Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How to Tell Your Parents

I have a new book "How to be Gay in the 21st Century." One of my most interesting chapters has to do with your parents. In my experience one of the biggest stumbling blocks in coming out is telling your parents. Even some of the famous people I have known who were closeted didn't come out because they didn't want to face their parents. It was even more important than their career. So let's talk about it.

"HOW DO I TELL MY PARENTS?" This varies a lot depending on how old you are. I think for most gay men the most important thing in their lives is falling in love. So obviously you can't have that big deal romance if you are still in the closet.

On the other hand if you are a teenager living at home you many want to wait to announce the news until you are living on your own. Particularly if your take is that they are going to be irritated. Because you have to realize, they don't care so much about you they are primarily worried about how it makes them look. How did they fail? They will surely not want to hear the news that homosexuality is hereditary. So if you're young, maybe you should wait awhile to discuss it.

If you're out of the house I think you should take them to dinner, sit them down, explain we are in a new century and you like men better than women. You need to have some information ready. It is not a choice. It is inherited. Many famous people from Alexander the Great on down were gay. Maybe you should buy my book "How to Be Gay in the 21st Century" to have your story ready.

Reality is reality. There's no point in them thinking you are someone you are not. And if they don't like it maybe you should get some new parents. An older couple who would like the fact that you remember their birthdays and like to have dinner with them. They exist.

You will hear this a lot from me. If you're pretending to be someone you are not, how can anyone relate to you really? This includes your parents. One friend of mine told me that when he told his parents his mother said, "But what about the neighbors?" and he said, "The neighbors don't care. It's not their son."

1 comment:

  1. There is no right way or wrong way to 'come out'. It's a deeply personal thing. You're right that parents immediately blame themselves, and try to pinpoint where they went wrong. They go from being just "parents" to being "parents of gay and lesbian children". The stigma attributed to their children's deviance ultimately becomes their own. Many have a hard time dealing with this.

    I think it's definitely a generational thing. Consider much of our nation's youth, and their tolerance for GLBT people and issues. They've been called the "whatever" generation since one day they could be dating a boy and the next day a girl, and have no issues with that. Hopefully, when they become parents the idea (or reality) of a GLBT offspring will be treated with the same level of normalcy.

    In the meantime, we have to accept that our parents are from a different generation, and a time where heteronormative standards were upheld.