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"My mother holds the philosophy that I have to have experience in order to be gay (kiss a girl). I hate that I don’t feel safe or accepted by her, even though we have a terrible relationship. What do I do?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Shane Billings as part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

Shane Says:

Oh man, parents can be the trickiest. It’s like, they hear ONE Katy Perry song and all of a sudden they’re like “If you haven’t recorded a hit single about the girls you’ve kissed, how can you even be GAY?!” You have my complete and genuine sympathy, and if you do feel unsafe, please talk to a responsible adult, or reach out to THESE FOLKS, who are always available to help and support you.

In the meantime, here are some (hopefully) helpful points to keep in mind, and perhaps share with your mom.

Sure, there are SOME things you need to experience before you know whether they’re for you. Like Thai food, or toenail polish. Some things, however, you don’t.  Like, I don’t need to get hit by a Subaru to know it hurts. There are absolutely people who have ~*~ExPeRiEnCeS~*~ that inspire the realization that they are, in fact, gay. But the experience is not a prerequisite, by any means.

And by the way, you are never ever required to verify or demonstrate your identity — not for your mother, or your friends, or for Michelle Obama… if she asks… which would be awesome… but still. Coming Out is extremely important for yourself, but there is no clause in the Gay Commandments that stipulates that price of admission for being gay is the performance of THREE QUEER ACTS.

A couple years ago I stumbled onto this quote:

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”

The PRIVILEGE of OWNING YOURSELF is the part that gets me. Remember that, my friend. Maybe even write it down somewhere, and look at it once in a while to remind yourself that you are your own rainbow.

If you can, keep talking to your mom, or write her a letter, letting her know that you don’t feel safe or supported. At the very least, you’ll have expressed how you feel, and it will help you start doing the work of moving forward. But always remember that there is a community of us out here, always supporting you and always working to create a safe place for you.

***

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"So my mum outed me as gay to my 93 year old conservative grandfather. She did it because my Pop was ranting about gay marriage was a sin and she used me as an example of why it isn't. I found out my mum also outed me to my Nan who's fine with it. Am I wrong in feeling upset about this? I'm not sure what I should feel or do about my Mum outing me, help please?"

-Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

Agh, this is hard. First, I want you to know your feelings are completely valid. I would be totally bummed if / SLASH WAS totally bummed when my mom outed me to my family. It isn’t cool, it’s a direct disrespect of your privacy, and you have every right to be angry.

I do want to take a step back and remind you that people fuck up. All the time. Not only do people fuck up, but moms fuck up. It took a while for me to realize that parents are just people. I expected soooo much from my parents because they’re my parents, and they’re supposed to be invincible and nearly perfect! Turns out, they’re not. They aren’t perfect, and they do fuck up. Your mom is only human.

If I were you, I’d talk to her. Tell her that you don’t appreciate her telling your grandparents without talking to you. I know, I know, it was in the middle of a heated convo and it probably just slipped out. Forgive her for that, but ask her to be more careful in the future. At this juncture, she probably doesn’t realize how much this affects you. She probably thinks you were going to eventually come out anyway, so she’ll spare you the agony, right? She meant well, or at least hopefully meant well, and it’s about forgiveness and moving forward. The moving forward part includes her being more respectful of you, your privacy, and your identity. So talk to her, ask for the things you need and allow her to ask questions. The two of you will totally work it out, promise.

Kristin Says:

The thing that I keep thinking about while reading your query, Anonymous, is the feeling of fury and hurt that must have risen up in your mom’s middle when she heard her father saying something hurtful about her child.

It’s something I can’t imagine clearly, not being a mother myself – something that you probably can’t imagine, either – but based on how I feel if someone says something about my own identity, or how I feel if someone speaks against my sister or my wife, I know it’s gut-wrenching… and I know we don’t always work on our best judgement in the face of that fury.

That doesn’t excuse your mom, but I feel like it is an important thing to think about before you talk to her (you should absolutely talk to her). She didn’t tell them ‘just because,’ she told them because she was like FUCK YOU MY KID IS MY KID AND I LOVE HER AND NOW HOW DO YOU FEEL YOU BIG JERK?! In the moment, I am certain, she only thought of coming to your side, supporting you, and letting them know that she does and will always love and support the person you are.

So. You should absolutely follow Dannielle’s advice and talk to her about how being outed made you feel, and how you want to be able to talk to her in the future about who knows, and how they are told. If you can, tell her that you know she was just trying to protect you, but that it is important for her not to make any snap decisions right now, until you are comfortable being out more publicly… and especially when it comes to family members who are close to you.

You have every right to feel upset.

Luckily we are human beings who can carry a whole boatload of different emotions at once, so your mom will understand that your hurt isn’t the only feeling that you are carrying, and you can understand that disrespecting your process wasn’t at the core of her actions.

<3

***

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"Okay, so I'm a trans guy in my mid-teens, and I recently came out to my parents. However, they are confused about a few things (which I tried my best to explain), and I was wondering what resources I could give to help them find clarity amidst the chaos of gender..."

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle and Kristin Say:

THREE CHEERS FOR PARENTS WHO WANT TO KNOW MORE!

A few resources, from our brains and yours:

1. The Gender Book
2. The Gender Section of The Parents Project
3. Comprehensive resource list from Art of Transliness
4. This video (and channel!) from Skylar Kergil
5. PFLAG
6. Legal Know-How from The Transgender Law Center
7. Local Resource Listings from GLBT Near Me
8. Gender Spectrum‘s Ongoing List of Articles

Readers, comment on this post to help & add!!

<3<3

***

Hi! Our advice is always free for all to read & watch. Help us keep this gay ship chuggin’ by donating as little as $1/month over here on Patreon. xo

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"I want to come out to my parents, but my dad is in the military, and he’s always talked really shitty about gay people… so I have no idea what he will think when he finds out that his son is gay. :/"

- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Shane Billings as part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

Shane Says:

Dear Young Baller: It has been my experience that people who talk really shitty about gays do so because they feel threatened and/or scared by the gays. Which is understandable because, like, have you SEEN that picture of Neil Patrick Harris holding a snake?!

I don’t know your father, but if I had to make a guess, I’d say he doesn’t hate the gays so much as he’s nervous about how the good gays (the ones that practice good gay sorcery) undermine the system that says “masculinity” is superior to “femininity.” We represent a huge change in social and cultural thought, and that is pretty effing scary.

Let me pause to say how much your situation resonates with me: my parents served in the Navy, so I know firsthand how military traditions — which essentially tell you to follow orders, fall in line, and cut your LUSCIOUS HAIR — can directly challenge the process of proclaiming, to yourself and to others, “I’M HERE AND I’M QUEER, Y’ALL.”

Let me also pause and ask that you please be safe, Young Baller. If at any point in the coming out process you feel like you’re at risk — bullying, abuse, or being thrown out by your parents — there are resources in place to help you. And whatever you do, do NOT trust anything you see or hear from an episode of Glee.

Try this: casually force your parents to watch The Birdcage with you. Tell them, for school, you have to compare and contrast a French work (La Cage aux Folles) with its English adaptation. Or just tell them to shut up and behold: Nathan Lane and Robin Williams conjure perfect cinematic comedy.

The reason I mention The Birdcage is because the whole story is about heterosexuals coming to terms with the gays, and gays coming to terms with themselves. It’s also about parenthood, and what it means to love selflessly, with some of the most AMAZING 90s hairdos and outfits (speedos) this world has ever seen. There’s even a hilarious mention of gays in the military, which might be useful common ground for you and your dad.

If you need reference material, GQ featured profiles of gay servicemen back in 2011, with the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. You could also mention Alexander the Great (huge queen) or the hundreds of lesbians who made up the WAC Battalions during World War II.

And if it’s any consolation, my dad instructed me explicitly as a kid: “Don’t be gay.” Whoopsie! But when I finally came out to him (right before I boarded a plane back to college, perfect exit strategy), he told me how proud he was, and how brave I was for coming out. And like, they give MEDALS to military personnel who demonstrate bravery.

Best of luck to you, Young Baller! Personally, I think you and anyone who comes out to his or her parents deserves a medal, because there’s really nothing quite like facing the terror of Coming Out. Except NPH and that effing snake.

Queerly yours,
Shane

**

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Episode 118

Holiday Roadcast ft. FIVE advice questions + FIVE Mariah Lipsyncs?! "Should I come out over the holidays??" // "Okay but THEN HOW SHOULD I COME OUT??" // "Dannielle & Kristin, What are your favorite holiday songs?" // "I hate unwrapping gifts in front of people, HELP." // "What do I say when my relatives try to set me up on dates?!" Happy Holigays!!! <3

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