Thursday, November 11, 2010

Telling the 'Rents: Having the Convo...

You know those conversations where one subject leads to another in a smooth transition and you feel like many things were talked about and progress was made...

Yeah, my talk with my parents wasn't like that at all.

I went home and we ate dinner. I tried to keep it all pretty casual during the meal, as if it was any other time I'd come to dinner. Of course the whole time I was freaking out about how and what was going to happen. 

After dinner I asked if we could go into the living room to talk. I sat down on our couch and the room felt expansive. I felt like they were sitting fifty feet away from me, in reality it was like ten, max. I explained that one of my goals this year has been to work on honesty. Being honest and true with myself and with others. "Part of that is wanting to be completely honest with you too as well. Which is why I feel like it is important for you to know that I am gay."

My parents go silent. My mother leans back in her rocking chair like she's been shoved back by the words. My father stares at the ground for a moment that feels like five minutes. Awkward silence fills the room.

My dad finally speaks, "What does that mean?"

I think to myself that they really should know what it means. "It means that I am attracted to men instead of women." It's only later that the true meaning of his question comes to me. He wanted to know what that meant for me and my future, what are the consequences and challenges that I am going to face because of this, and what have I decided already to do with this information. But, at the time all I could hear was the shock and weight this information was having on my parents.

The whole rest of the night was filled with these awkward silences and a feeling that things were not processing or resolving in my parents mind. It was not the horrible scenario nor the wonderful reaction I had planned on. In a way is was very real and very complex. My parents were generally taken for surprise, although my mom said she thought it might be what I going to talk about, she had hoped she was wrong. I answered the few questions they asked, most of the time was spent in silence letting it all soak in. My parents both expressed love for me and empathized with my situation. 

I explained to them that I was still trying to figure things out about what my future would hold and the life decisions I was going to make. I was intentionally vague about my relationship with God and the church, one giant shock to reality at a time. That conversation will have to wait, but I did let them know that I had a temple recommend from a Bishop who knew I was gay. I excluded telling them that I've only been to the temple once since getting it and that was for my brother's wedding. 

When it came to understanding what the churches position on homosexuality was I was shocked and amazed to find that they really didn't know it at all. It was clear that part of the whole  problem with processing this info hinged on their lack of knowledge about what the church thought about it. It wasn't just the churches. They really needed to get to understand the concept of homosexuality in many other ways. I was taken back by all that.

My mom cried and bore her testimony. I shared how difficult it was trying to live in the closet and how it filled me feelings or worthlessness and guilt that I feel has been relieved since coming out to myself. My father shared with me how he knows about my potential in life to succeed in whatever I tackled, no matter what choices. these were the small nice parts of the evening. They were surrounded by awkwardness and feelings of un-resolution. 

After two hours of talking it was clear that we all needed to take a break and let things settle. I said I was going to go and my father suggested we have family prayer. I was apprehensive but knew that even speaking out loud can help resolved and comfort. We said a prayer and they gave me a hug and that was it.

I left my home that night not able to understand all the feelings and emotions that were expressed. Did it really just happen. Was that it. There is no turning back.

Over the next week I talked a bit more with my parents and they're coming along. It's gradual but they're trying to understand it all. It has been nice to not have to hide such a large part of me with the two most important people in the world to me.


  1. It really sounds like it went well. The initial conversations with my fam sound very similar to this. Just don't be surprised if things are weird for awhile. Try not to have any expectations.


  2. Thanks Kiley. The more I think about it the better I feel. Yeah it's really hard for me to not create expectations about things but I'm working on that. Thanks for the hug too.
    (((hugs))) you back!

  3. It was an act of kindness for you to tell them. It's going to let them back into your life. Congratulations. This is a cause for celebration.

  4. I'm jealous that both of your parents were able to handle the news. My dad will probably go to the grave not knowing. Your parents may not show it but now they love you more than they can explain. I'm glad you can feel and act like yourself. Remember sometimes no matter how much you honk you will still get run into. ;)

  5. Congratulations on doing a difficult but loving thing. Thanks also for sharing the experience here. There's a Salt Lake Tribune article that was published in today's edition that you might want to share with them: Updated LDS handbook softens language on gays.

    Good luck and please keep blogging about your experiences. Your ongoing story may make a huge positive difference in someone's life.

  6. Actually sounds like it went really well to me. I think you are the first person I've heard about who expected it to be better. All I will say is that youve done the best thing for all of you and be patient with them. The world as they know it just flew out the window. They will adjust.

  7. I wonder what has happened since then. Sounds like a genuine experience. I'm guessing this issue isn't over for your parents yet. I hope for the best.