(Disclaimer: Perhaps, a long post!!)
As I turned 29 today, I decided to come out to my parents. I came out to my brother and sister-in-law last year. I have been thinking about it for a long time but never found the perfect time to do it. Since my main mode of communication with my parents is FaceTime (different countries and time-zones), I decided to use it as our “Face-to-Face” conversation. But it wasn’t as easy as I thought!!
A day before my birthday, I FaceTimed (FT’ed) my parents, had an hour chit-chat about all random things, but I just could not bring myself to say the words “I am gay”. Those words were going on in my mind the whole time, but I just froze every time I tried to speak up. One opportunity lost.
I FT’ed again the evening – another 30 minute-long conversation but nothing about coming out. By now, I was getting really restless as I had initiated the process but couldn’t take any further steps. It was like I wanted to walk but felt paralyzed and couldn’t move! I could not sleep that whole night.
The following morning, it was my birthday and my mom called me again. We spoke for 15-20 minutes on FaceTime, but I had to leave for work. I said I will call her and my father after work. Later in afternoon, I finally got a chance to FT my parents with my brother and sister-in-law sitting next to them. I mustered the courage somehow to talk to them (or maybe my stress levels were too high that I got the final push from anxiety). I told them I have been meaning to tell them something for a long time but couldn’t get a chance. I told them that I am gay and I have been in a relationship with Nick for the last 7 years. This was followed by a silence from them which felt like an eternity to me…
My mom finally broke the silence and said she had a fair idea about it for the last few years and asked me about my future plans with Nick, wedding, Nick’s family’s reaction etc. She even said to my father – “If this is something we cannot change, we must accept it. If we will find faults in him and won’t accept him, none of the other people around us will”. I was relieved that my mom was supportive (I was also hoping that my mom would be okay with it). But what followed after this was completely opposite, i.e, my father’s reaction.
I told them I care the most about the 4 of them and I would really appreciate their support. To this my father said “if you have decided everything and made all plans, what do you want now? You said you want support from us, but what if 4 of us don’t support you? Will you change your ‘social status’?” At first I could not understand what he meant by ‘social status’. I clarified by asking him if he meant my sexual orientation by ‘social status’, to which he said “yes, the same”. I told him this is not something I can change, that I am born this way and that I would ideally like them to be on my side. He further said “You cannot change society. This society had some rules and the way it has been running all these decades. You are asking us to support you by going against the established societal norms. Moreover, what if we don’t support you, what kind of relationship do you expect from us – will it be just acknowledging each other’s existence and that’s it?” I was obviously taken aback since I didn’t know to exactly respond to him (despite knowing that this is what he would have said). I re-iterated that ideally I would like us to have a usual family relation as we had before.
I went on explaining to him that this might be all new to him; they can take their time; do their own research and I would be happy to answer any of their questions and talk whenever they like. His next response made me extremely emotional (but I didn’t show any emotions at all throughout this whole video call). He said “What research can we do now? We will just look back on our parenting and figure out retrospectively what went wrong on our part.” At this point, my brother and sis-in-law also spoke up saying that it has nothing to do with the parenting and that the more they relate it with parenting, harder it will be for them to understand this. I even tried to explain to them that this is a natural, pre-decided biologic phenomenon and by mistake I used the word “genetics”. So, he said “genes are from us. That means it is our fault eventually”. We (me, my brother and sis-in-law) tried explaining more to him but by now, he was already in huge shock to listen to anything anymore. He said it was late night for them. I agreed and asked them to take some rest, sleep and call me later.
I cried like a baby right after hanging up! Not because of what he said, but because it was the most emotionally-overwhelming situation I have ever faced. I had talked to Nick, my closest friends and my brother after this, who were hugely supportive. I cannot imagine what would have I done without these extremely supportive people in my life!
I really appreciated my mother’s positive response. I hope my father accepts me as I am. I agree this is the first step towards acceptance by my parents and that this will take its own time. I just have to be persistent. It will be tough, but I am sure worth it in the end.
I guess this was one of the most eventful birthdays ever for me, where I gave myself such an unusual gift…
Happy birthday to me, once again!