My family is religious. Should I come out?
Neither Faith nor I come from religious backgrounds. But we do have grandparents…which, as far as I’m concerned, is a very similar predicament. Ladies, coming out to my grandma and grandpa was the most difficult hurdle in my entire coming out process. I knew that people from their generation were less likely to be accepting, so I procrastinated for as long as I possibly could.
But if you’re anything like me, you hate lying. And keeping this secret that you’re keeping – that you like women – probably makes you feel like you’re lying to the people you love. Am I right? So here’s what I’d suggest. First and foremost, read this blog on how to come out of the closet. It’ll offer some basic guidelines to help you navigate those rocky waters.
Now, let’s go back to the story about my grandparents. I was so scared to alienate them that I allowed that fear to paralyze me, and the longer I waited, the worse that fear became. It was this awful, vicious cycle that quite literally had me convinced I was going to lose two of the people I care most about in this world. And it sucked.
But you know what? When I finally worked up the courage to tell them, it didn’t suck. It was actually a lot better than I expected. It was awkward, sure, but that’s the worst adjective I would use to describe the situation. Awkward. Guys… awkward is very bearable.
Maybe your circumstances will be different. Depending on your religion, coming out to your family might be embarrassing, excruciating, or traumatic. It might turn your entire world upside down, and break bonds that are irreparable. In many cultures, I don’t know if I’d even recommend it, to be brutally honest. If it were me, I think I’d rather live a lie than be shunned, exiled or killed. If you’re facing this predicament, it comes down to choosing between your family and a life where you can love who you want to love. And friends, that’s not a choice I can help you make.
Here’s the thing, though. Many religions are becoming more and more accepting and enlightened every single day. I know bible thumpers who are openly gay, and their families couldn’t be more loving and understanding. Even stricter religions are starting to open their minds to homosexuality – albeit slowly. Faith’s Dad is a devoted Christian (I mean that in the most loving way possible) who struggled to accept that his daughter was gay for a long time. I’m talking years, guys. But he never stopped loving her, and I think that’s what really counts in the end. If your relatives truly care about you – if they’re decent humans with any concept of what really matters in this world, they’ll find a way to work through their own issues and accept you for who you are. If not, then maybe they’re not worth keeping around anyway.