From: (Scott VanTussenbrook)
Newsgroups: soc.motss
Subject: Re: coming out - help?
Date: 17 Apr 1996 07:57:13 GMT
Organization: University of Utah Computer Center

For what it's worth, my $.02 on the "telling your parents" thing...

I came out to myself last summer while I was on a summer semester in 
Germany.  When I came home, I was homeless and penniless and the only 
practical solution was to move back in with the folks.  This was hard 
enough anyway after having been out on my own for years, but now trying 
to live in their house and conceal that I was *gay* immediately began to 
annoy the shit out of me.  At first it wasn't too hard, because I wasn't 
really "living" it...  not dating, not going to clubs, etc. 

But soon I began to come out to various people.  When I told my best 
friend, he took that opportunity to tell me that he too was gay.  That 
didn't make it too hard to dive headlong into the "scene" here in town, 
(such as it is in Salt Lake City, but that's another story... ) since 
in him I had an instant circle of gay friends and an immediate support 
group.  Suddenly, being gay wasn't some abstract part of me.  I found a 
boyfriend, and we had a very educational, periodically hot & sweaty 6 
weeks before we mutually moved into "lets just be friends" mode, (but 
again, another story.  I digress once again.)  I had told people at 
work.  Everyone in my social circles knew, including old friends who had 
also recently come out, old friends who hadn't but who have mostly been 
supportive, and of course I had my ever-widening circle of new gay 
friends; it didn't take long until the only people I was lying to anymore 
were my parents, and I was *living* with them....  It was a completely 
intolerable situation but I had been warned by my friend Rob not to tell 
them untill I was no longer living in their house.  He did it that way 
and every night he'd come home to fights and suggestions to go in for 
electroshock therapy...

Flash forward to Easter Weekend, and the White Party in Palm Springs.  
(ample material for still more digressions, but....  )  Besides the 
obvious fun and partying of that weekend, I think what impacted me most 
about it was the incredibly empowering feeling of being in town with 
30,000 or so other gay men and taking it over...  we walked around town, 
went shopping, ate in restaurants surrounded by other gay men, 
constantly; it was so easy to just *be* gay, be proud of it, and there 
wasn't a *damn* thing anyone around you would say about it.  (Not to 
mention Berry, Rob and I sharing a suite with two other friends, and over 
the course of the weekend all of us watching our formerly "straight" friends 
turn into big ol' fags...  )

The energy from that weekend is the reason, I'm sure, that I was able to 
do what I did last Thursday.  (Yup, it's been less than a week...)  I got 
out of the shower that morning, didn't know anyone was home, and as I was 
walking through the kitchen, mom was there and spotted (gasp!) the nipple 
ring.  She was genuinely shocked, and went off on this big speech about 
"yes I know you're an adult, but really, you were not raised like 
that...  etc."  I listened the whole time thinking, if she only knew 
*how* unlike I was raised I had been behaving, she'd forget about the 
silly little nipple ring.

That day at work I started to feel so awful about all the lying and 
deception that I called home to make sure mom & dad would both be home so 
I could have a talk with them.  I kept it short:  "Well, I only have one 
thing to say here, and I'm pretty sure you both have already guessed it, 
in fact I'd be pretty surprised if you haven't, but I'll just say it so 
it'll be out and we can talk about it.  I'm gay."  To tell the truth, I 
can't even remember what we talked about for the next two hours.  Mom 
cried.  Dad was too stunned to do or say much of anything.  But I think 
several things made it easier:  one, my age.  I'm no teenager anymore, 
and way past the point where they'd think I was just confused or didn't 
know what I was talking about.  I had obviously thought this through, and 
they respected me enough as an adult to just begin accepting it right 
there.  No talk of going to hell (surprising, since this is a very 
orthodox Mormon household we're talking about here).  Also, I reiterated 
over and over that since I've been completely out to myself I've never 
been happier or felt better about myself.  My mom admitted that this was 
obvious, in the last year I've dropped 50 lbs, gotten a tan, fixed that 
pesky acne thing, and basically started taking care of myself for once in 
my life...  I simply said, "yes, this is the way things are, yes this is 
what makes me happy, and yes, I'm sorry I didn't come out with this years 

I left that night and stayed with a friend because it felt too weird to 
stay there.  I found out that mom had gone with my sister to a bookstore 
and bought "Beyond Acceptance," "Straight Parents, Gay Children" and 
"Peculiar People" (the latter one dealing specifically with the gay 
Mormon issu) and both mom & dad have taken it upon themselves to get used 
to this, to accept it as the way things are, and mom even said that any 
problems they have dealing with it are their problems, not mine.

My turn to be stunned.  The moral of the story, you absolutely never 
know.  I fully expected my dad to hit me.  I expected to come home the 
next morning and find my stuff tossed out on the front lawn.  Nope.  
Pretty much business as usual around the house, except the final brick 
has been tossed out of that wheelbarrow I've been carrying around for 
so many years and now I don't have *anyone* close to me that I have to 
lie to anymore.

I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop.  It's only been a few days, 
who knows that in the coming months this will blow up again.  Maybe.  
What I do know now is that in all my fears about having that talk, I 
grossly underestimated my parents' love for me as their child and their 
ability to keep on loving me in the face of such upsetting news.  But as 
my mom said herself, the sun came up this morning, the sky didn't fall 
down, and the earth is still turning like it should, and life goes on.

To the original poster in this thread, (ok, that's terribly impersonal I 
know but that message is gone now) good luck and hang in there.  My 
parents have made me proud of them, other parents I know of have been 
less understanding. I remember that night talking, mainly because I 
seemed to be the only one capable of speech, watching my mom cry, 
watching my dad drop his head and rub his temples, and at that point 
still wondering when the hell they were going to say anything... and even 
then I was more relieved than I have ever been at any time in my life, 
thinking over and over, "Thank GOD that at least they know..."

Good luck.

Return to Gay:Stories:Coming Out
The Bibble Pages, Christian Molick,