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: 333

Tags: coming, evangelical, family, out, queer

Comment by _Robert_ on May 9, 2013 at 5:47am

I like your approach. No need to "confess" your orientation and just be you. I wonder if fundies think they "failed" as parents-and feel embarrassed in front of their religious friends and church members. In any event, time and patience.

Comment by Dave Schofield on May 9, 2013 at 4:07pm

Hmm, I think it's going to be tough, but worth it.  I'm not gay, and I'm not admitting to my fundamentalist mother that I'm an atheist, that would be the end of our relationship, but even just admitting to myself I'm no longer a Christian or deist felt great, and I think my whole outlook has become more positive, so your experience will be 100x more significant, and I hope all positive.  I expect you'll find allies and enemies amongst the wider group, inevitably. 

Comment by Kairan Nierde on May 9, 2013 at 7:14pm

Thanks for everyone's advice and support. I am so stressed about this. I haven't been talking about it much and it is so nice to be able to come here "type it out." My parents (a lapsed Catholic and lapsed Baptist to Catholic convert) already know I'm bisexual/queer/whatever(lol). My parents think it's a bad idea to let the rest of the family know. I don't know if they say that out of embarrassment or because they want to protect me.

I figure people already suspect something is up. I don't act like a very feminine woman despite my affinity for jewelry and make-up, and people typically stereotype women like me as lesbian.  The difficulty with being attracted to women, men, and other people (that's why I call myself queer instead of bi) is that it's hard to explain to binary thinkers--people who think you're either gay or straight...there's no concept of asexual, pansexual, or queer in their minds. I've also had people ask me why I don't just ignore being attracted to people who aren't male. The "choice" question is harder to navigate when you're queer...I say I have no choice in who I'm attracted to but I do choose not to suppress queer attractions because it's healthier to be who I am.

 

Comment by Kairan Nierde on May 9, 2013 at 7:16pm

Time to go decorate and clean.

Comment by Unseen on May 9, 2013 at 7:32pm

May I suggest: before they come out, a singing telegram?

To the tune of "I'm Late" from Disney's Alice In Wonderland:

I'm gay, I'm gay, in a very definitive way.
No time to explain. Get it in your brain
That I'm gay, I'm gay, I'm gay.

Comment by Kairan Nierde on May 12, 2013 at 7:48pm

It went...alright. Grandma said she thought I would say I'm gay. After which she spoke of her appreciation of women's legs. Grandpa was silent except to agree about her hobby of appreciating women's legs. Then they began to talk about an old family friend who divorced three times. I had no idea what they were doing...but I figured their abrupt change of subject was not that big of a deal.

Later that day my little cousin would exclaim "that's disgusting" when he found out about two men dating. Grandpa said, "that is disgusting." Grandpa got up and moved when I sat next to him and was more than eager to leave early. I'm a little bit peeved that he's behaving with such passive aggression instead of talking to me.

Comment by Strega on May 12, 2013 at 8:07pm

I think your Grandpa needs a bit longer to come to terms with it.  His generation were less accepting of homosexuality.  Now he has a conflict going on in his head.  Sounds like your Grandma will help him sort himself out.

how do you feel now its out?  Are you ok?

Comment by Kairan Nierde on May 29, 2013 at 10:31pm

Thanks for asking Strega. You are such a sweetheart! I hope you're right. Grandma rules the family and her word is law. Well...I guess I'm ok. I've had some bad days and some good days but overall I am doing well. I just have to keep things in perspective and give it time, right?

I felt intensely relieved directly afterward. That night, I had a trippy dream about finding some rotten cake underneath some newspapers in a strange bedroom and being so happy to be able to clean it up...in the dream, the cake was something that had been stinking up the place and bothering me for years, but I never could figure out the source of the stench. The next morning I had a good laugh at how obvious my subconscious had been. I mean, really? I guess I got a dreamworld peak at my subconscious' architectural rendering of my psyche--which is pretty damn bizarre--can't say I liked the place. So, I was really emotionally relieved, on many levels.

I didn't have time to come out to all branches of the family. Perhaps gossip will take care of that for me... I do wonder if my aunts and uncles will want me to hide my orientation from their kids. That kind of has me a bit worried. Obviously, I'm not about to get graphic in front of them, but I don't want to hide the innocent things anymore.

This last week, I got a crap haircut and then tried to fix it with another crap haircut. I was freaking out. I got so fed up with crap hairdressers that I trimmed it myself and will now have to wait for the damage done to grow out. Oh well. I have a very short, moderately "lesbian" style. So, there's another coming out for me, too. I feel pretty comfortable "looking the part" but still being in Kentucky, I feel a lot of pressure to conform. I feel like I have to compensate for the butch hair-do with feminine clothes/jewelry/make-up/etc. or I'm going to catch a lot of shit from haters...sad to say, but I don't want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time looking like myself. I still fem it up for work too. Business casual meets drag. :) It's such a line to walk, being true to yourself and protecting yourself from discrimination.

Coming out has pushed me past a place of stagnation too. I feel a bit freer--even if it is just the freedom to step up to the plate in other areas of my life. I'm glad I did it. Even if I end up with a hetero marriage--being out is worth it to me.

Well. This post makes me think I should keep a journal. Damn.

Comment by Physeter on October 9, 2013 at 11:29pm

Hope you don't mind me posting here months later, I just wanted to say thank you for an inspiring story.

I love that dream. Your sexuality was a cake, something delicious and wonderful, but it (the situation) became rotten and smelly because it was hidden so long...

I can't begin to compare myself to you. I imagine if I ever come out as atheist to my parents, it won't be much like if I was coming out gay (I'm not gay). But still...when my folks are coming to my apartment, I have to hide all my atheist books, take the beer out of the fridge and hide it in the closet. When I go home for the weekend, I usually clear the browser history in my laptop because it's full of atheist sites.

Hope you're keeping that journal. Doing that has been quite helpful for me. The best part is going back and seeing how your thinking has grown and changed.

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