The time has come. The whole family is around the dinner table and you’re feeling confident. While your brother passes the salad around and your dad saws off another slice of rye, you don’t even put your fork down to say, “Guys, I think I’m gay.”
There’s a pause. Your sister’s eyes dart from face to face, gauging the general response. When no one seems phased, she says, “OK,” and everyone goes back to spreading goat’s milk cheese on their bread and serving heaps of beetroot and sweet corn onto their plates.
Suffice to say your coming-out is a non-event. While at the time you count your lucky stars, little do you know that despite being totally accepting of your sexual identity, your nearest and dearest have a few niggling questions and concerns they want to ask, but don’t dare to, for fear of sounding intolerant.
One way or another, those concerns will be aired, even if you don’t realize it at first…
- Like when you go to the hairdressers and finally get the rad cut you’ve been mulling over for months, and when your sister sees it for the first time, she says, “I like it, but it’s quite severe…”
Translation: Do you want to look gay?
It might take a while for her to be able to formulate it in so many words, but once she finally does, it gives you the chance to explain to her that straight isn’t neutral and that while you might look gay, she and the rest of the family look pretty straight to you.
- Or when you walk down the stairs, all ready to go out, and your mother says, “Don’t you want to wear something a little softer?”
Translation: Change now. You look butch.
Turns out the gay thing is easier to digest than the gender thing.
- Or how about when you’re trying to stream a TV series with your brother and some soft porn pops up onto the screen, and he asks, “Is she your type?”
Translation: How should we talk about girls now?
While you stutter and give an embarrassed reply that leaves the two of you feeling awkward, you genuinely appreciate the clumsy attempt to connect as broheims.
- Then there will be that moment when, out of the blue, you get an email from your dad with a subject line like: “Lesbian’s rape-murder goes unprosecuted” or “Malawians jailed for homosexuality” and in the body of the email is nothing but a link to the article.
It turns out your dad is worried that your open-minded friends and chilled family will lull you into thinking this being gay business is going to be a breeze – and lord know you’re doing yourself no favours with that haircut. Little does he know, you’ve already read the articles, watched the documentaries and worried about your LinkedIn profile picture. You might seem dismissive when the news comes on, but you’re actually just doing your best to be brave.