Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Coming Out Month: 14 Questions
Back to Coming Out Month at "This Gay Relationship" now, with a list of questions parents could ask (in one form or another) when their child tells them he's gay.
Below each question, I've included a brief answer I'd give if I were coming out today, which I hope helps you arrive at your own answer (keeping in mind your specifics will be different).
(Of course, my perspective on coming out, since I actually came out in 1986 and am now 52 years old, will be different from yours. But I'm hopeful you'll find something in my answers that will guide you.)
Question #1: How do you know you're gay?
I know I'm gay because I've always been attracted to men more than women. Even when I was a little boy, I found male teachers and neighbors nicer to look at, as well as male actors, singers, and dancers on TV. I've always considered men more interesting and appealing. That's just the way I am.
Question #2: How long have you known you're gay?
I guess I've known for most of my life that I was different from other boys, but I'd say I didn't know I was gay until my late teens. That's when I really became aware of a strong attraction toward men that wasn't there for women.
Question #3: Are you gay because of something I did or didn't do?
No, I understand you did everything you could to raise me the best way you knew how. I believe I was born gay, as many other people do, so there's nothing you could have done that would have made me turn out straight.
Question #4: How do you feel about being gay?
I won't lie to you, it's been tough acknowledging my sexual orientation and accepting it. It's taken a lot of years to come to terms with something society still doesn't approve of in many respects. But I realize now that being gay is just another part of me, like anything else, and I'm okay with it.
Question #5: Why did you have to come out now?
There's no good time to come out; whether I tell you now or later won't make a difference. Ultimately, I have to consider what's right for me, and I decided now was the best time to tell you so I can get on with living my life, including finding someone to love and to love me back.
Question #6: Have you gotten any information about being gay?
Yes, as I tried over the years to understand what being gay would mean for me, I did a lot of research and reading on the subject. And what I learned helped me in terms of breaking down the stereotypes and realizing every gay person is different, and I can be gay in whatever way works best for me.
Question #7: What does this mean for your future?
As I see it, my future is no different from that of someone who's straight. Homosexuality, in general, is accepted by a lot more people than it was, and there's no reason why I can't live a happy, productive, and fulfilling life just like everyone else. No need to worry about me; I'll get along fine.
Question #8: When do you plan to tell your father (or mother)?
Since I'm telling you now, I see no reason putting off telling him (or her). I don't want to live with this secret any longer; the sooner he (or she) knows, the sooner I can get on with living my life the way I was meant to. Plus, I don't want to put you in a position of keeping this from him (or her).
Question #9: Does your brother (or sister) know?
No, I haven't told my sister yet. You're the first person I wanted to tell, and, now that I've had this experience with you, I hope to find it a little easier telling the other important people in my life. I understand every time I tell someone, the discussion will get a little easier.
Question #10: What am I supposed to say to family members, friends, and neighbors?
Telling other people shouldn't be a concern of yours. I'm the one who's gay, so it's up to me to tell the people who I think should know. Anyone I choose not to tell doesn't need to know. Whether or not they know shouldn't make any difference to them.
Question #11: Do you know other gay people?
I've had difficulty meeting other gay people, but I've met some, and I consider them good friends. I don't want you to worry that because I'm gay, I'll never meet other people like me and end up alone. There are lots of gay people, and I'm hopeful I won't have a problem meeting that special someone.
Question #12: What about what the bible says about homosexuality and your soul?
I'm not so sure what some people claim the bible says about homosexuality is entirely correct. I think a lot of bible passages are open to interpretation, and some people use them in ways that serve their purposes, whatever those purposes may be. And I consider my soul to be between me and God.
Question #13: Are you sexually active?
Obviously, discussing my sex life with you makes me a little uncomfortable, in the same way discussing the details of your sex life with me would make you uncomfortable. But I will tell you I've had sex with other men.
Question #14: Do you practice safe sex?
I appreciate your concern for my health and wellbeing. If I feel comfortable enough with a partner to engage in sexual activities considered risky, I always practice safer sex. Everyone, gay or straight, should practice safer sex to protect ourselves and their partners.