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“do you have any advice on how to come out? I’m a lesbian, but i come from a VERY religious family. My family is African-American, and they think it’s not okay for an African-American to go against God’s word (something like that.) I live with my mum and brother, and I want to know how to tell my mum that I am not heterosexual. Thanks!”

- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Broderick Greer as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

Broderick Says:

Dear Anonymous,

I don’t know if anyone has told you before, so I will: you are a person of courage. It not only takes courage to tell the people you love the truth about who you are, but it takes courage to even have the desire to tell the people you love who you truly are. You deserve a chorus of cheers for your bravery.

There is no right way to come out. Coming out varies from person to person. Some people do it over the phone, others on YouTube. Some do it in public speeches and others do it through a letter. It depends on what feels right and works for you. Remember, it is your decision and yours alone. It may be helpful to find a close friend to practice coming with. Prepare your announcement in advance and say what comes to mind. If it doesn’t come out the way you’d like, be gentle with yourself.

Like your parents, I am African-American and very religious. I pray and attend church on a daily basis. Like you, I am a gay person with hopes of becoming an honest, integrated, whole human being. None of these desires or realities are in conflict with each other. In fact, all of these desires and realities make my life an enriching tapestry of experiences. Does this make coming out to your mother easier? I doubt it. Whatever her response to your coming out is, I want you to know one thing: you are loved. Whether or not you believe in God, God loves and believes in you; I love you; and your friends love you.

Even though coming out is deeply personal, it is still deeply public. As soon as you verbalize your sexual orientation to another person, you are opening up yourself to a set of unique challenges and joys over the course of your life. It will not be a journey filled with dandelions, butterflies, and unicorns. Your journey of self-discovery may very well be one filled with pain and difficulty. But in the midst of pain and difficulty, let yourself be surprised by moments of beauty, love, and goodness. Hold on to whatever pieces of gratitude you come across.

You are surrounded by an expansive community of support whether you realize it or not. It is a community of queers who know what it’s like to not be appreciated for who they are. It is a community of marginalized people who have been where you are. And it is a community of people like me who are rooting for your flourishing. So my friend, flourish. Accept love. Sit in silent spaces and know that you are deeply appreciated by your Creator. Ignore your haters.

Yours,

Broderick

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