I'm Coming Out Queer to My Evangelical Family

So, I find that being in the closet sucks. Too much energy and shame gets devoted to pretending I am someone I'm not. 

I want out of the lie.

Problem is...I have insanely religious extended family. And I don't care to argue with them about hell-fire, nurture vs. nature, scripture, or praying away the gay.

They're visiting this week. I'm not going to make an announcement or take people aside to talk about it. I've decided not to hide all my queer stuff (books, pictures, etc.) up in the closet, as I usually do. I've also changed my facebook bio to include my orientation. If questions arise, I'm not going to prevaricate; I'm just going to be honest. If there are any lead-ins to a discussion about who am I seeing, etc., I'm going to come out. Usually I dodge the issue or lie.

I would rather not let on that I'm an atheist at the same time. That might be tricky if they get all religulous about things.

I hope this doesn't end up causing a huge rift. My parents don't deserve that. I might become persona non grata for a couple of years. I don't care that much. I won't tolerate disrespectful comments or bigotry though. 

FSM, I'm nervous!

Views: 326

Tags: coming, evangelical, family, out, queer

Comment by Sagacious Hawk on May 8, 2013 at 11:52am

So your extended family doesn't know, but do your parents?

Comment by Gallup's Mirror on May 8, 2013 at 12:14pm

Let me see if I understand this. You're on the verge of coming out-- not once, but twice-- as gay and as an atheist, while outnumbered, to people who may insult and shun you for it. Why? You're fed up and exhausted with hiding to appease these people, because everything about you is exactly as it should be, and everything about them that would take offense to that is absolutely in the fucked-up wrong.

I admire your courage, Kairan. None of us should have to BE courageous simply to live our lives in a world full of religious crackpots. But we're free. It's so worth it. You knew that already or you wouldn't be doing this would you? 

Bravo, Kairan. Bravo.

Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on May 8, 2013 at 12:30pm

 If they turn their back on you, that just makes room for openings with people you make the choice to share your life with. 

Their loss, not yours. 

Hope it works out for you. Keep  us updated. 

Comment by Strega on May 8, 2013 at 12:52pm

I seriously know the feeling, although I didn't have the religious baggage.  It took me a long time to "come out" to my mother, simply because I cared for her so much I didn't want to throw her a curved ball.  And so I let her meet my "flatmate" - who she actually detested, and left the signs everywhere, which she politely ignored.  Finally I got into an elevator with her, so small it only carries 4 midgets, and said, "are you alright with me liking women rather than men?".  Much to my astonishment, she simply said, "emotions go where they go, I realise that you know", and that was it.  You would be astonishingly fortunate to have my experience.

The critical thing is that you frame it as who you are, not what you choose to do.  If you simply state that it is how your chemistry works, not some maverick choice you are making, then I think it will help.  Do not apologise for who you are.  And when they offer some prayers, you can say that until they understand what they are praying for, it's unlikely to be effective.  You may also ask if they are going to pray for you to be someone else - which is effectively what they would be saying.  And at some point, you are going to have to ask them to go away and digest the situation before delivering any more opinions.

Good luck, honey, and just remember - it is who you are, not what you choose.

Comment by Cameron on May 8, 2013 at 2:16pm

I hope this doesn't end up causing a huge rift. My parents don't deserve that.

You don't deserve that.

I do wish you the best of luck.  I know how nerve-wracking it can be.  But I think that you have an idea of how you want to do it and it seems like a good plan.  I agree with Strega here: don't apologize for being who you are.  You do you and let everyone else do themselves...or something like that :D 

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on May 8, 2013 at 2:48pm

Would it be possible that they already know? It might be better to tell your parents or siblings first and get them “on board” before making a general announcement to everyone. I know it should not matter but it would give time to discuss it with you before anyone gets to offer their opinions to your immediately family. It will also let them see that you have considered them before everyone else. I don’t see why you have to tell the extended family. It’s no big deal. You could leave that up to others to do. I mean there is no reason to need to discuss it with anyone else.

I hope it goes well for you and that you are surprised by how easy it ends up being.  

Comment by kris feenstra on May 8, 2013 at 4:43pm

There was a somewhat recent study from the University of Montreal indicating that being open reduces levels of stress and anxiety. It's not a particularly shocking revelation, and there are certain to be some very sad exceptions to this trend, but it is a little reaffirming.

Being out with certain people may introduce new problems in life, but it also introduces new opportunities. It puts an individual in a position to move forward in life and relationships instead of stagnating while in hiding.

I don't think coming out can actually cause a rift. you are who you are. Your parents are who they are. If your sexuality coupled with their views equals a rift, that rift is already there right now. Coming out can only make people aware of that rift, not create it.  You won't be able to see how big it is (if it is truly there) until it is exposed.

It sounds like a good call you are making. I hope it goes well.

Comment by Grady Jean on May 8, 2013 at 10:01pm

Well, I'd personally advise a bullet proof vest and a clear path to at least three different exits. That said, confidence is everything in these matters; whether you're coming out as a Homosexual or an Atheist (Or a liberal, which in my family can be just as harrowing), just remember that your identity is your armor, and that they can only wound you if you let them get under it. There's no easy or gentle way to go about it.

Comment by Grady Jean on May 8, 2013 at 10:08pm

Also, once you're out, you have to be careful not to let yourself sink back in. Also, be mindful of attempted interventions: They are NOT fun. Ever. I was invited to one for a friend once. I went not as a participant, but as support for him, and I never regretted it. He'd needed all the support he could get by the time it was done.

Comment by Heather Spoonheim on May 9, 2013 at 12:55am

I can't imagine how difficult this must be for you - but always remember that there are people here who prefer the real you to any closet door.

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