Monday, August 23, 2010
Coming Out to Family & Friends cont...
Making the choice to come out is your own and I hope you get to do it on your own terms. Just make sure you take the time to think about the steps you want to take and the manner in which you want to do it. Just keep in mind you can’t control how people will respond, some with love you more than ever and some will have a difficult time understanding. Let those people go, let them take the time they need to figure things out in their own mind. If they really love you, they will come back. As for those who reject you, you can’t change them. Just love them and accept them for who they are.
I had come out to someone in the late 1990’s. I was living in Melbourne and had met a guy through Church, he was a lovely guy and engaged. He wasn’t your average LDS member, he had dreadlocks and had his own take on how to live the gospel. The thing I liked about him the most, was that he was very open minded about things. I was attracted to this guy, primarily because I knew if I came out to him he would be cool and non judgmental.
I finally summed up the courage to come out to him, although it was in a very convoluted way. I had sent him a email with a report on a subject we’d discussed, I edited the article and inserted comments about how I felt about guys and that I was gay and wanted to come out. At first glance, the article looked like the original, he would only see my edits if he read the complete article. Well, he did read the article and called me soon after. We met, spoke and I found his warmth and friendship encouraging.
He was the first person I had ever told that I was gay and that experience could not have been better. Over the coming weeks and months we spoke more about my situation and again I found his thoughts and views very helpful. However, I managed to smother this guy and he eventually asked for some space. It really hurt, but I knew I had put too much on him and was asking too much. We met a few weeks later and he gave me the name of a psychologist. He worked in the medical field and was able to refer me to a psychologist he had also seen in the course of his work.
The decision to tell friends is either terrifying or a relief. For me I found it a mixture of those feelings. I had been dating my partner for about seven months and I was finding it really difficult to juggle between the time I wanted to spend with him and the time my friends were used to me giving to them. As a single guy, your time is your own and my LDS friends began to see that my time was becoming less and less available.
Looking back and having had discussions with them, they wondered what was up. They had sensed I was having issues with the Church and when I moved from my Ward to the inner west of Sydney, they started to ‘join the dots’ so to speak. Sydney’s inner west has a bohemian feel to it, it’s more open than where I was living relative to the gay community. I hadn’t consciously thought about it, but perhaps that’s why I chose to move there.
While trying to perform this juggling act I knew I had to come out to these people, two couples and a single girlfriend all around my age. I approached them individually and shared my news, for each of them this wasn’t a shock. Let me share some of the steps I went through to share my news in the hope it may give you some ideas.