Monday, January 31, 2011

You're So Gay... (and that's bad)

The other day I posted about 2 schools of thought relative to coming out to my kids.  In reality, there is only one for me.

I need to get in front of it and talk to them.  I need to tell them myself.  My oldest son, uses Facebook and I would not want something I say there, or something someone else says, to clue him in before I have a chance to talk to him (and the other kids).

When I do talk to them, what do I say?  I know that I need to tell them the truth, but I am worried about how they will feel about things.  I think the way I tell them is important.  I also think I need to anticipate their questions (as best I can) and be prepared to answer them.

  • Dad is a liar.  I am worried about this.  If you believe that people are born gay, you have to wonder what someone is thinking when they come walking out of the closet at age 42 after being married 17 years and having 4 kids.  I know the readers of this blog understand what I was thinking, but my kids do not read this blog (at least I hope they don't).  Neither do they have the perspective to understand what it is like growing up gay in the late 1980's.  How do I explain this so they understand?
  • Why is dad doing this?  This is a big one too.  It's not that I am actually "doing" anything.  I am simply adjusting to live my life honestly, as I am.  As who I am.  But I can see from their perspective, I am the person that is causing the upheaval in their lives.  They will think, "How can I do this TO them?"
  • Gay is bad. This one will be the hardest one to overcome.  My oldest is a freshman in high school.  My next oldest son is in 7th grade.  They hear "gay" all the time, and it's never a good thing.   There are really two separate issues here.  One is how the kids, particularly the boys, will feel about it themselves.  The next will be how will they be treated if others find out.  I will have to talk about this more in another post.
These are some of the things I have thinking about.  Some of the things that have been causing me stress.


Alan said...

As you know, I've been out to my kids for all of three days, so here is my "expert" opinion :>)

"Dad is a liar"-- If they think that now, they will think that even more if you come out years from now. That may be their immediate thought, but they will get over it soon enough.

"Why is dad doing this?" --- The lesson to them should be that telling and living the absolute truth is always a good thing. My wife and I told our kids that we never could be truly happy together--- and everyone deserves happiness.

"Gay is bad."--- That might be a tough one and one that's very hard to control. Where I live, after the initial flurry of interest, the reaction will most likely be, "So what... who cares? I'll be posting in a couple of days on the 'gay friendly' high school my kids go to.

Biki said...

Ok, remember that when you come out to them, that you need to make it about them, not you. Yeah, I know doesnt make a lot of sense at first. So, when you tell them, make sure they know that you will be their dad forever, that will never change. I think the best thing, especially with the eldest is to just be upfront with him and tell him, "Son, I'm gay" and let him carry the conversation from that point. He will have questions, concerns, fears. Your job is to answer truthfully. Explain to him what it was like for you, how you did fall in love with his mother, and make sure he understands that you did really truly love her.

And while the kids all seem to use gay for lame, i really dont think many of them really believe that.

Life is going to be topsy turvy for a while, expect some grumpy behavior, some lashing out, but just be as calm as possible. Because like you coming out to them, is about them not you. Their behavior afterwards is about them still....

good luck!

T said...

Stop anticipating something that might not happen. Even if it happens, you won't be able to do any thing about it. So, just take a deep breath and go tell them. Things will be ok. Trust me.

SC Guy said...

Your kids may express it in different ways, but they love you. You are involved with their lives and are there for them. They may not say that is important to them, but it is. That's the basis for your relationship with them and that doesn't change.

I think you will find that your kids are a lot more accepting that you might think. Being gay today is a lot different that it was 20 years ago. It may take some adjustment, but in the end the'll appreciate your honesty.

One last thought. Your kids...and all kids...need to know that life is messy and complicated. If we had perfect knowledge about ourselves and those around us, that would be great. While the issues they face in their lives will be different, they will face issues. How you deal with your communication with them is a really important life lesson for them.

Like I keep telling myself, it will be ok. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

For me, the challenge was not the reaction of my kids - it was the reaction of my wife to them when they accepted me. I have no conscious memory of trying to enlist them against her, but she quickly made them feel so unstable that they came to me. Kids are vulnerable because they cannot sustain themselves.

In the end, she moved out and never paid for any of their expenses after that. Since she's a decent person, she has since reconnected with them and the kids accept both of us.

So the challenge you face may be systemic and have nothing directly to do with sexual preference.

TwoLives said...

What gives me the most confidence is that I feel very secure in my relationships with my kids. They know I love them and they know that I'm there for them.

It sounds callous to put it this way, but if any of my kids have a problem with my sexuality, I'm not going to beg them to accept me. I'm the same parent I've always been and I'm here to support them. If they don't want my support, that's their loss. I'm not going to beg for their blessing, just as I would never want them to beg for mine. Love means letting those you care about be free to be happy.

Beartoast said...

It will take time. They will question the reality they have known in the light of this new information.

But it is important that they hear it from you.

Prayers ascend.

Anonymous said...

My 15-year-old nephew's dad is gay and attends his ballgames, school functions, etc..we live right outside Charlotte, in a rural area, and he hasn't had problems from the other kids at school. Listen to T.

jim said...

I'm just outside Charlotte too. I'd love to talk to him about his experience.


Anonymous said...

I agree with T...Just do it and stop worrying. Kids are resilient, and if they are like you and your wife they are super resilient... My kids were absolutely fine with it when I came out to them... and you know that story...

Vương Tử Trực said...

IMO, you should keep yourself as calm as possible, keep the conversation gently, peacefully and talk to them honestly.
Just my thinking, I have no idea about this matter.