I stayed up late enough last night to watch the sun rise. I didn’t mean to, it just happened. I thought it was appropriate and it gave me a chance to reflect on the “new day” I have entered into.
I came out to my parents yesterday (boxing day). I had been planing on waiting until January, and some people were even praying towards that, but in the end I couldn’t wait. I had been staying at my parents place for the festivities and I got away for a short break on Christmas day. When I went for a walk the thought of just coming out now occurred to me. Everyone has time off, so people are around and we could all recover that way. And I couldn’t wait.
So on Christmas night I finished another draft of the letter and printed it out on my parents printer whilst they slept (2 copies). I was nervous about waking them up but they were tired enough to be out cold. On Boxing day were were heading over to my sister in law’s family’s place for lunch. After that we were back at my parent’s place for a few hours before I headed off to church (and then back home). As they sat down for a cup of tea I gave them each a copy of the letter and asked them to read it.
It was a pretty nerve raking few minutes whilst they read. :~
After they finished they just got up and walked over and gave me a hug. They told me that they’d always accept me no matter what. There were a few tears (as you can imagine). 🙂
We talked for a couple of hours. My parents were shocked. They had not suspected that I was gay though they had thought something was wrong over the years (like I felt guilty about something) and Mum had apparently made several comments to Dad that it was like I was trying to find myself. They said it also explained why I was so private. So I guess it filled in a few gaps.
They have been on their own journey with church and Christianity over the last few years and it seems that the timing was pretty good as they have been bought to a place where they were able to handle what I was saying. They didn’t want to argue with me over the bible though they were interested in what I thought the bible had to say so we talked briefly and I am going to send them the research I have done. They said that many of the comments they had made over the years didn’t reflect what they thought anymore and they were sorry, realizing that this would have made things harder.
They also said that they’d both experienced “interference” from their parents and because of this they didn’t want to force anything on my brother or I. They said that the main thing was that I was happy, and that I am true to myself.
As it turns out a close family friend is actually the grandmother of a gay Christian kid and a friend with several gay people so I have been told she will be really supportive. My mum says that with the extended family it is up to me (I probably wont bother though as I am not close to anyone) and that if anyone gives me any trouble they will have her to deal with. lol. 😀
Naturally, they are still working through the shock. And they don’t really understand what being gay means (it’s hard to explain stuff). But that’s ok. Maybe Love is an Orientation would help? Andrew Marin seems to be a straight guy with the best understanding of what being gay is like. Certainly AVB’s book is a bit much just yet. 😉
I plan to tell my brother in the next few days. My parents encouraged me to give him a letter as well, like I did with them. Then I will do everything else pretty quickly. Tell a few close friends that remain, and then make a Facebook note and come out publicly. It could be all done before the end of my holidays.
Afterwards I filled in a few people on what had happened, and decided to go out for the night and party. It was cause for celebration I thought!
This is the letter I ended up giving my parents:
Dear Mum and Dad,
I love you. I am very grateful to have you as my parents. After volunteering with [redacted] I have seen the type of things that could happen to anyone if they don’t have great parents like you. I did not get to choose you when I was born – I got lucky. You have both worked hard to give me a great start in life. I know you are proud of me, and I am proud of you for the sacrifices you have made. This is especially true given the financial pressures when I was younger and also the stress caused by our extended family over the last few years.
This needs to be said because sometimes I forget how lucky I am. I really appreciate your input into my life and I feel that I need to tell you something that has taken me a very long time to accept about myself and I think that possibly it might take you some time to process as well. Over quite a number of years I have moved from hating something about me to learning to love who I am.
I am gay. I first knew when I was only 12 but I thought it must be just the crazy hormones that were kicking in and that I’d grow out of it. I even told one of the guys back at [redacted] (as a passing comment) and they said much the same thing. But they were wrong, I didn’t grow out of it.
For the rest of high school I basically just ignored it. Everyone thought I was straight, so it was easy enough. I just didn’t gawk over girls like the other guys. But once I was at UNI I couldn’t ignore it any longer.
I didn’t take it very well when I finally “came out” to myself. In fact, I spent weeks depressed and I distinctly remember thinking that being gay was so horrible I could never even tell anyone, ever. But I did break my silence and told a small number of friends over the years – [redacted] was the first. Whilst not perfect they have proven to be really good friends. They continued to accept me as before and they gave me room (and someone to talk to) so I could figure things out without forcing their own views onto me. [redacted] has gone so far as to participate in an event against LGBT bullying.
I spent 3-4 years secretly reading up on all the ex-gay information I could find and trying to change myself. They contain a lot of lies about sexuality that are easy to believe when you are desperate. They even say bad things about you, my parents. At times over the last few years I blamed you for my sexuality and I am sorry for that. Because none of what I read was true. I was never abused, I am not emasculated, and you are fantastic parents.
After trying to change for so long and seeing no progress, nor any answer to my prayers, I reached a point where I knew that becoming straight would not be possible. Yet for me being a Christian and being gay were irreconcilable. I love God very much and it felt horrible to be in this position. I felt hurt because God wouldn’t fix me.
I finally did what I should have done many years ago – I studied what the bible truly said about homosexuality. I spent months learning as much as I could and when you ask for it I will show you my research. I have to say that I was surprised to find that the arguments against same-sex relationships, which had been repeated like gospel in church, were actually very weak. So eventually I came to accept who I am.
Being gay makes me special. Being a gay Christian makes me a testimony to the grace of God who loves me just as I am. The months since I have come to appreciate this have been the happiest in my life. I know that God loves me, and this is the most important thing. However, my relationship with you does mean a lot to me. I am still the same person as before and I hope that being gay will not affect the closeness we have shared.
I know that you do not approve of LGBT people. To be truly honest, you have made many comments over the years that I have found silently hurtful and this has made it much harder to come out to you. But the stereotype about gay people that the media and the church has made you believe is simply not true. Just because I am gay does not mean that I will sleep around or do drugs. I know several great Christian gay people in loving, committed relationships who show that whilst sexuality is not a choice, morality is.
I want to live my life in a way that still makes you proud. I love God and the way I have been able to help the less fortunate. My experience has given me a special concern for society’s rejects. As a gay Christian I have so many opportunities to kindly present God’s love in a way few can. I would not have chosen to be gay, but now I would not give it up. I love my life and I can’t keep this great part of it secret any longer.
I know this letter has been hard to read. As it took me years to accept myself, it may also take you some time. There is some help available. PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays) has a chapter in Brisbane. They can be found at http://www.pflagaustralia.org.au/. I can also put you in touch with parents of other young, gay Christians and please feel free to talk to whoever you need to. I have other resources about homosexuality that I will give you as you feel you are ready.
I love you, and I will still love you whatever your response is. I know this is a challenging situation, but I also know that you are strong and will respond with the same love that Jesus would. I’m here to answer any questions you have.?
Thanks everyone for your support and help editing the letter. I couldn’t have possibly imagined things would work out this well. Having the support of my family will be such a huge thing with whatever challenges life throws my way. 🙂
It caps off a really big year for me. I’ve moved twice, changed jobs (and accomplished a lot in those jobs), are changing churches, bought a house church to its natural conclusion, been to Canberra to lobby for better aid (and are currently being encouraged to nominate for an associate board member role of a major advocacy organisation), have gotten involved in street ministry with the homeless, been to Sydney and Melbourne twice, made many new friends, completely changed my views on my sexuality, and have now come out. It’s been the best year of my life. I never thought this year would be like this. I feel like I know myself, and I love it.