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Mom, I’m Gay

My heart was in my throat. I had put it off till the last minute. I had waited for the perfect time, but is there ever actually a “perfect time” to let your parents know you are gay? A million thoughts raced through my mind. “What would my parents think?” “What about my siblings?” “What if my parents wanted nothing to do with me after?” I shrugged all these question off and decided it had to be tonight and it had to be now.

“Mom,” I said, voice trembling, “I have to tell you something.”

“I’m gay.”

 

The decision to tell my parents was years in the making, but a conversation two weeks earlier with one of my roommates, Scotty, fast-tracked my decision to come out. We were walking through downtown Tampa on a warm, humid night. Talking about the usual, what classes were kicking our asses, what professors had decided to make this weekend less of a weekend and more of a study marathon, our intramural teams, etc. All of a sudden we weren’t talking about sports anymore. Instea, Scotty’s demeanor had changed and I knew what he was going to ask me before it had left his lips.

“So Josh, I want to ask you something,” Scotty said. “Me and the guys were talking, and we kinda realized that you don’t ever talk about girls, don’t go on dates or stuff like that.”

“Um… ok,” I said.

“So… (insert long uncomfortable pause here) like, are you gay?”

My face was hot. I had never been so relieved and so terrified at the same time.

“Eww, no!” I said as fast as I could, lying through my teeth while trying to awkwardly laugh it off.

“Ok, but even if you were it wouldn’t change anything, we love you dude,” Scotty explained.

“No dude, I’m not,” I said, again trying to laugh off the question, and the subject altogether.

We resumed our usual topics of discussion and continued walking along the river that ran next to our school. As far as I know, Scotty didn’t think about this topic again until a couple weeks later when I came out to all my friends.

I couldn’t stop thinking about it, however, Scotty had set my mind on full-blown race mode. Maybe it was time for me to come out. I didn’t want to have to live in secrecy anymore. If Scotty was saying they would be okay with it, maybe they actually would. I decided that night to come out, but made the decision that it had to be to my family first, as they were coming to visit that next week. That week arrived and I had planned to tell them as soon as I could. Everyday I got closer and closer to coming out of the closet.

One day I got so close, that I felt the words formulating in my throat. We were on the beach and all the siblings were back in the beach house that my family was staying in, or playing down by the water. “Mom, Dad,” I said. My internal alarm went off. Abort! Abort!

“Never mind.”

The days and opportunities kept passing and as the last night that they would be staying approached I knew I had no other choice but to tell them. All the younger kids were asleep. My dad and brother weren’t at the beach house and I found myself alone with my mom in the beach themed living room. My mom had opened a bottle of wine and I was on my third glass, needing the extra liquid courage. I stared at the sand dollars on the wall behind the TV. Again I could feel the words starting to slip from the end of my tongue. I looked at my half full wine glass, knocked it back like a shot of Patron without a lime and decided it was now or never.

“Mom,” I said, voice trembling, “I have to tell you something.”

“I’m gay.”

“Okay,” was all she said.

I waited for more. What seemed like hours passed. In reality it was only a couple of minutes, but I had never felt more tension in my life. My hands were sweaty, face red, trembling all over.

“That’s all you're gonnna say, Mom?” I asked.

“I mean obviously we still love you and don’t care,” my mom explained. “We just want you to be happy. Do you want to tell dad or do you want me to?”

“You can,” I said, not wanting anything to do with that conversation.

We finished our wine and my mom went up to her room. My dad came home and went upstairs; I pretended to be asleep on the couch. I will never forget the crippling fear I felt as I heard my parent’s door open about twenty minutes later, and my dad walking down the steps, his feet on the sand covered steps almost as loud as my heartbeat. I still faked sleeping.

“Josh, I love you. And want you to be happy, and don’t care,” my dad said. “Just remember, you still love sports, you don’t have to turn to pink tutus now.”

I explained to my dad that this was just a small part of who I was and that I was still the same Josh. As he retreated to his room a wave of relief washed over me like the waves on the sand some 50 yards away from where I lay. 20 years of pretending to be someone I wasn’t were over. I felt like a prisoner who had broken out of prison, everything had changed. I rolled over and let out a sigh of relief and closed my eyes to fall asleep for the first time, without a giant secret to tell.

 

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