You Need Help: I Came Out To My Mom (Again) And You Can, Too

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Welcome to You Need Help! Where you’ve got a problem and yo, we solve it. Or we at least try.


Q: First, let me explain that I come from a VERY traditional catholic Latino family… Recently I came out to my mother, while we were in the car. It happened when we were having a discussion about a cousin of mine who might be a lesbian; she has been the talk of the family lately, as if she was the family’s black sheep or something. When I asked my mom if she was against homosexuals she paused, gave me this look and asked why I was so interested in this certain topic, without hesitation, I told her that I was a lesbian, her reaction was totally different from what I had imagined, I thought she would go crazy but, surprisingly, she was super calm and just asked me a few questions, such as, since when have I felt this way, if I ever slept with a girl, if I currently was dating a girl and etc. So far so good but, right in the middle of our conversation, we were interrupted by her cell phone ringing, it was my dad and they talked, unfortunately, until we got home and ever since then the subject of me being a lesbian hasn’t been touched upon, even when we are alone. She’s been acting the same as always but, I feel as if she totally just blew off what I told her as if it didn’t happen, sometimes, I can’t even look at her properly, I don’t know if it’s just me freaking out or if she just didn’t accept what I told her, it’s very confusing. So here’s my question to you: What do I do now? Is she still processing what I told her, because she didn’t say anything just asked questions? Should I bring up the subject again and finish our conversation? Please help me and thank you in advance.


Ah, it’s almost like I know you, y’know? I came out to my mom in a car in 2012, and two years later when Riese forwarded me your email, we had never finished the conversation.

Don’t let that happen.

Before we start, I want to let you know that I’m proud of you for doing coming out in a car. Coming out in a moving vehicle is a tremendous act of bravery: very big deal; very small space. I came out in a car for two reasons, one being that I felt like I was going to explode and the other being that I figured if I did it in the car on the way to my friend Jori’s house, I at least went into it knowing it would eventually end. Sure enough, I slammed the door on the way out and left the entire thing behind.

Coming out to my mom was messy. It was not fun. My mother, who is by no means anti-gay or homophobic, had a lot of trouble coming to terms in that instant with who I was. I gave up on the conversation pretty quickly and that was it. Bada bing, bada boom. Afterward, the two of us entered a very serious Avoidance Zone and never talked about it again, and in the process I told myself my mother could no longer be a key part of my life. No longer would I call my mother and tell her about the people I was interested in, or hanging out with, or idolizing. No longer would she know where my work was published or where I was meeting my friends. No longer would she be my best friend. After 21 years of telling my mother everything, I began to keep secrets from her. I stopped calling. I stopped texting. I hardly even sent an email. If I couldn’t tell her who I was, I realized, I couldn’t tell her anything.

As a young, angry queer, this all made sense. My mom had let me down, so I felt righteous in this choice. I felt that I had given her an opportunity to embrace me with open arms and that she had squandered it, thus surrendering all access to my personal life for the rest of time. I swallowed this delusion hard, and for the next two years, it became my daily life. But then, it started to hurt.

That’s where you pop in.

May 2014. I’m a week out from A-Camp, which is one of my favorite places on Earth. Riese forwarded me your question and I thought, “HA! Who am I to advise that one? I don’t have any advice on how to actually solve it, just how to get through it.” And then, something hit me. I felt sad. I told my mom I was speaking at a week-long feminist conference in Los Angeles proper where I get bad cell reception because “it’s in a convention center.” I picked up The Desire Map. I cried on the plane. I realized, stark as night, clear as day, that the silence was killing me. Instead of moving through a moment, I was trapped inside of purgatory.

I decided to come out to my mom. Again. (In a living room this time.) “Decided” is a pretty loose term, since I didn’t so much as decide as that feeling of an impending explosion in my heart and/or mouth was happening again and I just sort of blurted it out, right in between the gelato and the leftover eggplant. I was ready to try again, to put myself out there again. My mother and I had gone a very long time without being consistent companions, but I wasn’t angry anymore. I felt, somewhere in my heart space, like we were finally ready to hash it out. So we did.

And we cried, duh. And she told me her truths. She told me about her struggle to come to terms with my sexuality, the future she had dreamed up for me when I was a little girl, the things her friends said about gay people when she was in the room, and — last, but definitely not least — her unconditional love for me. Sure, it was awkward. Sure, I held back rolling my eyes and cringing once or twice. It wasn’t perfect, but it was progress. It was love. It was light. It was worth it.

I want you to talk to your mom again.

It may be that our parents don’t have the words to tell us how our identities make them feel. It may be that they lack the vocabulary or the communication skills to tell us their truths or to ask you about yours. It may be that they, like us, are terrified and / or scared shitless of the consequences of The Coming Out Conversation. It may be that they refuse to accept us. It may be that they need time. It may be that the voices in our heads will drive us crazy. It may be that they will never understand. It may be that, in the end, the only people you can talk to about your feelings for the ladies for the next good while is the cast and crew here at Autostraddle or the new leather lace-up boots I’m 99% sure you already bought on the Internet for yourself.

There are about a trillion reasons your mom could be uninterested in or struggling to bring up your sexuality again. But it sounds to me like she wants to be there for you. Being in the strange pool of in-between when you’re coming out simply won’t do, and I know because I resided there for some time. You can’t willfully ignore it. You can’t tell yourself it’ll just magically normalize. Coming out is never one conversation, anyway. It’s a zillion! And just think: if you just keep pestering your mother about how gay you are, there’s nowhere for things to go but up.

I want you to talk to your mom again. And this time, give it a go on solid ground.


Send your questions to youneedhelp [at] autostraddle [dot] com or submit a question via the ASK link on autostraddle.tumblr.com. Please keep your questions to around, at most, 100 words. Due to the high volume of questions and feelings, not every question or feeling will be answered or published on Autostraddle. We hope you know that we love you regardless.

Carmen is the Digital Editor at Ms. , Managing Editor at Argot, a Contributor at Everyday Feminism, and Co-Host of The Bossy Show. She previously served as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor, and Social Media Co-Director at Autostraddle. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 925 articles for us.

53 Comments

  1. Oh, I relate to this post so hard. I came out to my parents almost a year ago and after a few initial questions we never spoke about it again. Our relationship has really suffered since then, I don’t call them or share anything about my life anymore and it hurts but I can tell they are hurting too. After reading this I’m inspired to try talking to them again. Thank you!

  2. I really needed this, thank you. I came out to my mom this summer, and while she was supportive, we’ve barely talked about it all since, and whenever I bring up girls I’m dating, or the friends I’ve made in the LGBT community, she gets super, super quiet and changes the subject. It’s really difficult, and I’m trying to remember it’s a process and this…it just helps with that. So again, thank you so much.

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one whose parents do that. My parents tend to act like I haven’t said anything when I bring up LGBTQ* stuff or girls I’m interested in. They also try to get me to hide it when I mention anything queer-related online, even though I’ve made it clear that I CANNOT hide it. Even though it’s not outright rejection, it still hurts.

      tl:dr; You’re not alone. {{hugs}}

  3. Oh god. About 18 months ago I told my mum I was meeting a new group of people (autostraddle) in London. A billion questions later I explained it was a magazine for girls who like girls. She asked a couple of sensible questions. It has not come up since. And I haven’t known how to tell her about crushes and dating and nights out at the gay club because I honestly don’t know what her reaction would be. So thank you for making me feel less alone with this, even if I still don’t know if I can bring it up again.

  4. Thank you for writing this. I’m not sure if it’s this post alone, or the fact that I’ve been listening to Sara barrielles for the past hour but I now have tears running down my face. Your advice is beautiful, and needed. Looking forward to passing this on to my mother in hopes to open up our dialogue.

  5. I came out to my parents at the end of eighth grade because of a rumor they heard that I was gay. I had to sit and talk to them and they wouldn’t let me leave. I told them I didn’t know if I was gay, but I did. I then left for DC for a week.

    Later that summer I was with my mom and she asked me if I was sure I was gay. I don’t even know what I said, but I was so hesitant in my response that it didn’t really matter. I was 13 and was in no way prepared for that conversation.

    I’d really like to talk about it now that I’m confident in my identity. There have been awkward interactions after my mom heard about me kissing my then-girlfriend at school. My brother referred to her as my girlfriend at dinner. But somehow it all still feels uncomfortable to bring it up. I still don’t feel fully out to them.

    But I kind of think this is all in my head. I think if I told my mom now she wouldn’t really care. She’s cool with it, my sister’s queer and my mom tries and mostly succeeds at being understanding and open about it. But I think this feeling of being partially closeted will exist until I really talk to my mom about it or I develop the confidence to talk about it casually without having a really conversation about it.

    I don’t usually think about this stuff. I’m so obviously out at school and no one cares, but some part of my life still feels secretive at home. I still feel like I have to ask my creative writing teacher to not share my poetry re: sexuality/gender with my parents. I look forward to the day that this is no longer necessary, when everything is out in the open.

    • This comment really struck close to home… I’ve been in the “i’m so obviously out at school and no one cares, but some part of my life still feels secretive at home” for a couple years now, even after I talked to my parents about my queerness years ago — but I was also hesitant in my responses and they haven’t brought it up since. And it really sucks. But I’ve been becoming more sure of my identity, a stronger person, and slowly but surely trying to get rid of the feeling of being partially closeted. It’ll get better, C.

  6. Really sound advice from Carmen on this. When I first told my mom it did not go well. She had a very adverse reaction which meant crying on my 20th bday. The topic went untouched for almost 2 years when my wife and I had a REALLY REALLY BAD MOMENT in our lives and she still had an adverse reaction. She said that what we were doing was wrong and that we basically deserved the problem we had. And the subject remained untouched until last March when she said that she loved me no matter what.

    I once read somewhere that all we can really hope for as individuals coming out is that the person we are coming out to will still say they love and care for us. Dont keep quiet because sometimes its the silence that slowly burns the bridges we have with important people in our life. Be brave little one.

  7. Well, this is my life. I came out to both of my parents at the kitchen table, the morning after getting home from Los Angeles post A-Camp in May. Now it’s several months later, and neither of them have spoken about it since. Sometimes it feels like it never happened. Always it feels like we have a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. When I came out, my mom was very quiet. Then she said that she had hoped I would eventually change my mind. She hoped that I “wasn’t sure.”

  8. Thanks for this. My family definitely isn’t as communicative as most families. I came out to my mom 3 years ago 5 minutes before I hopped in a car to go back to college, and we never finished the conversation because the next time I saw her it was because there was an unexpected (to me, because the rest of my family forgot to tell me a relative had deteriorated, here were are with the non communicative thing again) death in the family. We have never brought it up again even though my parents are pretty liberal, and now I’m stuck in this weird cycle where I hide them from seeing anything queer on facebook and don’t tell them when I go on dates, etc.

    I also should probably come out to my youngest sister; she was in elementary school when I moved out and I didn’t tell her because I wasn’t even sure she knew what gay meant, but she’s in high school and a real person now… But I only see her like 3 times a year and never figure out how to slip it in there.

    Ugh, feelings. Damn it, Carmen.

  9. Ugh this is some badly needed advice. Carmen I know you’re right, but it’s just so hard to get those words out. It’s like they get stuck in my mouth. But reading y’alls stories makes me realize that even if coming out to my parents doesn’t go exactly as I hope it will, the only way things are gonna get better is if I just go ahead and do it.

  10. “After 21 years of telling my mother everything, I began to keep secrets from her. I stopped calling. I stopped texting. I hardly even sent an email. If I couldn’t tell her who I was, I realized, I couldn’t tell her anything.”

    If anything can describe the last 3 years of the relationship with my mother, this is it. But the weird thing is, I haven’t even come out to her yet. It’s like, I’m distancing myself in preparation for what may happen when I do. And I know it’s dumb, and I know I haven’t even given her a chance to have a reaction yet, but I still feel the need to ‘practice’ a nonrelationship? Trying to make the worst-case scenario hurt less I guess. My goal is to come out before next A-Camp, but damn am I terrified.

    • It’s easy for us who are on the other side of the fence to say “come out” and reel off advice about how it gets better or living your truth etc.

      The truth is that there is never a good time to come out, regardless of how queer-positive the other person is. For sure you’re going to have fantastic experiences and terrible experiences. It will make you stronger and more confident in your identity, but it will also really hurt. That’s where our wonderful community either here on AS or in real life, is essential. There are people who can help you and will love you, even when maybe those important people in your life don’t. So, Andrea, I’m just going to tell you my secret to life: Do it scared. Personally if I wait to have the courage to do it, it will never happen. I’m just not brave.

      I don’t know your relationship with your mother; but you both deserve to be happy. I sincerely wish you the best on your journey.

    • I was the same way; I started distancing myself from my family for about a year before I came out, so by the time I finally said it they already knew something was going on. I knew coming out was going to put distance between us, and it was easier to create that distance on my own terms than to be rejected.

      My story still doesn’t have a happy ending yet and I still don’t really talk to my family much. But I’m optimistic. If you haven’t already, you should browse all of the coming out articles on autostraddle. There’s a realistic diversity: some parents don’t care, some freak out then settle down, some disown. But it helps so much to hear from people who have been there.

      Do whatever you need to do, and know that you have a community here that’s got your back. <3

      • Aww you two are great!!

        That’s something I’ve come to realize, that there will never be a perfect time and it will also be something that is going to take effort and will be terrifying. I’ve also been building my queer community these past few years, and AS is a huge part of that 🙂

        Kadry, that’s exactly it, it seems better to be separated on my own terms than forced, and even though you are still working on it, I’m glad to here that you remain positive. I’ve read a lot of stories here on AS and each and everyone has helped me in their own ways.

        Thank you both so much! <3

  11. My little sister surprised me when she told me our mother asked her to have a “talk” only for her to ask my sister if she was a lesbian. My sister is straight and I’m the queer one. Funnily enough, my mother has never asked me. I think the reason why is because she knew she would get a “no” answer from my sister.

    I think she’s scared of the answer and I’m scared of her reaction. It’s a sad understanding of sorts, if that makes any sense.

    Thanks for the advice, Carmen.

  12. Thank you Autostraddle for proving for the MILLIONTH time that I am not alone!

    I fucking texted my mom telling her that I was queer. Cause I couldn’t come out any other way.

    So how in the hell do you do this thing? How do you get brave enough to say things face to face? I can’t ever get the words out because I’m choking on vomit and nausea and shaking and sweating from fear. I literally become physically ill, and that’s not to mention the rising tide of very extra nasty depression that swells up in that situation.

    Our relationship is starting to strain, and I am becoming resentful. But how do I do this and also keep me safe?

    • Gatito, I hope you’re still checking this! I texted my parents when I came out to them for the (3rd, at least) time. My thoughts are with you. It didn’t go well for me, any of the times, but it does have the benefit of letting you set boundaries (which mine ignored) and say things without getting interrupted (which they can also ignore). I hope things work for you and I wish you all the best. *hugs*

  13. Many parents have a bad initial reaction but they can get over it. I know a mother who suggested hormone treatments when her daughter first came out but who now, after ten years, goes to Pride with her. The daughter told me, “they might be in shock at first but when you bring home a nice girl they get over it.” I guess that means that if you keep up contact with your parents and don’t shut them out they will learn to see that your life and your sexuality are not as intimidating or unusual as they would have first thought.

    Of course this doesn’t apply to parents who are emotionally or physically abusive. I wouldn’t encourage contact with those kind of parents. But I got the idea that this wasn’t the case for the letter-writer.

  14. My mom is a Jehovah’s Witness. I’ve already came out to her (and she forced me to out myself to my sister). But she’s still 100% homophobic, uses all the slurs, and compares being born gay to being born with a cleft palate or Down syndrome.

    I’m moving out this Monday to escape this environment and I know that my mother and sister will totally shun me and cut me off for the rest of their lives. The religion commands it.

    Yay for alcohol I guess?

  15. this hits close to home – came out to my [very catholic] mom about, oh 8.5 years ago. reaction was not great but it after series of letters in which she assured me she was praying for my soul and was concerned about the consequences of my ‘life choices’, the subject was swept under the carpet and not discussed again. no one in the family discusses it and the silence was getting to me, so i decided to broach the subject when visiting my parents about a month ago. i think this conversation was worst than the first (timing was bad and dad was also there to contribute to the firestorm), although i didn’t think that could be possible. i was told that i had been ‘brainwashed’ at my liberal university and was utterly confused. homosexuality doesn’t actually exist, they assured me; it’s a chosen lifestyle and they pray fervently that i’ll find my way back to the ‘real’ world – and too the church, of course. i was so shocked that i had no words to respond. i haven’t spoken to them since, but i have received another letter from mom saying that she still loves me, she just can’t abide my lifestyle choices.

    so yah, i’m still in that place of trying to figure out whether family can be a key part – or any part – of my life. ugh.

    • I’m so sorry to hear that your parents have reacted so harshly. My parents were not quite that intense, but it put a serious strain on my relationship with my Dad for a long time. I think the biggest thing I learned (and am still learning) is the importance of defining boundaries for yourself and communicating them to your family, and then sticking to them. For example, I told my Dad that it was very hurtful to me when he would tell me that my relationship was less valid than my sisters (who is straight) and that if he continued to do that I would end the conversation with him (I had the benefit of living far away and only really speaking to him on the phone). And then when he did do that, because of course he did, I explained once again that the topic was off limits for me, and that I would be ending the conversation. It can be super hard to do those things, but at the same time you have every right to draw boundaries in your relationships that make you feel safe. I hope that things get better and you figure out a safe and comfortable way to have your family in your life. Good luck!

  16. I came out to my mom in a car as well. But I was coming out as bi on the eve of my wedding to a man and have since been terrified to bring it up again with any part of my family.

    I’m afraid of the questions this would raise. What does bi mean after marriage? Are you just on the path to lesbianism and will divorce? Are you breaking your vows? Are you just letting me know what kind of porn it is you are watching? Obviously they may not ask these things aloud but I get scared that they will only see my identity as a destructive element in my marriage. :/

    • It may be a little silly to reply after three years but this hit home. I told my mom I was bi after about ten years of happy marriage to a man (I told him before we started dating). She mostly gets kudos because her response featured “I love you” pretty prominently which I know is way better than a lot of us have gotten from our parents. But it also featured “I will expect you to continue honoring your marriage vows,” which, excuse the fuck outta me? You do not get to set expectations for me in that department – or in any department any longer!/Why exactly do you feel the need and think you have the right to question my integrity based on what I just told you?/If I feel the need to do anything other than remain monogamous with my husband, that’s a decision for US to make…all these things blasted into my head all at once. I did not say any of them because I figured her emphasizing “I love you” was good enough for being blindsided and I could forgive the rest as due to the blindsidedness, as long as none of the objectionable subtext became frequent text. And it didn’t. She told me the next morning that she had cried a lot the night before because she felt so bad that I had not felt safe telling her and my dad about this years ago. And when Orlando happened I actually found out from her – because she called me to make sure I was supported.

      As for the why are you even telling me this element (because that’s what I think most of your last paragraph boils down to), several possible responses, pick however many fit: because I care enough about our relationship that I want you to know who I really am – it’s a matter of integrity and allowing you to believe something wrong about such a fundamental part of me just doesn’t sit right; because I trust our relationship and you enough to believe you will still care about me and honor the real me even if this knowledge is uncomfortable for you; because [names of grandkids, nieces, nephews, etc.] might not be straight when they grow up, or even if they are will definitely have friends who aren’t, and either way I want them to have a living example of someone bi who’s normal and fine. Any of those are reasons why your identity is a lot more than a destructive element in your marriage.

  17. I’m 29 and not out to my dad and probably not coming out to him unless there is ever anyone worth talking about (and if he throws a fit, I’m disowning HIM with lots of legal and financial paperwork. sisters are doing it for themselves).

    But, ya’ll with the salvageable family situations, this is good advice.

  18. Oh, wow. Thank you Carmen and anonymous question-asker.

    When I awkwardly came out to my mom (she insisted on viewing my online dating profile because I was using her computer, and it said I liked girls), she was okay-ish about it. And we didn’t really talk about it. I thought it was okay because she’s more liberal than not, and she had some lesbian friends in her social group at the time. But, when she guessed that my first girlfriend in college was not just a regular friend, she was quite unhappy. Refused to talk about it. Asked inappropriate questions, didn’t want to hear the answers, and said it was all “weird.”

    Then, a few years later I wanted to let her know that I was dating a new woman I had met. Silence and anger for days. She said she wished I hadn’t told her. That I was wasting my time with women when I was getting old enough to marry a “normal guy.” I told her we broke up. Never told her that we got back together for the next year.

    Thank you for the advice. I’m just not sure I’m up for it yet, still. But I definitely agree about the silence weakening the relationship we had.

  19. Jesus, Carmen, with the feels and the words. Ugh. I can’t even with you.

    “If I couldn’t tell her who I was, I realized, I couldn’t tell her anything.”

    Where do you get this stuff from? Genius.

    Anywho, I’ll join the feelings party. I guess I really need to talk with my parents again. It’s just one of those things that are easy to run away from, ya know? But 4 years of purgatory is a long ass time, and my ass is tired of running.

  20. Oh Carmen, you are the best.
    I am one of those people that chose to come out while my mother was driving 75 down the interstate. This was three years ago, and I had one of those exploding feelings as well. Trust me when I say the car thing was a very risky choice. Her exact response to my coming out was “I liked it better when it was just a thought in the back of my mind.” Those words felt similar to being sucker punched in the guts. She then asked a bunch of questions and told me I shouldn’t raise kids with a partner, and finally we got to our destination. We are still playing the “don’t mention the L word” game, but every once and a while we have heart to hearts. I remind her that I really enjoy dating women and she reminds me that she really really loves me, even though the thought of me dating a woman makes her physically ill. On the plus side, my middle brother can now make hilarious lesbian jokes without Mom glaring at him.
    Most of these feelings sessions don’t end perfectly or involve a great reaction, but if your parent truly loves you unconditionally, they will get over it. Give it time, if nothing else 🙂

  21. I love it when you talk about family Carmen. I remember a talk we had maybe last year about the possibility that families can sometimes just be shitty. I have this situation, you’ve had this situation and sometimes it feels like everyone we know is all “work on it. give them time. love them instead, etc, etc.” I, too have started to miss my mother and wonder if maybe I need to re-visit the place where we lost each other. Reading this sort of gave me a boost for the upcoming holidays. Maybe I need to listen to her truth.

  22. What I learned that helped is that by the time you come out to a parent, you may have taken several years to process that or come out to yourself. Then the parent may also need several years to do the same, even when they mean well, even though they love you. This has been my experience with my mom. She always meant well, but we couldn’t get through conversations about my sexuality without us both crying for several years, and just recently got to the point where it’s normal and even pleasant.

    There’s also the dynamic of a Catholic background. I think we were both crying mourning the feeling of “I know neither of us should feel guilty for this, so why does it feel like such a tragedy? Why am I finding this shame within myself?”

  23. I think, sometimes it’s important to at least try to talk about these things again, if only to find some closure for yourself. At least you can tell yourself then that you’ve tried everything you could.

    I forced my parents out of their non-reaction by bringing LGBTQ-related stuff up again and again during conversations. That way, I try to educate them on the subject and also to normalize it for them. But I guess I’m lucky to have fairly open-minded parents.

  24. Thank you Carmen for this article and this space to share our stories. I always got along well with my mom and dad. They were fine with my coming out. But when my I got together with my now wife and shared her trans* history, my mother in particular had some difficulty understanding that it was not something for her to share with others. And so it came to pass that she was not at our wedding, even though my dad officiated and my brother was there as a witness to sign the paperwork. For quite some time I had a stilted relationship with her, which was unfortunate as we had enjoyed each others’ company. Finding her unable to keep my wife’s history private created a rift. My wife encouraged me to try to talk to her and to repair the bridge, but I had difficulty, feeling like a trust had been broken. It has been a year and a half and my wife and I are working on trying to make a baby. And so after talking with my dad, and talking with my wife, she and I broached the subject with my mom. I need her help at work for taking time off for doctor’s visits and all. And it went better than I feared. This time she agreed that the possible conception would be our story to tell and not hers to blurt out. So progress. I still feel less close to her and closer to my dad, which is a shift. But yeah. I don’t know if there’s a point to this story other than to say thank you for giving me a safe place to share.

  25. Phew. I am coming up on the year mark for when I came out to my parents. In the intervening months, I had to reach out to my mother and let her know that I HATED coming home because I was living a lie when I did. Not talking about me being trans was TORTURE. She is really coming around. We recently spent a day together and she let me go a little crazy in a department store on her dime. (As a thirty-year-old, that feels a little degrading, but transitioning is EXPENSIVE.)

    So she is coming around. My Dad and I have not ever mentioned it. Like everyone else has said, I just can’t get up the nerve. I’ve begun a letter to him. I think mailing a letter is going to be the only way I can do it. I get too nervous in person. Something has to change, and maybe a letter won’t do it. But I am so tired of going home and pretending to be this man that I no longer identify at all as.

    It is just so strange, I came out at work, I came out to my friends (twice really, because I went closeted for ten stupid years) and I go out as a woman around town here. HECK, I run a support group and do my best through our local LGBT community center to be a resource for trans people in need. I have built this amazing life, and my mom is finally scratching the surface of knowing the real me, but my father is still denying it.

    It’s time to change that. I really, really appreciate this piece and everyone’s comments!

  26. Good grief. All these comments are why I don’t think there will ever be a good time to tell my mother, ever. It really really just isn’t worth the strain. I haven’t lived with them for years, I see them less than once a year, there’s literally no such thing as a good time, and I haven’t dated in much longer than I haven’t lived with them, so, like…why bother? Ugh, guys. Family.

    //another beer

  27. Man, thanks for posting this. I came out to my family six years ago, after leaving for college, and it was such a mess that I told them I didn’t want to talk about it for six months until things cooled off. But now it’s been six years and we still haven’t talked about it–-instead, we act like things are normal, and relatively speaking they are. Even for me the process of coming to terms with everything that happened has been incredibly slow. I wonder when or if I’ll ever talk to them about it again, but if I do, I know it’ll for 100% sure be on my terms.

  28. When I initially came out to my mom there was an awkward conversation that left both of us feeling uncomfortable and hurt and then we didn’t talk about it for a couple weeks.

    For me I felt like the silence had grown insurmountable and I just couldn’t imagine broaching it, so I wrote my mom a letter kind of addressing the questions we hadn’t discussed, and explaining the things that I wanted her to know. And that led to a really good conversation. SO if talking is too scary, that’s another option to try.

  29. I came out to my parents in a car too. I never knew this was such A Thing. (We were parked though.)

    It went pretty okay, although there have been moments when I suspected my parents don’t totally understand bisexuality. It probably helps that my dating life has gone nowhere and so it doesn’t come up a lot

  30. I came out to my mum by giving her a piece of paper that said, “I’m gay, what’s for dinner?”

    She asked if I was really hungry and I said yes then she said okay and I left the room.

    There were a lot of awkward conversations afterwards and there still are. She called my engagement ring my “friend ring” from my girlfriend, told me that being gay was my private information that I shouldn’t share with anyone and after finding a queer magazine in my room abused me over the phone while I was at an Ani Difranco concert and thre my guitar against a wall.

    In saying that, we are getting better. I have a one year old with my lady, my mum worries still that we will break up and that she is with me for my money (assets are limited to a 1992 Mazda, a chipped guitar and a cat – if this is so, my girlfriend is a terrible gold-digger.), but one out of every forty conversations is an argument and knowing my mum – that’s pretty good odds.

    I never came out to my Dad because he is so kind, quiet and generous… That I felt like I would disappoint him. I have a lot of internalized homophobia. He helped me move towns and I believe it may have clicked for him when he helped put together one double bed for my girlfriend and I. Since then? I have never talked to him about being gay, he is super accepting of my girlfriend and loves our kid. Nothing needed to be said I guess and I feel so lucky that with him everything just worked out. He even stood up for me when his Mum tried to get him to sign an anti-gay marriage petition.

    I guess what I’m saying here is that people can surprise you. Sometimes in good ways and sometimes in ways that hurt both your heart strings and guitar strings. You have come out to your mum, that is the hard bit and it is out in the air. You haven’t been kicked out so that is a bonus. Go forth and have awkward conversations to clear the air. Good luck.

  31. I can really relate to this as well. I never imagined that I would have to come out to my mother a second time. I came out to her somewhat accidentally, and since she had not taken it very well, I left her with the responsibility of getting over it.

    Well, I guess I came out 3 times. On the second occasion, I told her that I had married my girlfriend. This was 6 months after our wedding, when I finally got bold enough to tell her. It was a disaster.

    Giving her some time to process the situation really wasn’t helping. Things were only getting more uncomfortable, as she would refer to my wife as my roommate, and wouldn’t even state her name. I thought about cutting off my relationship with my parents.

    I was frustrated and I decided to contact one of my mom’s lifelong friends. This friend was very outspoken and supportive of gay marriage, and she knew my mom better than I did. She confronted my mom and got my mom to finally listen to the things that I had been trying to say. I don’t know exactly what happened, but something changed. Now my family even wants to come visit my wife and I.

    I just felt like sharing and I’m not really sure that this story has a point… Perhaps: I guess some people are unable to change on their own.

  32. i relate to this. after i broke up with my boyfriend, i got outed (i think) to my mother. the next day she made me sit down with her and talk, and she told me how i couldn’t be a lesbian, and listed all these studies featured in notoriously homophobic newspapers on why i couldn’t possibly be and said “don’t you think i’d know if my daughter was gay?”. she meant well, but even when i had a girlfriend, she kept on asking if we’d kissed, and if i hadn’t at that point she’d ask me if it’s bc we’re just friends and that i’m just confused about liking girls.
    i’ve had family members who knew i’m a lesbian hand me articles about people who were gay falling in love with the opposite sex. my mam asks if there’s anything going on between me and any boy i’m friends with. even a few nights ago, someone who knows i’m gay asked if the person i was talking about was my boyfriend. sometimes when mam talks about my future, she starts talking about a husband, and then corrects herself to ‘or whoever’. i swear she almost set me up with her friend’s son.
    it’s not even that they’re homophobic. or at least knowingly homophobic. they won’t believe me. but then there’s my dad, my sister and my cousins who do. honestly the people who don’t believe me mean well, but it hurts a bit. but it doesn’t really come up that often, so i guess i’m lucky. i think if it happens again though, i might need to talk to my mother. but there’s too much going on right now already to start bringing up other crap.

  33. Please help! I tried coming out to my mother in a note that I was trans and wanted to become a girl, and she totally dissed it. She kept telling me that it was a phase and that i couldn’t possibly know my sexuality at this age. She said that I would freak my grandparents out and ruin my social life. She did say though that if it was what would make me happy, she would do it, but i could tell she was really unhappy. Although i considered a few of these things, i can’t shake these feelings and want my mother to fully accept and help me. What do I do?

  34. Please help! I tried coming out to my mother in a note that I was trans and wanted to become a girl, and she totally dissed it. She kept telling me that it was a phase and that i couldn’t possibly know my sexuality at this age. She said that I would freak my grandparents out and ruin my social life. She did say though that if it was what would make me happy, she would do it, but i could tell she was really unhappy. Although i considered a few of these things, i can’t shake these feelings and want my mother to fully accept and help me. What do I do?

  35. Really appreciating all you lovelies who have shared your stories. I’ll share mine, too.
    I came out to my parents at 17, a few weeks before I moved away to college. My mom told me it was the worst day of her life. My dad didn’t really have much of a reaction, but I had been dropping hints to him pretty hard (he’s not religious, but my mom is). I’m 29 now, and we’ve never discussed it again. I now identify as bi (I met and started dating a very femme-y cis boy when I was 19, and have dated a couple femme-y cis men since), though these days I’m seeing women exclusively. I think they assume I’m straight, because I’ve dated men, and that me being queer was “just a phase” as my older brother (who I swear is closeted) assured them.
    I’ve been thinking it might come up again in the near future, like if I start dating a woman seriously (I’ve been pretty casual this last year, in the aftermath of a trying breakup). I still worry that it won’t go well. My parents came to San Francisco, where I live, for a Giants game during Pride weekend. Thankfully it was also ALA (librarians’ professional organization) conference weekend, so I had more than Pride as an excuse for why I would not be meeting them. I couldn’t resist testing the waters, though, and cautioned them to take public transportation in, since street closures for the Pride parade might make driving difficult. My mom said “I hope you’re staying far away from those freaks!” I didn’t tell her I was marching in the parade..

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