24 December 2003

Story - Mom and Dad, merry Christmas, I'm gay !

The Christmas holiday season is back!  A time of festivity and happiness… but wait…  there’s a catch!  Who doesn’t remember the new arrival of last year?  I’m not talking about a baby here, of course I’m referring to your cousin, whom you hadn’t seen for a long time, and his new boyfriend.  Up till now, it’s all nice and simple but what would happen if it was you (yes, yes, you, the gay individual of the family) who introduced the man of your life (ok I exaggerate a bit…) to your entire family?  This also applies for a girl who’s now happy and cool about her sexual orientation and who wants to introduce her new girlfriend to her folks.  What would happen if your family simply don’t know that you’re gay or lesbian? Is Christmas a good time to tell them?  Let me explore this a little….


To begin with, according to various points of view, if you are gay/lesbian and brought your new “conquest” to introduce to your family at Christmas, you would not go through the same situations as those if you were straight. Thus, I decided to share with you some testimonies of people I know who agreed to tell us about their first time… Hey, don’t get me wrong! I mean the first time that they introduced their same sex partners to their family.  For the curious ones, I will not share my own experience because I simply have no experience in the matter!  But hopefully, I will know better soon…

For Pascal, everything went pretty well. When he was sixteen years old, he decided to introduce his boyfriend to his entire family. After asking his parents if they would agree, he brought him along. (Oh yeah, if your parents know about you, ask them before hand, just to make sure that they are comfortable with the idea….) Pascal told me that if his boyfriend wouldn’t have come, things wouldn’t have been the same.  Introducing the person that you love to others and that you care about is priceless. Everyone’s reaction was great and if he had to, he would do it again!

Maude’s girlfriend asked her if she would want to come to a family gathering…. Not a small 10 people gathering…, oh no – a very large gathering!  She agreed but she told me that inside, she didn’t feel at ease, yet she didn’t show it or let others know. She stayed strong and proud.  And what was the family’s reaction to her visit?  Very good according to Maude. Even her girlfriend’s grandmother wished them to be happy and gay… (I must acknowledge that this type of reaction is quite common among older people).

For Éric, it did not occur during Christmas, but nevertheless, it happened! Let’s imagine his family sitting at the table playing cards.  His mom had previously asked Éric and his boyfriend to keep it quiet and not to show signs of affection during the party.  So, here is Eric sitting in front of his boyfriend, and quietly caressing his boyfriend’s legs underneath the table when his boyfriend suddenly says: “The dog is so annoying!”… Oops!  The dog was nowhere near  the table…. You can imagine what color Éric’s “friend’s” face became!  The same color as Santa Claus’s clothes…

All things considered, to bring your boyfriend or girlfriend to Christmas is not the end of the world, obviously at first, you will feel uncomfortable and so will your family. But hey, that’s a start! 😉

Let’s not forget, coming out is not a simple hide-and-seek game, where one can come out and it’s all done.  Coming-out it is much more than that.  It’s revealing to others who you truly are.  So, before coming out, you must come out to yourself and be comfortable in your skin.  If I recall my own experience, I felt completely overwhelmed by sadness and not being able to express myself and say it.  Once I began accepting who I was and how I felt for others, I was ready to tell those that I love: my parents, friends and family.  I told them that I was different but happy.  If you come out, be ready to answer tonnes of questions and expect people to be a bit distant.  I do not mean that all people will be like that; some will not change anything about their behaviour, whereas with others you will feel a certain distance. It is necessary that you be patient.  With time, everything comes back to normal.

In my opinion, the toughest is to tell your parents.  After all, they brought you into this world and they want the best for you.  Being gay or lesbian is not a bad thing, it’s ok, it’s not a choice, but it is still a taboo subject among certain families and difficult to deal with for some. I repeat, there is no good or bad moment to do it, the best moment is when you are ready.  The methods in which you can come out can vary; some did it by letter, others did it directly face-to-face, some did it through the mediation of a person worthy of confidence, and in our day and age of telecommunications, why not by email or telephone…  The methods are countless. One thing is for sure: you must prepare the groundwork.  Talk about homosexuality at home, talk about public personalities who are gay and see how your parents react.  Before I conclude, I must strongly advise you with respect to something… coming out to your immediate family by bringing your boyfriend/girlfriend to Christmas without any preparation is not a good idea.

I hope that my advice can help you. On behalf of AlterHéros and on my personal behalf I wish you a very Merry Christmas.