Merry Christmas, sorry I'm gay!
November 20, 2010 7:59 PM Subscribe
How can I come out to my extended family without it being a holiday "surprise" or confessional atmosphere?
posted by nakedmolerats to Human Relations (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm 25 and have been dating another woman for 10 months. We live together and are planning long term. I've known since high school that I was more-gay-than-straight, but never came out to my immediate family until I had a serious girlfriend.
I generally only go home during Christmas and a bit in the summer. Last year, I told my mom and brother, and my GF came up to visit for a few days. This went pretty smoothly. My mom isn't exactly Super Pride Mom, but she seems ok with it and was friendly with my GF.
I still haven't told my small extended family - my grandfather, aunt, uncle, and cousin. They will probably be quite surprised since in high school/college they met some boyfriends of mine, and my mom hasn't said anything. My family is conservative, but not driven by religious ideology. I am pretty sure they won't disown me or think I'm going to hell, but they will probably think it's 'abnormal', I'm going through a phase, or I was brainwashed by liberal arts college.
I want to tell them soon, since I don't want to be a Secret Lesbian forever. So I need to figure out how/when to tell them, but I really want to avoid:
a) springing it on them at Christmastime and dealing with the awkwardness on top of holiday stress
b) I don't want to style it at all as a "confessional" - as in "I know this might shock/upset you, and I'm sorry, but...". I don't want to apologize for being who I am and I don't want to begin with them by framing it as something that's Weird and Shameful to admit to. I want them to know that I'm with someone, and I'm happy, and that person happens to be a woman.
The best idea I've come up with is writing a short note, perhaps with a general Life-Update letter, and mailing it before Christmas so they have time to process it. I've thought about calling them, but I don't talk to any of them on the phone normally, so a "Hey I'm Gay" call out of nowhere would be almost as awkward as the Christmas surprise.
Are there any options I'm not considering? How have others come out to family that they are close with, and don't want to upset, but are not willing to treat it as something that SHOULD be upsetting? If I write a letter, what else might you include beyond a short explanation?