Dear Ms. Mix & Bitch,
I am a 20-year-old college student, and I’m gay. I had always suspected I might be gay, but then coming to college (and finding my first girlfriend) made me realize that there’s no more denying who I am. All of my friends here at school are fine with it, it’s not an issue, but the problem is my parents, especially my dad. They’re not like bible thumping conservative, but they have certainly made lots of mean comments about gays through the years for me to know where they stand. I’m terrified of telling them, plus my girlfriend (‘Amy’) thinks I’m being a hypocrite for not telling them. She doesn’t understand though because she comes from a very liberal family from Berkeley California and she’s been out since she was 13. I’m afraid to lose my family and I’m afraid to lose Amy. I know it sounds stupid, but I’m also afraid of getting cut off financially and not being able to attend college (I’m at a very pricey private college). I would hate to have to leave here but there’s no way I could afford this if they cut me off. Am I being a hypocrite? What should I do?
Signed, Secret Girl
Dear Secret Girl,
I know within the GLBT community there’s a split about the coming out process – some believe you need to do it only when you’re ready and others feel it’s the obligation of the GLBT community to out all those who are gay, in order to prove how prevalent they are in our society, to build consensus (even if through force).
I believe you need to come out to your parents when you are ready and not a moment sooner. I understand your financial concerns, which are far from stupid btw, as well as your worries over losing your folks. I sure hope that wouldn’t happen, but there’s no guarantee. That all said, I do think keeping a major part of who you are from your family places a tremendous emotional burden upon you. And the longer you keep your secret, the more likely you are to distance yourself from them, and before they know it, they wonder why their child is so distant from them.
You didn’t mention where you are from, but I would suggest that before you come out, contact your local PFLAG chapter. They have support groups and volunteer mentors for young people just like yourself to help you intelligently navigate this journey. It’s important that you do think about what and how you are going to say what you need to say to them. Don’t blurt it out in anger or as a means for shock value. I would also suggest you look up information through the Human Rights Campaign. The good news is that many others have come out before you and can compassionately lead the way. Unlike your girlfriend, btw, who has demonstrated as much sensitivity as a bull[dyke] in a china shop. Remind me not to invite her to my next crisis. Do with that opinion what you will…
Wow, I feel like I just did a “coming out” mix for the bisexual housewife, so I’ll do my best to keep it fresh. Good luck there, Secret Girl.
10. “Gay Messiah,” [Rufus Wainwright] Want Two.
09. “Save Me,” [Aimee Mann] Live at St. Anne’s Warehouse.
08. “Right in Time,” [Lucinda Williams] Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.
07. “Take This Away,” [The Sweet Hurt] Everyday Mistake.
06. “Where I Stood,” [Missy Higgins] On a Clear Night.
05. “Dark Chocolate,” [Jamie Anderson] Drive All Night.
04. “4 Kim,” [Sally Taylor] Apt. No. 6S.
03. “Come as You Are,” [The Bird and the Bee] One Too Many Hearts.
02. “Waiting for My Real Life to Begin,” [Colin Hay] Going Somewhere.
01. “Secret Girl,” [Brad] Interiors.