December 5, 2013

A Year of Coming Out and Being Out

I always get really retrospective around the holidays, and for good reasons I suppose. Moving from Thanksgiving to Christmas and eventually the New Year marks a year of change, good and bad, and the beginning of new experiences. Looking back a year ago, I was living two lives. I had recently come out to my mom, which she was really receptive of. I expected nothing less since her best friend is gay; she had been an advocate of gay rights since I could remember, and she had always made sure that myself, my brother, and my dad were sensitive to using “gay” as a slur. I guess that’s mother’s intuition, as she wasn’t surprised when I told her. She thought that I might have been gay since I was three years old. In a way, this disappointed me. I wanted some sort of shock factor, not in a negative way but in the “holy shit, I didn’t expect that, that’s dope and I’m happy for you,” sort of way. Following my mom, I came out to all of my high school friends that I still associated with. I suppose this started a ripple effect in my life and the double life I was living was increasingly blurred. My brother took the news with ease, my fraternity was, and still is, extremely supportive.

The beginning of October marked the dreaded time to tell my conservative father. My mo had kept my secret for a year, and it was fed up with not having told my dad. I was accepted to an LGBTQ conference, O4UTC, for members of the community interested in technology. I was going to fly back to California, my home state, and spend the day with my parents on Sunday. I couldn’t just show up unannounced and my dad isn’t dumb, so it came time to burst out the doors, once again. My dad was, well, less than receptive. I expected that much, but it still hurt to see my fears materialize into reality. I quickly ran to my support systems and vented. My mom reassuring me that he’ll come around, in a few years.

This Thanksgiving break marked the end of my immediate coming out journey. I know it’s always a process, but for now I’m done telling people. My dad had instructed me not to tell any of my other family members and I didn’t. But, my social media outlets are pretty transparent. Family on my dad’s side saw an Instagram post of me in rainbow suspenders with a caption that outed me, #sorrynotsorry. Fortunately I went to Chicago, to my mom’s side of the family, for Thanksgiving and didn’t have to deal with that situation right away. In a similar fashion, tweeting was the outing mechanism. I assumed my cousins knew since they followed me, but they were dancing around the subject for days. Eventually I just said it, and as I thought, they already knew. What took my by complete surprise was when my aunt casually asked me over breakfast if I had a “boyfriend?” My jaw dropped as I looked back and forth from her to my uncle. The word “boyfriend” rang in my ears for minutes as the look of disbelief waned from my face. She informed me that my whole family knew, including my extremely Catholic grandparents. She assured me that no one cared and that everyone still loved me the same. This time, I didn’t care about the shock factor. As my personal astonishment subsided, I was happy I didn’t have to tell anyone anymore. My mom’s family sees me as me. I’m still Alex, the same as I have been.

For now, I’m happy with who knows and if anyone else finds out, that’s cool too. Being gay isn’t going to change for me anytime soon, or anytime at all. I’ve come to terms with myself and have countless people who really care about me. It’s been a whirlwind of a year in terms of personal growth and I’m excited to see what the new year will bring for me. Until next time.


1 comment:

  1. A great perspective. Thanks for sharing!