I'm a 22-year-old gay guy in need of advice. When do you think is the right time to tell your family about your sexuality?
Let me tell you a little story. There was once a little boy who knew he wasn't like all the other boys. He would try to fit in with all of the other kids, but utterly failed. He thought that if he could only figure out a way to fit in, his family would for sure be distracted from the reality that he was different.
First there were the sports teams, then the dates with girls, then the girl sex when he got older. All utter failures.
He found himself constantly distracted and distressed and, frankly, misunderstood. There was no one around to talk to. For so long he couldn't explain the feelings, he just knew everyone else, or who he thought was everyone else, didn't share them. He tried, tried again to fit in.
Then he finally figured it out: It was the other boys that gave him a tickle, not his awful basketball dribble. The anxiety nearly ravaged him. The boy thing changed everything. He figured his poor basketball court manner his family could forgive, but not bringing home a boy for Christmas. The stress was blinding. I'll try and try again to hide it, he thought. He gargled all of the information out he could. He'd sneak off to places and meet other boys, all unbeknown to the family.
Needless to say, it didn't work. His brothers and cousins and sister and aunts all got to be themselves and here he was make believing that everything was okay.
He lost sleep. He went from being the sweet son to a b-i-*-*-* like no other. He grew distant, and more afraid–depressed even. All kinds of thoughts entered his head: Why couldn't he just be him? The risk of being ridiculed and rejected by his family outweighed the burning desire to walk in any room as a real person and not just what he wanted them to see. It was then he told them and he never looked back. It was tough, but the telling got easier and easier. He started to sleep again.
So, T: How do you know when it's the right time to tell the ones you love? When you get to the point where I was in this story. When you can't sleep, eat, breathe, relax, enjoy, engage or participate in the things you used live for. When hiding drop kicks you instead of protects you. When above all else, you must be you–at whatever cost. That, my friend, is when all of us gay boys know it's time to just be ourselves.
Also, T: As my friend Bernie over at bejata.com so eloquently points out, "It's important for each person, particularly young people, to understand the consequences of their actions and be prepared for it. Just because we're ready to come out doesn't mean the family we come out to will be ready to deal with it." Bernie continues, "Sometimes you come out to yourself first, then everyone else only when you are in the best possible position to handle any negative repercussions."
Agreed. Here are a few articles to help prepare you to come out:
Ways You Shouldn't Come Out
Coming Out Step-by-Step
Keeping A Coming Out Journal
Coming Out Over Email?
More Coming Out Articles And Tips