There. You did it. You’ve come out to your parents. You’ve said those magic words. Light or dark magic, it could go either way. You wait anxiously for the infinite yet instantaneous reaction your parents are bound to have. We might expect our parents and loved ones to react to extremes. They are either supportive and accepting, or they could make coming out seem like the biggest mistake of your life. I think that a lot of us think that there is no in-between because of the portrayal ‘coming out’ has on the media. But what if your loved ones’ reactions are somewhere in the middle of that spectrum? Neither completely accepting nor distraught. It can still sting to be in a situation like this. What do you do? Is there a way out of this?
I came out on a whim a few months ago. I was in the middle of one of my routinely ‘let’s complain about everything’ sessions with one of my friends, and I randomly wanted to come out to my mom. We were probably talking about how trapped we felt at home and how suffocating it felt to be in quarantine, which is what probably catalyzed my urge to come out. I knew that if I was going to come out to someone, it was going to be my mom. She and I are close and she’s not as religious as the rest of my family, so I knew that my only chance of being accepted by a family member was by my mom. So I left my friend waiting on facetime and approached my mom. Here’s a very brief summary of the conversation:
Me: Uhh, I’ve got something to tell you
Mom : *looks away from the TV and stares at me*
Me: I…... like girls
Mom: *stares harder*
My Brain: ohmygodohmygodohgod what did you do you are an idiot why in the world would you even you’ve made the dumbest move in the entire universe ahhhhHHHHHHHHhh
Me: Yeah, it’s been on my mind for a long time.
Mom: I don’t know what to say; ignore it. It’s just a phase.
*end of conversation*
Ignore it. That was basically what my mother said. And then we both proceeded to act as nothing had happened. I was expecting a recreation of what I’d seen on TikTok. Happy hugs, relief, and joyful tears or the exact opposite. I wasn’t expecting to be left in the middle. It really stung to find out that my mom (and therefore the rest of my family) didn’t accept me. I never got my ‘I love you for who you are and everything will be fine’ hug. She told me that I should ignore any feelings about girls and just focus on school, and down the line I’d probably end up with a boy. I felt empty. Like I wasn’t a part of my family anymore. But I wasn’t abused or kicked out, and it could’ve been worse, but it still did hurt a lot.
Because of this turn of events, I’m in a position where I’m out to my parents, but my parents pretend it never happened. So I basically had to walk and sit back down in my closet. My foot was stuck at the door. I thought that coming out to my family would be liberating. I wanted to be myself at home, which was important at the time because of quarantine. I wanted to cut my hair really short and give in to my masculine side a bit more. I wanted to talk about the women I thought were gorgeous and not the men that should be on my mind. But I couldn’t. I still wanted to celebrate though. Coming out felt like a milestone to me and I wanted to treat myself. I wanted to buy myself a pride flag, get some pride apparel, or even just paint a little rainbow in my room. But each idea was shot down by my parents and I couldn’t do anything about it.
I only made it out because of my friends. They listened to me whenever I needed them. They were the ones that kept reminding me that I was perfect and they never let me forget that they accepted me. I’m eternally grateful for them. They even offered to smuggle me a pride flag. But I’m no trained secret agent, so I obviously had to reject the offer.
Even after it being months since I’ve come out, at times I get frustrated and wound up because I can’t openly be queer. However, I’ve done a few things that have helped me feel less suffocated. Here are a few things you could try:
If you can’t turn your loved ones around, make sure you have a support team. This could be a group of friends, a school counselor or a public forum (make sure to not give out personal information on public forums). Anytime negative emotions start to crowd your mind, let them out as soon as possible. You can always leave an anonymous message right here, on the TWE website, and I can assure you that we’ll get back to you to help.
I want you to remember that no matter how good or bad your coming out experience was, it takes a truckload of courage and confidence to do it, and I am so proud of you and my respect for you runs deep. Always know that if things aren’t the brightest right now, life is always changing and you will soon find a place in this world that is built for you, cares for you and loves you for who you are.
Your true colors will always shine through in the end, and they are beautiful.
If you need someone to talk to :