents, the same lack of exposure to people they rant about. (It's easy to judge and to hate someone when you've never met or interacted with them. Much harder when you're actually face to face with reality.) So yes.....what you can do is live your life in front of them, and give them the chance to learn what they don't know, to internalize your truth for themselves. Takes time. :) If they now find they are learning to have a willing heart......anything is possible. Healing is an active, aggressive, energetic act.....and healing a prejudice of long standing duration..... I think ms. bubbles has hit on the most exciting thing for you....this is an incredible opportunity for you, and for them :)....the potential for growth.....again, all I can say is wow!
Bubbles12 Bubbles12 3 years
They probably knew on some level for a long time too and may have had more time than you think to get used to the idea. I'm glad it went so well. Over 60% of runaways in our local teen shelter are homeless for being something in the LGBT spectrum. To kick a child out into an often dangerous world because of that? It's just...evil imho. Glad to hear your parents can be fundamentalists and accepting! Now there is a stereotype I love to hear busted! I'm going to guess it was a proud moment for Jesus too. As for the let down, how much of your identity has been built on being different, not like them, being bi? Your sexuality is even your identifier here. This acceptance and even your feeling let down could signal a significant, positive shift in expanding your identity. Now that you're accepted by two of the most authoritative people in your life who belong to a usually hostile group -- is the battle as immediate? What does that free you to grow into? Sexuality is fundamental but it's a narrow definition of a human being. This is probably a death, and a birth too.
BiWife BiWife 3 years
seriously, henna, you've got some excellent perspective... You're right, I have worked hard to maintain some sort of connection with them because there is so much good that we used to have. I may have had a dark secret I kept from everyone, but that doesn't mean we had any less fun visiting every single dinosaur museum in the country while we traveled to churches. One of the things I feared the most in coming out was losing their safety net. They raised us to all know that if our world ever imploded, we could always come home. They would give anything to help us succeed. I didn't want to lose that, I always felt better off than a lot of people I knew growing up because my parents cared so much. I think the things I'm feeling now are a desire for them to become completely accepting rather than just tolerant. They said a few things that still kind of hurt, even though they were truly trying to understand and fumbled the delivery a bit. My dad said that he could imagine two women having a very strong friendship and giving each other companionship that was kind of like marriage. It must have taken him so much thinking and reading and talking to have gotten that far. I got to pull out the historical nugget of Victorian "Boston Marriages", which were largely widows who were good friends and provided companionship in the absence of their husbands. Also talked about the bachelor president (I can never remember his name, but whatever) and all of his love letters and letters to his sister about his love (for a man). Not sure if they believe me, but all they have to do is research it and they'll see everything that I did. Well, provided they search outside Glenn Beck's websites. Either way, we were able to have an honest back and forth about a topic we normally avoid like the plague. The problem with that conversation - what bugged me - was that he couldn't conceive of two men or two women actually *loving* each other. When they presumed I was poly of some sort, they immediately went to std's and promiscuity. They can't fathom loving more than one person, just as they can't fathom gays loving each other. They don't see my orientation as being something endemic - a part of me - they see it as something that I *do*. Seeking out women is something that I *do*, like a hobby. They don't understand it's about love, not sex. However, I know this is something that isn't going to work out overnight - I didn't even figure that out overnight. I can't expect them to understand it all right away, so for what they are capable of, they did very well. All I can do is live my life in front of them and *show* them that us LGBT's are about more than just sex. Right?
henna-red henna-red 3 years
You were prepared for a major emotional event, for tears, for accusations, for lamenting.....and mom and dad didn't come through. You prepared for the worst, and so far, have been disappointed. Those bulwarks weren't breached, or even scaled! It's a let down of your expectations. We anticipate all kinds of things. I know I've had the reaction you're describing occasionaly at work, when I'm anticipating the worst, usually with some kind of confrontation, and then things go much more smoothly, and more low key then I anticipated. I find it easy to let things get under my skin, and then blow them up, out of proportion to the situation......just because I'm feeling hostile around something, doesn't mean the others involved are... I'll bet mom and dad spent some time talking about how they felt, and processing your very thorough letter....and their response. And they've surprised you. Actually, I'm not quite so surprised as you are....they raised an intelligent, capable daughter....someone who aggressively works to resolve the issues in her life that so many others avoid. Now I understand that there was a lot of ugly, judgemental stuff, but not all of the tone of your posts, when you speak of your family, is negative. You've worked really hard to glean the positive from the negative, and to not just sacrifice your family to your hate of their fundamental message and teachings. That's pretty incredible! Not many people can accomplish that, in my experience. And it seems your parents are feeling the same way.....they don't want to lose someone they love and value. How lovely. :) I expect there will be challenges in the future. That kind of prejudice doesn't just evaporate....takes a really concerted effort to 1) watch your words around an issues that you've never censored yourself on before, and 2) understand and accept that there is, possibly, an issue with one of your kids that you are unable to manipulate to a place where you're ok with it. I'd chalk their response up to your letter. You told them how their words made you feel. That's really a big deal. You did so much work around that letter, and now that work is paying off. I'm sure there will be more to do....this is, still, just the beginning of a process for you and your parents....and for the rest of your family as the information starts to make the rounds. You may yet find the response you're expecting coming from a different direction. But don't overbuild those bulwarks.....I don't know that they'll help much if you get blindsided from an unexpected direction. Let yourself react, girl. Let yourself feel those emotions. ( I can just feel your heart pounding when I put myself into your shoes, waiting for that response.) I'm so happy for you that you're taking this step, to live in honesty with your family! Wow! Coming from where you come from.....just, wow!
BiWife BiWife 3 years
Very confused and thrown off... my parents were actually positive and mostly concerned about my husband's feelings about me sleeping with other people (as they are assuming I have or have had girlfriends on the side), as well as the std risks that go along with having multiple partners. Had to give them the "well, if you've gotta pick an orientation, girl-on-girl is the safest option out there" talk. I don't think it's possible to be "ready" to talk to your folks about your sex life... ever... Very weird to talk about sex with fundie folks... so now I'm left feeling odd/confused because this was the one outcome I didn't prepare fore. I didn't even let myself spend more than a few seconds *hoping* for this kind of outcome. why am I not more happy???!!!! I mean, I felt more internal elation when I fixed the vcr today.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 3 years
First off, congratulations for coming out. :) Very proud of you for doing that, wonderful!! <3 Although I can't help but chuckle at your comment number 13, oh gods, the last thing you want is to have your parents imagining you having sex LOL I hope that everything will work out for you :) I agree that it's wise to wait for them to bring it out on their own; they may bring it up this time or next time, after all, it's a subject some parents may not like talking about with their kids..yeah, as a parent, I think I will always see my son as a kid..like..almost forever. But I hope that they will have an open mind and will talk to you about it when the time is right for all of you :) Good luck, hon :D
BiWife BiWife 3 years
T Minus 60 minutes til I see my folks in person for the first time since coming out.... Such a ball of impatience and nerves... Trying to make sure I don't push them too much and allow them to bring it up on their own.... However, I literally could care less about lunch or what happened this week at their church, just want to hear them speak their mind. Trying so hard to remember it took me 20 years to bring this up, they're allowed at least a couple of weeks to mull it over....
BiWife BiWife 3 years
Ikr?! Thankfully I'm telling them I'm bi and faithful to my (male) husband, so hopefully they just imagine me having sex with him (if they have to have a mental picture). But ya, it's fairly mortifying to have to give parents details of your sex life (turn on's, etc). However, this will hopefully end the homophobic comments the insist on making all the time.
Bubbles12 Bubbles12 3 years
Yay! Great sign from the Pa. Why is it one of the biggest identifiers of the day is what gender we bonk? Argh. Who wants to have to mention their sex life to their parents even indirectly for any reason except to announce grandchildren. If I had to go to my parents and say "Yes, I need to mention I'm having sex in such a way that you'll be forced to IMAGINE the kind of sex I'm having" I'd wear a paper bag and pretend I was talking to someone I'd rather tell. Like my priest.
henna-red henna-red 3 years
I hear when the jury comes back too quickly, it's not good news. Take heart! :)
BiWife BiWife 3 years
argh! the suspense!!! my dad just left a supportive/positive comment on a random status update, it's a good sign, but I really want to hear what they have to say on what I said to them...
BiWife BiWife 3 years
Cherry - I keep meaning to watch that movie, but haven't gotten around to it. I have seen some others like it, read Mel White's book Stranger At the Gate: to be gay and American (or something like that) as well as The Children Are Free (forget the name of the author) and another autobiography by a gay ex-marine. Great stuff, inspired me to start writing my own research and autobiographical book on being gay and Christian in the Baptist/evangelical fundamentalist culture.
BiWife BiWife 3 years
thank you guys :) I'm trying sooo hard now to be patient and not staring at my inbox/phone like a giant pot of water waiting to boil... I do feel immense relief that I have put all the cards on the table in the kindest, most loving and understanding way, I have done absolutely everything that I can, it's all up to them now. Still, I'm a generally impatient person, so my default is to be anxious to get my answer already. Have to keep reminding myself that they might be reeling from this revelation. Maybe they really had no idea that I wasn't totally straight? Maybe they only ever worried about Zach (he's the only one without a longterm hetero partner, sister has been with her live-in boyfriend for almost 2 years & I've been married over 9)? Maybe my extreme hopes are actually bubbling into the realm of reasonable possibilities and they're looking into inclusive/progressive Christianity with a brand new perspective. Maybe I'm rocking their whole perception of what LGBT's do with their lives? I can only hope that I am making a deep impact on their views - but there's always the potential that they're just trying to decide exactly how displeased to be...
lifesoul lifesoul 3 years
wish all goes well for you, you deserve to be happy,,,wait but keep a positive outlook...wish all the best for you
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 3 years
congrats biwife. I hope everything goes well, if not right away then eventually as henna said. have you seen the documentary For the Bible Tells Me So? It's a really interesting documentary about conservative christian families with gay children, how many of them started out believing that being gay was a sin, and some are now lgbt activists and so forth. It's on netflix instant and worth watching. I suspect you might relate to it, and if so, that it might give you some comfort while you are waiting for a response.
Bubbles12 Bubbles12 3 years
*clap*clap*clap* (the good kind!) Bravo!
bluejay17 bluejay17 3 years
Incredible courage! Very good for you, it must have been really hard but you made it. Be very proud! Totally agree with Henna's comment.
henna-red henna-red 3 years
Boy, I'll bet it does. I really admire your courage to do this,coming from such a judgemental place. I have a lot of friends who are very conservative christian folks, and I'm not out, at all, about being pagan, with several of them. I'm sure a couple get some of it, since I'm now on fb and I pull stuff from all kind of different sources, but since I've just moved back here to the edge of the bible belt, I've gone a little more low key. You know, eve if their initial response isn't acceptance, it doesn't mean they won't, at some point, discover that they're having a bi daughter may change their deep held beliefs....you never know. When people are faced with a personal challenge to their beliefs, when their beliefs mean needing to sacrifice someone they love, they can choose to change their belief. Doesn't always happen, but sometimes it does. Anyway, I admire your courage, and your preperation, and all of the work you've done to get to this place.
BiWife BiWife 3 years
ty Henna, they've not responded yet so I'm hopeful that they are taking time to process and not giving in to knee-jerk reactions. they could still decide to reject me, but at least they aren't launching into homophobic rants right away. Feeling better and better as time passes. Feels good to have that weight off my shoulders.
henna-red henna-red 3 years
Girl, you know we're here for you. Share what you want and need to, or keep what you want or need to yourself....I'm sending my best thoughts your way.
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