Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Coming Out to Family Revisited

By Mister Curie

I previously blogged about coming out to my family about my disaffection and/or my homosexuality.  Horizon?  We are now scheduled to visit my family at the end of the month, so the questions of whether or not to come out and whether to come out about both or a single issue (and which, if just a single issue) are looming larger.  Reading over my pros and cons from the first time I blogged about this question, it is a bit humorous to see some of my thoughts.  I think I have gotten somewhat more comfortable about both my disaffection and my homosexuality, although I'm sure there is still room to go.  I think the main reason for coming out is so that we can be ourselves without worrying about someone finding out our secrets.  We want to be able to not hide who we are.  Of course, we also want to be accepted for where we are on our journey, but its much harder to ensure acceptance when coming out.  And, as I recently posted, there is fear that we will lose support and love from those we love most.

We have gone back and forth over the different scenarios and options, considering everything from completely closeting ourselves and putting back on our garments for the visit to straight-forwardly announcing the news of our disaffection and homosexuality.  I think we have decided on a middle-ground and will view this trip as laying the groundwork for a future "coming out".  The current plan is to remain true to ourselves, but without attempting to challenge their belief system.  So we will not be putting back on our garments, but we will wear temple-garment compatible clothing in their presence (this one is hardest for Madame Curie who would love to enjoy the summer visit in a tank-top and is loathe to put on a regular T-shirt).  We will also avoid Word of Wisdom infractions in their presence, although I suspect there will be several clandestine visits to Starbucks while we are there.  However, if we are questioned about our underwear or our unorthodoxy, we will admit to current questions and struggles.  If we are asked a direct question, we will respond with as direct an answer.  They also know that Madame Curie is planning on attending the Sunstone conference, but we aren't sure if they know what Sunstone is or not.  Thus, we do not have plans to formally come out about our disaffection, but recognize that it is a distinct possibility that we may be questioned while we are there.  It is less likely that there will be any questioning as to my sexual orientation, but as our marital relationship remains intact, there isn't a pressing need for them to know about it.

What do you think?  Are we kidding ourselves and should be more formally prepared for a coming out about our disaffection during the visit?  Are we just delaying the inevitable and making things worse?  Do you think we are just chickening out because the visit is getting so close and we are responding to our fear of potential loss? 


  1. Mormons are very observant people--I think is part of the whole "we are unique" concept & somehow train to spot people who wear g's everywhere they go (and obviously those who don't regardless of what they appear to be wearing to mask that!). Don't be shocked if someone feels your leg up for the extra layer of clothing or flat out asks you if you're wearing g's and why not?

    Another thing is that they'll notice how different you guys are, part of that being comfortable with yourselves--it will be a dead giveaway, but in hindsight it will also make it easier for you guys to figure out if it is a good time to come out to them & at what level. I had that experience (that I'm working on blogging about) with a cousin last weekend. I was planning on saying nothing and ended up blurting everything out to her, so it is just how it worked out. Good luck in whatever you guys decide to do!

  2. It sounds like a good plan to me!

    On one hand there's the wisdom of the band-aid approach, but I think sometimes that can do more harm than good to relationships.

    If we can use a good Mormon example though... It's like the frog in the pot, slowly boiled. If you do it slowly, perhaps they'll find it easier to adjust.

    If your disaffection was anything like mine, it was (and still is) a very gradual process. And perhaps sharing it with loved ones should be the same.

    Either way, good luck, and above all, have a great trip!

  3. Well, when I left the church, I pulled my mom aside and told her we were leaving. She cried and left the room and I didn't see her for hours on end. My sister said it was because I was gay. It was all very messy and very challenging. It has been three years. Things are starting to get better, but it is still very challenging now that I have a partner...

  4. So in the chaos of the past couple of days this blog post didn't get finished and was accidentally published, but I'll let it stand as is. If you noticed my blog post a couple of days ago titled "Hiding", this is actually the approach we took in our own home when some relatives came to visit for a couple of days. I think that having experienced this type of approach, we didn't find that it actually worked that well for us. We felt uncomfortable wondering when/if they were going to notice our lack of orthodoxy or orthopraxy. Ultimately we don't think they noticed anything, but that is also part of the problem if we view this as a step toward coming out. We are still very much in a state of flux in regard to our decision, and I'll probably need to write another blog post on this subject before we go out to visit, but I think currently we are planning to announce to my family before we arrive that we are unorthodox (although we probably won't lay out the full extent of our apostasy) and while I trend toward avoiding challenging the orthopraxy, having had this uncomfortable experience the last couple of days, it may be best to drop all pretenses.

  5. I think you should send a Christmas in July letter and let them know that although a few things have changed and you know some of it may well be shocking, they can rest assured that one thing has not changed, you and Madame's love for them will remain the same. Then go, dress, and act as you please while giving them the same courtesies you would any friend who doesn't smoke, drink or caffeinate in their own home. That gives them some time to process everything and to let you know if it is just too much for them to deal with and to make alternate arrangements for visiting if need be. At least with these "gay" children they will will not need to engage in a big debate as to whether or not you should sleep in the same bed or not.

  6. Maybe they'll be non-confrontational?