A break in the silence

Posted on February 6, 2012

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Hey blog buddies. I haven’t found the inspiration/desire/time to write for a while. I had actually written part of a post the day after Christmas, but I was having fun with my family and I forgot about it.

My Christmas break was quite interesting. I picked up my sister at her college and we drove home, about five hours. We spent most of the trip talking about me. I feel guilty for hogging the conversation, but I have suppressed/not talked about my sexuality for so long, and my little sis was probably my best fried when we were little, and it seems like she would’ve been my confidant. Anyways, I also heard her defending me against my mom a few months ago, so I felt safe talking with her.

When we got closer to home she let me know that she wanted to enjoy our time with mom and dad (we were only home for one day). So I was forbidden to discuss homosexuality, politics, or pacifism.

Growing up, I agreed with everything my parents believed, in politics, in religion, et cetera. So, now that I have grown up, gone to college, and traveled the world, I feel different about some things than they do (also, I think that their blind determination to follow Bush warped their Mennonite faith). My parents are no longer pacifists. I’ve known for a few years now, but it still always shocks me. I have been doing a lot of genealogical research, and I know that our ancestors have been almost 90% Mennonite or Amish (all pacifists). I’ve seen the draft cards where my great grandfathers registered as conscientious objectors to World War I. Something about Bush, the Iraq war, and militant conservative Christianity has changed my parents. And they don’t even know it. My mom totally denies any memory or raising me as a pacifist, even though I clearly remember my parents not allowing toy guns, Power Ranger/martial arts or violent TV, or karate classes.

Anyways, in the spirit of peace, I agreed. I also wanted a conflict-free Christmas, but I also wanted to come out to my uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandma. I didn’t bring it up when we were at home, nor when my parents and I came back to Ohio with my sister to spend a couple days at her and her husband’s place. I still refrained from brining it up when we went to my brother and sister-in-laws in Iowa. He lives near one of my mom’s sisters, and my maternal grandpa happened to visit at the same time. It was a rare time that I had a chance to tell them face to face, but I felt like coming out to conservative Christians is the worst Christmas gift ever.

The morning that we were beginning our long trek back home, my aunt and uncle brought up gay marriage. My mom’s sisters are all more conservative than her. They wear the Mennonite head covering, believe in a submissive wife (rather than an equal partnership). My sister and sister-in-law have always shied away from speaking their minds to y strong-willed aunts, and I had never spoken up either, but this time I did. I explained why I thought that gay marriage should be legal, and explained why I thought the judges had the right to go against the will of the people (because civil rights shouldn’t be voted on). Then I got to listen to some incredibly offensive statements about gay people, and some horrendously incorrect statistics, which I corrected.

I wasn’t really surprised about my aunt implying that gay men get anal cancer from sex, but I was surprised that my uncle brought up statistics about gay men having much shorter lifespans. He is usually the most intelligent and well-informed of my uncles. I explained to him what NOM has done, and hopefully he will give me enough credit to check it out.

I didn’t actually tell my aunt and uncle I was gay, but they might finally begin to suspect it. I really want to have a conversation with my aunt about how she used to be worried about me getting married to my cousin (her daughter). We were best friends and hung out very exclusively at family reunions, even though I had a boy cousin my age.

This whole traumatic occurrence prompted me to write a coming out letter to them, but I never sent it. I was typing it on my laptop in the van on the way home. I hadn’t told my parents that I was going to come out to their brothers and sisters, and I knew that once I said something we were going to have a really long, painful argument.

I finally got up the courage a few hours before we got home. It was a three-hour ordeal. It was painful emotionally, and physically (my throat got a bit sore). Later my mom attempted to persuade me not to come out. She thinks it is gross to tell people something like that, and thinks it would be like telling someone about a fetish. I can actually see where she’s coming from, since I in a similar place once. It changed my coming out from a possibly freeing experience, into a daunting, scary experience. She also described how her sisters might react, and so I ended up not coming out to anyone.

She also told me that all my aunts and uncles on dad’s side already knew. I had “confessed” my sexuality to their sons, who were in my year at school. It was during a youth group trip after we’d graduated form high school (I’m actually typing this blog post in Columbus, on the property where it happened). My mom said that my cousins had told them. I felt really betrayed and hurt. One of those cousins was home for Christmas and happened to need a ride to Toledo, so I took him with me. We spent the first couple hours just talking about life and stuff, and then I finally stopped waiting for the “right time” and just told him where my walk with God had led me (away from self-hating and futile attempts to change who I am) and asked if he had told his parents.

Apparently, one night when I was talking with him about this, his mom had heard us through a vent and asked my uncle if he knew. They discussed it and then asked my parents if they knew. No one ever talked to me… and now my uncle is gone. It is really crazy to think that I planed on coming out to him and my dad’s side at Thanksgiving. I probably will come out to my aunt soon and hopefully she will be able to tell me what he said. This uncle was actually really close to a cousin who married a woman, had some kids, and then came out and later passed away after being infected with AIDs.

Well this blog post has turned into a really long journal entry… yikes.

I’m going to have some really intensive reading and writing courses this semester, so I don’t know if I’ll have the energy to maintain a blog, but if I’m inspired I might make some time. Catch y’all later.

-Cbus Queer

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Posted in: Coming Out