A friend of mine posted this morning that it is National Coming Out Day. I believe it is to be supportive of young people thinking about “coming out” to their family and friends, which is a big deal for so many young gay individuals. So many are afraid of the reaction, of being rejected by those that are supposed to love them the most. And that happens, unfortunately. The shock of learning your child is homosexual might be more than some people can accept. How sad, for all of them.
Another person I know told me this week that their grandson had “come out” because of some text messages they had accidentally seen on his phone. They had suspected for a while that he was gay, he just hadn’t told them yet, but kind of got pushed to it. It sounds like it was ok, they had a discussion and while it will take a little time to adapt to the idea, I believe it will be a good situation, for all of them. It was hard for grandma in a way, but she is very accepting, I think she was just a little caught off guard. She worries about the fact they are Catholic, and how that will affect him going forward. I told her everything will work out how it should, don’t worry. And to pray if she feels it will help her find the peace for all of them.
I had a very good friend “come out” to me a number of years ago. We were in our late 20s, and I had wondered for a long time about him. He had dated women forever, he really did give being “straight” a fair shot. Which means he denied his true self for a long time. He found a great guy, and they are together still, and finally married. His husband had a hard time coming out to his family. It was a big rift in their relationship for a long time. I don’t know what finally changed, but it was a stress for my friend for a number of years. The whole relationship seems so much better now, which is fantastic, I want them to have that happiness.
My heart really aches for the people who have to deny who they are, because they are worried about how their families will take the reality of their sexuality. I would want anyone in my life to know they have all the support in the world from me, no matter who they are attracted to, unless they are a giant douchebag. I won’t stand for that, and no one should.
Support. What does it mean to you? In this case it means that you have to have the ability to accept something you might not understand. It takes some faith. It has been a hard road for a lot of these gay kids to accept that they are “different” than their friends and family. A lot of them don’t make it, suicides are very high among teenagers that are gay or transgender. Depression and mental illness, a lot of drug and substance abuse. I don’t know how it feels, most of us don’t. So when they come to their family, looking for that support, it might take a little faith to support them. But you should. Find a way past how you feel, and consider how hard it was for them to come to that place in front of you where they bared their soul. I would hope you could find a way to feel honored that they trusted you so much that they came to you with their biggest life story.
I always hope for the day when people won’t have to “Come Out.” That they can live their lives with a respect for their true self from the moments they understand they are gay. That they can be who they are, no matter who they are with. I understand I may not see that in my lifetime. But I have seen marriage equality, and for my friends that spent a lifetime together and can finally be married and miserable like heterosexual people makes my heart sing!!! There is hope for the next generations coming up and coming out. I love to think of myself as an ally, a person that can be supportive even if I don’t always understand. I just want people to be happy, be with someone who loves them and will have the love and support of their family and friends.
On this National Coming Out Day, if someone comes to you and tells you their story, be kind, listen, and give them a big hug. It was harder for them than it is for you to hear it.