Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Coming Out Letter: Ideas?

I am heading home in about a month and have decided to come out to my parents. I am going to do it through a letter followed by a good heart-to-heart because I don’t think I could get through telling them everything in person first and remember everything I want to say. I also write better than I speak, and it will allow me to make my whole case before they ask me any questions.

Right now, I have a rough draft of what I want to say, but it is all over the place. It resembles more of an explosion of ideas, angst and experiences rather than a constructive, well structured and convincing document. I am just beginning so this is to be expected, but I was wondering if I could ask you some questions:

If you have come out (or plan to), what did you tell your parents? What would you have wanted to tell them in that initial conversation? What questions did they ask? What questions would you have hoped they would have asked? What should you avoid saying or what would you have done differently? Is there anything else I should be asking?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!


  1. For a start, check this out:


  2. Considering that I haven't done it myself (and not planning on doing it any time soon), I wish you luck.

  3. A letter is not really my style. We just talked. I don't have a lot of advice for you but I do wish you luck. If you family loves you now I predict that they will still love you after even if they don't know what to say or how to react right away.

    The one question that caught me off guard was when my asked if my being gay was her fault.

    I wish you luck. You will be in my thoughts and prayers! I think coming out was the best thing that I ever did. It is nice to just have everything out in the open.

  4. I just came out to my mom about a week ago, I went the letter route as well and then talked to her on the phone. I'll be happy to tell you all about it. Just send me an email.

  5. I wrote a letter, too, which was followed by a heart-to-heart discussion. My parents had a lot of questions (and a lot of tears. It was a lot more emotional than I expected). The most pressing for them was about how I was going to act--whether I indended to pursue relationships with boys, or whether I was going to live according to Church standards. I was dating boys, and I think that's harder for parents to accept than just the fact that you are attracted to boys.

    They may ask about where you see your future in the Church, and about your testimony.

    What to avoid saying--you probably aren't going to do this, but I think that while parents want to know where you are with relationships, if you're in a relationship with a boy, they may not really want to know much about it at first. So I would wait until they ask.

    Some of my family said they were glad that I was willing to share about my experience with them, and they all were glad that coming out was a step toward positive mental health. There were even some smiles!

    I wrote a post about my coming-out-to-family experience in a post a while back. Here it is: http://itsgoodhowitis.blogspot.com/2010/01/on-coming-out.html.

    Hope it goes well. You're not alone. :) You're brave, and even though we've never met, I look up to you.

  6. You can see the letter I wrote my parents here. They called me the next morning to let me know that they still loved me and always wanted me to be a part of the family, and then we met a few days later to talk more about the issue. Some of the questions they asked:

    How long have you known?
    Why didn't you tell us sooner?
    Do you think we did anything to contribute to this?
    Have you talked to your bishop about this? Why not?
    Are you still going to church? What exactly does this mean about your relationship with the church?
    Are you still praying?
    Have you told anyone else?

    I don't think I would change anything about the experience, it was really far more positive than I ever expected - especially considering the polarization of the issue here in California due to proposition 8.

    My only recommendation is to remember that this is your best opportunity to set their expectations. If you treat homosexuality as a weakness or something that needs to be overcome, then they will more than likely latch on to that idea. That's one reason why I believe it's so important to avoid terms like SSA here, even if it may take some extra effort to explain that gay does not mean drugs, sleeping around, or dressing in drag.

  7. I also didn't write a letter, and told my parents in person. They didn't ask any questions, and years later, they still don't.

    I guess my coming out was a little different than yours, since I basically knew the direction that I was heading in. I won't lie, I was a little stubborn and told my parents that I didn't need their help since I had already figured myself out. That was basically my resistance to them sending me to some conversion therapy, etc., because of a previous comment my Mom had made months before.

    Just expect that it may be very difficult and that it took you a long time to be comfortable with it yourself.

  8. It would depend on the family dynamics of your family.

    I know that when my late brother in law decided to come out to my okie, redneck, oilfield worker father in law about by writing a poem about how brother in law loved everything about men, that didn't go so well.

    I vote for the talking route.

  9. One of the difficult parts of coming out to your parents is it's something you've been processing much longer than they have and you'll probably find that you want to upload everything into their brains. Don't worry about conveying everything all at once. Focus on 2 or 3 key points that you want to convey.

  10. Thank you for all of your wonderful input and insight! It has helped so much. I have responded to each of your comments in a new post.