A Coming Out Story


Mary Miller, staff editorial/columnist

I sit on the edge of my parents’ bed, watching tears pour from my brother’s eyes as my mom tells me that my brother is gay.

“How is he going to have kids?” I worriedly ask.

My biggest concern was not that my brother likes boys, but that I wanted nieces and nephews, and my 9-year-old brain had not yet been introduced to the idea of adoption.

My father was nowhere to be seen during this emotional milestone.

Whether he was at work or avoiding the conversation altogether is anyone’s guess.

In the years that followed, his emotional and physical absences became even more apparent.

I remember going to the NOH8 campaign about a year after my brother came out and my father deciding he wasn’t going with us.
I remember him not being very understanding when my brother wanted to dress up as Frank N’ Furter for a live showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” a queer-inclusive film.
I, unfortunately, and vividly, remember my father stubbornly enforcing his ill-reasoned rule that my brother could not have girls sleep in his room, up until my parents separated and my father left the house because my brother and his friends might get “curious.”

Having already been forced into coming out to our father, my brother was a huge support to me when it was finally my turn.

“If you need me for anything, I will get on a plane to Texas and I will be there for you,” he said to me.

I began to question my own sexuality shortly after my brother came out.

What was first a simple curiosity became a dreaded reality.

I realized I am gay.

After coming out for the first time to some of my closest friends, I immediately retreated back into the closet. I didn’t talk or think about girls from the first time I came out in sixth grade until I officially came out in ninth grade.

I had unknowingly pushed myself back into the closet out of what? Fear? Shame? Confusion? All three?

Seeing my father’s reaction to my brother’s sexuality made me doubtful of my own. I was so afraid of being a disappointment that I packed away my identity and allowed it to collect dust.

While I eventually found comfort with my sexuality, I never found comfort in the idea of coming out to my father.

I sat across from my father’s girlfriend, tears welling after I came out to her.

After holding in such a large part of myself for over a year, I finally broke.

“If he asks me, I’m not going to lie to him. I think you should just tell him sooner rather than later,” she told me.

I never wanted him to know.

I never wanted to have to go through what my brother went through to any degree.

I never wanted the next morning to come.

“Hey dad, how’s your day going?”

“Pretty good. How’s your day going, Mary?”

“Studying for chemistry, being gay, eating Pop Tarts, the usual.”

“Wait, what?” he replied as I walked up the stairs in an effort to avoid the confrontation.

Later that day, my father told me that he was completely fine with my sexuality and that he didn’t love me any less. But he has since ignored my identity as if I never even told him.

My mom took me to my first pride event after I came out to her.

My father couldn’t even bother to call it by its proper name and  instead referred to  it  as a “get together.” The idea of coming out to my mom never once made me worry.

I was manipulated into telling my father something about myself that I didn’t feel he had the right to know.

My mom was supportive of my relationship with my ex-girlfriend.

My dad didn’t even know about her.

I should have never had to worry that he wouldn’t be able to do something as simple as accept me for who I am.

I shouldn’t have to continue to choose my words wisely and keep parts of myself hidden for someone else’s comfort.

No one should.