“If I had to come out to my family all over again? I wouldn’t change a thing”
BY YAIZA CANOPOLI
Coming out via text was not my first choice – to be honest, coming out in general was never really the plan.
My mom has always been a big supporter of Pride and LGBTQI movements and I often ordered queer books to our home – my mom even unpacking them for me or wrapping them for Christmas.
I had a huge rainbow flag hung over my bed all the way through high school and yet, somehow, my parents were convinced I was just a “very passionate” activist. My younger brother, however, knew all along.
So – clueless parents considered – coming out via text turned out to be a good decision. A rash and impulsive one, definitely, but also one that worked out for the best.
My original plan was to never really come out; I don’t think it’s anyone’s business who I’m attracted to, but then my girlfriend came along and as we were making dinner in her student house one evening, I told her I was about to text the family group chat to tell them we were dating.
“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God…”
I sent the text before she’d even finished protesting.
After I pressed send, I was left staring into the pasta/checking my phone for a response (every two seconds). First came my dad, sending a 👍🏼
“Good enough,” I think. He never sends long messages. Then my mom joined in, congratulating me on the relationship. My brother, sensing potential discomfort, then sent a targeted reminder that at least my mom “already knows my partner.” (My girlfriend had come to stay with us over Easter when we were still just friends, and my mom adored her).
I didn’t really think about it much more after that – until it was time to call my mom. We talked about the usual things; university and how the dog was doing until, finally, I got too curious and asked about my dad’s reaction…
He’d been watching TV with her when they both got the message, she told me, and his immediate reaction was to state, matter of fact, that I now, “had less of a chance of experiencing gendered violence.”
I was rolling my eyes at this when the surprise came – my mom was actually the one who struggled with my coming out text.
She knew it was wrong to be upset. She had sent her congratulations, but spent the next few days crying. She didn’t know why she was so upset, as she had always supported LGBTQI rights, then she called my brother, and their (weird) magical connection did the trick of unraveling her feelings.
She figured out that she’d felt a sudden distance from me, feeling she wouldn’t be able to understand me anymore. (Backstory: We’d always been very different from each other and I’d always had a harder time getting along with her than with my dad.) In short, she felt betrayed by her daughter being so different from her – and she felt even more betrayed by her own feelings.
In a sense, I preferred this admission to her original text. A simple congratulations felt a little empty, it was something she could have sent to anyone. But a week of ups and downs and introspection was not only very typical of my mother, it also felt like a gesture of love.
This was the introspection that coming out via text really allowed. The distance and the time I was able to give my family to process this information made the experience of coming out a much smoother one for me, personally.
Now when my dad calls he always asks how my girlfriend is doing and my mom leaves (too many) heart emojis under her Instagram posts ❤️❤️❤️
If I had to come out to my family all over again? I wouldn’t change a thing.
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