Ask Marilyn!

Should you come out? Well, don't ask me...

L.A. Times "Parade" Magazine 2-21-99:

Dear Marilyn:

I need an opinion from an open-minded person, and I believe that if anyone can give me an unbiased answer, you can. I'm a 17-year-old male who lives in the very rural south. I'm also gay. It would be a big loss of family and friends if they found out, but I hate living in secrecy. Lately, I've been taking more steps in my homosexuality. I've written a letter to a man I find attractive. I've also written to a gay pen-pal service.
Do you recommend coming out or not? If you do, how would you go about it?

- Anonymous, Chattanooga, TN


Dear Anonymous:

First, I have no counseling background. And second, I'm straight, so my opinion comes from neither professional nor personal experience. Instead, it comes straight from my own nature and reasoning -- which seems to be just what you want.

Even if you could successfully keep your homosexuality a secret forever, I definitely think you should come out. For all of us, loving and accepting who we are is the first step on the road to happiness. Living among those who love and accept us is the second step. If anyone turns against you, it will only be a loss in number. The quality of your family and friends is far more important than quantity of them! No matter how many people remain -- and I predict that their number will be larger than you think -- they will become even dearer to you as a result.

If you decide to come out, I'd suggest going first to the family member who you believe loves you most -- usually Mom. Tell her the news with warmth and good spirit, and be sure not to act apologetic. That is, present yourself in the light in which you want others to see you. Ask her to allow you to tell those others yourself -- so you can give them the news in the best way -- then go to the person who you believe loves you second most, and so on. Include your friends as appropriate. Stop whenever you think the information is no longer relevant to the relationship.

As you know, this won't be easy, but I'm sure you'll feel much better when you're in a position to move into an honest adulthood, free of the burden of the erroneous expectations and flawed ambitions of others.

If you have a question or comment for Marilyn vos Savant, who is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records Hall of Fame for "Highest IQ", send it to: Ask Marilyn, PARADE, 711 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10017. Or you can send e-mail to: (please include name, city, and state).

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