GayHeroes.com: Ask 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
- Anonymous, Chattanooga, TN
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.