Monday, December 8, 2008

The Safe First Step I Took To Come Out To My Mother

19 comments

Like me, if you are thinking about how to escape from the parental pressure to marry an opposite gender in the near future, there is only one way. Come out to to your parents. Don't lie, don't lead a double life, tell them the truth. Your homosexuality is a part of you and suppressing it could only result in pains and not just for you, but for all the people who are close to you. And in my opinion, a parent has every right to know about this part of their child.

A brilliantly executed scene from Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd.
Suppressing your homosexuality could only result in pains and not just for you, but for all the people who are close to you.

True, all parents dream of their child's wedding and wait anxiously to spoil their grandchild with all their love. But I don't think any parent would want their son or daughter to take a path that could result only in agony and frustration. Why make them feel guilty in future when in fact you could have prevented all the throe if you had the balls to come clean to them. And while coming out, the last thing you want to happen is your parents getting all worked up because of some misapprehensions regarding homosexuality, thanks to our media. So it is our responsibility to give them a vivid thought about homosexuality - that it is not some disease, that being gay is not equivalent to being affected with HIV or AIDS, that how gay people can look absolutely the same as any straight person you pick from the crowd, and that how the love between two men and between two women being no lesser that than the love between a man and a woman.

But how to make our parents understand all these without putting doubt in their minds that you could be gay? One of my friends chose to come out to his close friend by making him read about homosexuality from a book. Do not do something like that to your parents. It could only expose yourself to the question of why you are making them read and that in turn could force you in confessing the truth when you are not even ready. The best option is to arrange a situation where you and your parents could watch something that handles the subject positively in a non-thrusting manner.

Crazy Sam's BloginessWill & Grace is a good option, but if sitcoms are not their cup of tea and if they do not get the gay jokes and puns, I don't think they will be interested to sit through the entire 20 minutes. I used to make a big deal about Friends and Will & Grace to my mother and she finally succumbed to the curiosity and we used to watch these sitcoms together. (We have also watched Three's Company, Full House, Small Wonder, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Who's The Boss? and Seinfeld.)

Crazy Sam's BloginessReema Kagti's Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. is another good choice, but I feel it is packed with tales of so many people that one may fail to give deserving importance to the message it tries to give out regarding gays. Even then, this one is highly recommended.

The two movies I mentioned in an earlier post,
Mambo Italiano and A Love To Hide are also good ones, but I have no idea why I missed one absolutely brilliant movie which is just perfect to show to your parents without putting your sexual orientation on the confession table. The movie is called Wedding Wars. Its story revolves around a straight wedding where the question of gay marriage is thrown in. And by doing that, the movie enlightens the viewers about the whole gay concept without being all gay-pushy. It deals with two brothers finding hard to accept each other because one is gay, a son coming out to his parents, the love between two gay men and the social chaos created when a governor goes against gay marriages to ensure the safety of his voting bank although he supports gay rights (an Obama situation). Now you will ask me, with so much of gay ingredients put in, how can I say that this movie is not gay-pushy? I think that is the skill of the writer, Stephen Mazur and the director, Jim Fall. They (together with all those superbly talented actors including John Stamos) maintained a delicate move. At IMDB, even though this movie is categorized as comedy, in my opinion it's the perfect gay-friendly straight movie which was bold to bring together gays and politics without offending anyone.

Crazy Sam's Bloginess

I remember when I watched it for the first time a year ago, I was like, "Wow! What a perfect movie to show to my parents!!" And last week that's what I did, well.. to my mother at least, coz it is almost impossible to force my father to watch an entire movie unless he is inside a cinema hall. During the movie when the governor declares his disapproval towards gay marriage, my mother had a surprised laugh. I don't know whether that laugh was for the awkward moment that developed between the two brothers or she actually felt that the governor was being unfair. The movie has a happy ending, and my mother and I were smiling. And nope, she didn't ask me why I put this movie and I'm sure I was able to show her that side of gays, which I want her to associate with, when I come out to her in the future.

Although no one can be a perfect guide on how to come out to ones parents, friends or co-workers, there are ways that you should never take, no matter how tempted you could be. Cosmopolitan in their 12th Anniversary issue (Ah! That was one heavy loaded one!) exposed four ways you should avoid at any cost when revealing your alternate sexual orientation.

1. Never come out over the phone.
2. Never come out in anger.
3. Never come out through third party.
4. Never come out in revenge.

Crazy Sam's BloginessIf you want to read their take, turn to page 374 of this year's October issue of Cosmopolitan (Indian edition) OR.... Guess what! You can read the online version from here! Now didn't I tell you, Cosmopolitan is for the fun fearless gay male?

And there are some movies which you should try to keep out from your parents' vicinity - Tarun Mansukhani's Dostana, Karan Razdan's Girlfriend*, Gautham Menon's Vettaiyadu Villaiyadu* are some of the popular ones.

By the way, if you are thinking about coming out to your co-workers, let me tell you it will not be a safe bet. I prefer coming out to my close friends and parents,and I would try to stall endlessly on doing the same to co-workers.

* from the sentiments of many gay Indians.

Disclaimer: I understand that the living and social situations of many gay youth will not be the same as mine. The views expressed in this post should be taken only as suggestions, the end decision is left to your discretion.

I dedicate this post to our Indian Army, National Security Guard commandos and Mumbai Police force for their brave and courageous act in flushing out the terrorists from Mumbai, India.

I support Vishal Dadlani's cause to file petition against Indian TV News channels regarding their unethical conduct during the reporting of Mumbai terrorist attacks. If you support the cause, visit http://smallchange.in/ to sign the petition. Also I request you to refrain from discussing this issue (whatsoever your stand is) in the comment section.

Check out these related posts too!
Gays And Mothers
You Are Gay!

  • Anonymous December 8, 2008 at 8:07 PM
     

    Its tru and something being faced by allmost evry guy today. This thing heats up further when you are staying in a joint family and see your cousins getting married and relatives start pinching you by saying " You're next !"

  • unsungpsalm December 8, 2008 at 9:01 PM
     

    Oh wow, I'd violated Point 1(worse, it was SMS!) and 2 of the coming-out0guide in my first (and only till date) experience!

    Nonetheless, shall watch these movies. I sort of played a Gay kiss from W&G in front of my Mom yesterday but she didn't even react :(

  • Jackdaw December 9, 2008 at 7:12 PM
     

    That's a really great post, Sam. I think it will be very useful for anyone who's considering coming out. I'm waiting for the book "Crazy Sam's Coming Out Guide". If you need a co-author, you know where to find me.

    I agree with almost everything you wrote except for the films, as I haven't seen any of them. However, after reading your post on Dostana, I'm sure you use the same criteria as I do.

    As for coming out to co-workers: usually sexual orientation doesn't come up in conversations with co-workers, and the few times it does, it won't feel like lying when you dodge a question or laugh away a remark. However, with family and friends it hard to hide your orientation without lying, and therefore it's far more important to come out to them.

    That brings me to my next point. You omitted the most important part of coming out: I never met anyone who regretted having come out. The only regret is that they postponed it for so long. Everyone thinks that their parents will never completely accept it, and that they will lose friends. But whatever happens, after you have come out you've come clean with yourself: no more lies to the ones you love. Coming out is setting yourself free -- even when you thought you were free already.

    Something to realize when coming out: Apart from your parents, no one is so involved in your life that they really care whether you sleep with men or women. And parents do not really care about that either, it's just the shock that this new ingredient changes all their dreams about your future. "Changes", NOT "destroys"... and they need time to realize that.

    Finally, another point to add to the list of things to avoid:
    If you are gay, don't tell people you're bisexual. Just don't.

    P.S. For those who read this comment and haven't come out yet: don't follow the link to my blog. My post about coming out to my parents is not very encouraging.

  • aydiv December 10, 2008 at 2:51 PM
     

    Well I like reading your post, and understand the "You Next ( for marriage)" syndrome. Not leading a double life is very important, not just for the person or the parents but also for that poor girl who will have to marry the person if they don't come out. She gets sucked into it because someone didnt have the guts to tell the truth.
    I am sure your mom will understand, you seems to have a close relationship with her. What about letting her read some of ur post (not all :) , so that she knows how much you care about her, and what her acceptance means to you.
    You can say you wrote it for some magazine, I'm sure you wouldnt want her reading all your post regularly. :)
    All the best

  • Crazy Sam December 11, 2008 at 8:04 AM
     

    Anonymous: The you're next thingy is such an irking one. I bet even the unmarried straight folks find it irritating.

    Unsung: Yes, I have read that! Well.. If your mother didn't react to the gay kiss, then I think she didn't find it offensive. And that's a good thing, don't you feel so?

    Jackdaw: Thanks dude for your invaluable thoughts, they are just perfect for this post. I know I haven't fully touched on the coming-out issues, I thought I would cover them in future closets-are-for-clothes-posts when I am also confident. "Crazy Sam's Coming Out Guide"? - Let's not push it. Haha!

    As for coming out to co-workers, I wasn't talking about a situation when sexual orientation comes up in casual conversations. Sometimes we may feel like we can open up to our closest colleague, but I think that is a bad idea. I remind myself to consider colleagues different from school-college friends.

    I agree to your view that no one has regretted for coming out. Coming out is actually a path towards liberation and those who truly love you will accept you no matter what.

    You absolutely hit the nail on the head regarding the dreams of parents changing and not destroying. I also want to talk about how we should give time to parents to adjust with this new "change" in a future post.

    I read your coming out experience. I'm glad to know your parents are now supportive after the initial hiccups. I think by giving an impression that one is bisexual, it could lead to more confusions. Let's keep it simple - "Mom, Dad.. I'm gay."

    Vidya: Yes I totally get what you are saying. We all concentrate on the sufferings of gay guy that most of the times we do not think about the sad state of the wife. But most of these women, surprisingly are forgiving. After the divorce, they care to keep in touch with their ex-husbands.

    Taking Indian scenario, the wife may even not be knowing husband's homosexuality and the husband will be sleeping with men to satisfy his libido. And if he is not practicing safe sex, think what that could put the wife into!

    I too hope that my mother will understand, but l don't want her to see my blog. Thanks for the wishes, I might need a lot of them. :)

  • Prash December 11, 2008 at 12:45 PM
     

    ok, my question is did you come out finally ?

    to be frank, i am not out to my parents and i don't feel supressed or anything. I agree they have all rights to know. but it is just that they won't understand and in their world such a think doesn't exist...at their age, i just leave them in peace...better they worry about my celibacy rather than their nightmares about me and men !

    I discovered a new movie (cf: the video)...thks ! I find the guy hot !

  • pepe M. December 11, 2008 at 5:56 PM
     

    hmm, i hate to say this didnt help me at all...
    i second prash, i really dont find the necessity to come out...

  • chandni December 11, 2008 at 11:05 PM
     

    Its a great post Sam!!!

    i am sure a lot of people can use this advice and make a sensible coming out decision!

    good luck!

  • Crazy Sam December 11, 2008 at 11:51 PM
     

    Prash and Pepe: Guys, I was talking about the situation when your parents force you for the marriage. I know my parents will, and some of the relatives have already put that question. Thankfully, my parents told them that they would be comfortable with the gal I decide to bring home.

    Prash, if you think your parents are better left to worry about your "celibacy" life, then I should respect your decision. Although I haven't really stalked you, I remember you saying that you are pretty much out to all your friends and colleagues. And this could be the reason that you're not feeling suppressed. Most of the gay Indians (including me) are not lucky like that, and majority of them haven't come out even to at least one of their closest friends (I'm lucky that I was able to come out to few). So I think for them, this whole gay thingy feels like a hardcore nightmare.

    Pepe, I feel the reason that you don't find the need to come out is because you may be in a similar situation to that of Prash or that you have someone to whom you can talk about your gay feelings.

    The intend of this post was not to push people to come out to their parents, rather it was just trying to suggest that there is a way if one doesn't want to lead a double life. I am of the opinion that coming out should be a personal decision and a personal need, and it should not be a forced one.

    And finally, to put all your doubts to rest.. I haven't come out to my parents yet. :D

    Chandni: Thanks Chandni, I too hope that way!

  • closetalk December 12, 2008 at 10:30 AM
     

    lol. i agree. coming out IS important. :) u know, i missed seeing HT, but i do believe my parents saw it - and loved it! :)

    as for me personally - next time i'm home, i do the speech with drumrolls intact! as of now, i'm no. 1: no coming out over the phone! :)

  • Oxy December 13, 2008 at 3:56 AM
     

    There is something for you here: http://blessed-curse.blogspot.com/2008/12/time-to-show-off.html

  • amit December 13, 2008 at 10:39 PM
     

    Great post!
    In India, coming out and saying that you are gay is still taboo. Its one thing to see it on television and movies where your parents can be ok because its not happening in the family. But, it will be an entirely different thing for them to accept the fact that their child have a different sexual orientation. The worst part is that they would immediately start thinking about their social standing.
    In India, we still have to go a long way to accept "different" as "exotic".

  • Crazy Sam December 16, 2008 at 8:35 PM
     

    Closetalk: All the best dude! :)

    Oxy: Aww.. that's too sweet of you, thanks!

    Amit: Yes, you are totally right. We may seem to accept things as long as they are not happening to us. I'm aware of that fact. But I need to try my level best to make sure that the strength of the blow my parents could receive when I come out to them, is as low as possible.

  • Mac Callister December 19, 2008 at 1:37 AM
     

    me,i nevr come out literally to my parents,it just amatter of parents knows their child than any1 else and since i didnt introduce any gf to them and that i only introduce male bestfriend that in reality are my bf's they actually get it already without saying it out loud and they respected me as long as i have a decent and respectful guy haha

  • Mac Callister December 19, 2008 at 1:39 AM
     

    hmm being a gaythemed movie hunter i will definetely look for those titles you mentioned hope its worth watching thanks man!

  • Soul Seared Dreamer December 23, 2008 at 9:04 PM
     

    Hmm I disagree with quite a bit of what you've written here.. esp coming out at work. I'm out at both work places and everyone is fine with it. In fact it was the comfort of it with others that gace me the confidence to come ouot at home.

    I do agree though that you've got to do it diplomatically with parents/family.

    I've never heard of "Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd" so will def have to check that out.

    Nor have I heard of "Wedding Wars" but I did a search on my online DVD rental company and couldn't trace that one.

  • Crazy Sam December 28, 2008 at 8:34 PM
     

    Mac Callister: Mac, you are really lucky to have such understanding parents. Yes, you should check out these movies.

    Amit: Let's not forget the fact that you're in a place, which is gay-friendlier than India. I believe it is always safe to keep personal stuff away from office. Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. and Wedding Wars are must watch. By the way, Wedding Wars is not a theater-released movie, it was made by Sony Pictures and A&E TV Network for American audience.

  • Soul Seared Dreamer December 31, 2008 at 3:40 AM
     

    I just had 'Honeymoon' delivered this morning. So will def check it out very soon.

    So Sammy how do I go about getting 'Wedding Wars'?

    As for the work thing. I think it's a personal choice but yes I agree it would be easy here than out there.

  • Anonymous December 5, 2009 at 7:56 PM
     

    Will and Grace and a completely English scene from Honeymoon travels?


    Aah, so only the English-speaking mothers need to be come out to.


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