‘Coming Out’ During the Holidays
We understand. Sometimes, problems with romantic relationships, friendships, career or family life get you down. And we want to help. That’s why JET is working with therapist, Jinnie Cristerna, who will take your questions and offer some sage, sanity-restoring advice and insight every Tuesday.
You can submit questions via email@example.com and don’t fret, we’ll keep your name and identity confidential.
QUESTION: I am a reasonably attractive man and have dated some intelligent and gorgeous women. I am very successful, and ambitious. My parents have pegged me to give them a few grandchildren and are always talking me up to their friends. The thing is, I’m gay and have been with my partner for about a year (no, I was not on the DL. This is my first same-sex relationship). When I stopped dating, I told my parents I was finding myself and was taking some time to think about what I wanted in a mate – and I found it! I plan to come out this Thanksgiving and would like your help because they are homophobic. What’s the best way for me to tell them? ~ Signed, Finally Free
Dear Finally Free,
I am so happy for you. It takes a lot of courage and self-love to take the time to connect with yourself and acknowledge your truth. As far as your plan to come out this holiday, I would strongly suggest you take great care in how you do it.
If your parents are indeed homophobic, you’ll probably be hard pressed to find a good time to tell them that you’re gay; however I am sure telling them at Thanksgiving dinner is not the best time.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
With that said, perhaps one of the following options may work for you or it may spark you to come up with something of your own creation:
1) Tell them after Thanksgiving dinner when the guests have left. This will give them an opportunity to celebrate the holidays as planned without having to potentially manage any intrusive or overwhelming emotions. This can also allow all of you more time to talk and process what this means without much interference or hurriedness.
2) Tell them before you arrive so they can prepare themselves for the holiday. This will give them an opportunity to celebrate the holiday with full awareness of and connection to their whole son. You all can interact with one another as you really are. This may be something to consider if Thanksgiving dinner consists of heated discussion around religion and politics. See #3.
3) Tell them as soon as you get there before the guests arrive; or if the guests have already arrived, tell them in private. Nothing feels more like a dull knife in the heart than the public announcement of a private matter. While your parents may feel some type of way about you coming out, whatever feeling they have is sure to be trumped by feelings of embarrassment and anger that they found out along with everyone else.
WHAT TO SAY
While I can be a great wordsmith, in situations like these presentation is everything. For some people, cutting to the quick is best and you could say something like, “Mom, dad, I’m gay.” Or, if you decide a little humor is needed to lighten the news, go for it. Use your best judgement to decide how to tell them, because in the end it has to come from you; no one can tell you what to say better than your heart.
While there are plenty of ways to come out to your family, if you are coming out this Thanksgiving (or any holiday season), these are the ones that make the most sense to me. This is a sensitive subject and should be treated with care and respect. Since I do not know your entire situation and the nuances of your family, I strongly encourage you to talk with someone you trust and use your best judgement before deciding how to come out.
Regardless of what you choose to do, make sure you are comfortable with your decision. It is your life and I wish you all of the happiness your heart can hold.
With love and light … pleasant journeys.
Do you have a question for Jinnie? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be sure to keep it anonymous and confidential. You can also learn more about our “Moment of Clarity” JET therapist via:
Her site at International High Achievers.
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You can also subscribe to her High Achievers email list here!