February 7, 2012

Brotherly Love

I recently came out to my older brother. Coming out is rarely an easy process, but from my observations and experiences, it is often unusually difficult for gay men to come out to their straight brothers. This was certainly the case for me, especially because my brother is also a student here at Duke, so the issue was of rather pressing importance, lest someone out me to him before I had had the chance to talk to him myself. I was definitely nervous when I told him, but I also knew it was necessary and that I wanted to be the one to tell him, so I overcame my fear and just did it.

His response was amazing. Here is part of it:

“First off, understand that I'm your brother and nothing will ever keep me from accepting you and loving you. I understand that you are who you are and that's ok with me. I firmly believe that you have to do what makes you happy in this life. [...] Basically, spark notes for this message is that I love you no matter what and completely support you. Be who you are, not who people want you to be. I'm sorry if I upset you with my actions and please know that you can talk to me about anything. I'll call you a bit later today; I have to run some errands and what not right now. Love you.”

Yeah, so I have a pretty great brother. He reacted much better than my parents (I’ll save that story for another time, feel free to ask me about it some time). I don’t think there’s any better feeling in the world than having someone close to you tell you that they love you unconditionally.

While my coming out experience went rather well, I understand that not everyone who reads this post is out. I also understand that not everyone has the luxury of being able to come out. However, if you are merely waiting for “the right time,” I urge you to really think about getting it over with. That perfect moment may never come and, though I am hardly urging you to kick down the closet door, you may consider at least cracking it. No longer having to keep a mental tally of who knows and who doesn’t is pretty liberating. Yes, coming out is a terrifying process, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

[Author's Note: Don't come out until you're absolutely ready. I'm by no means saying anyone has to come out right now. If you need to talk to anyone about coming out, feel free to contact me or any of the BDU contributors. This might help you as well.]


  1. I totally agree with how liberating it is to not have to keep a mental tally. This is the 21st century, word spreads pretty rapidly with technology. I don't even know who is in the loop anymore back home, and quite frankly I don't really care. Life is too short to spend so much energy trying to be who you are not. Great post.
    PS - You seem to have a great brother.

  2. Glad to see everything turned out okay with you and your bro.

  3. That kind of just made my morning. I love stories of acceptance. Hope maybe your brother will be able to help you/strengthen you in terms of further encounters with your parents.