Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's My Life - Coming Out Pt 1

I wonder if coming out is easier today than it was 30 years ago when I did?

I have joked in the past that I knew when I was in 4th grade and that was that. On some level that may have been true but the reality of the situation was a tad more complex.

I had finally accepted the fact that my “white picket fence” dream was going to have a twist. Like everything else if I was going to a good gay I had to do some research. The community college had a number of self help / how to self accept / how to live life as and honest person / how to tell your parents / what to expect from life. But, I was not nearly ready to discuss this fact with anyone else let alone my family.

I was working part time at a luggage store in the Palmer Park Mall with women who were not only my parents age but two were classmates of my parents. Late one afternoon the phone rings, it’s my mother. She never called at work unless it was an emergency.

“Hi mom what’s wrong?”

“I was in your room today to change your sheets.” (My mother had not made my bed or changed my sheets since I was 5 years old; we were responsible for our own cleaning).

“Why would you do that? You never walk up to my room.” (I took over the attic and turned it into my suite)

“I thought I would be nice”


“Well I found some books under your mattress” (The self help books)

“Oh..So why are you calling me at my job?” (Thank God I hid the Blueboy magazines in my sweater drawer)

Are you Gay?”

“The books are for a report I am doing for my Psych class”

“Really… Why are you hiding them under your mattress?”

“You’re really calling me at my job to have this discussion? Really?” “Have you discussed this with dad?”

“No, that’s why I am calling you now”

“Do you really think that calling me at work is appropriate for this type of conversation?”


“I hid the books because I did not want you to see them because I knew it would provoke this conversation.”

“You know we can discuss this.”

“Bev… I am not gay I am doing a paper on homosexuality for my Psych class”

“You know that we will try to understand and that we love you”

“I am at work and you are calling me to discuss something you found under my mattress. I guess you won’t be changing my sheets anytime soon will you?”

“OK then I’ll see you at dinner”

“Yeah right and thanks for doing this while I am working”


End part 1


  1. I have a close friend who "came out" to me, and then to everyone else. He was worried we'd all think less of him for some reason, but we all already knew. It was never a big deal, and that was nearly 20 years ago. But I can imagine what must have been going through our mind. I love these stories, which come straight from your heart, Donald.

  2. Thanks Bernie - These coming out stories took place 1981-1982 - it was different then. I knew there was nothing wrong with me but was deeply concerned about other peoples reaction. It seems to be easier now but it's still a process of self acceptance. Thanks for the kind words.

  3. She had no suspicions before finding the books?

  4. It was a more naive time. I don't think it crossed too many parents minds back then. All they new were the same stereotypes that I knew. Now who knows.