My boyfriend and I share a house in Memphis. His parents are coming from Minnesota to visit next week. The problem? They don’t know their son is gay.
He’s 35, and I’m 30. He’s told his parents that we’re just roommates. Honestly, how many 35-year-olds are still sharing bachelor pads with their buddies? Even so, they wholeheartedly believe him. Or at least they choose to. They’re devout Southern Baptists, and he’s convinced that they wouldn’t accept his homosexuality.
My boyfriend is “out” to everyone else in his life, just not his parents. I’m also out and I’m not at all thrilled with the idea of keeping our relationship a secret from his parents. They’ll be in town for a week, and that means the boyfriend and I will be in separate rooms and avoiding physical contact.
I really feel like telling his parents everything. It’s high time they learned who their son really is. Would I be wrong to “out” him to his parents?
— Way Out of the Closet
Dear Way Out,
Your boyfriend has a right to come out to his parents whenever he feels comfortable doing so. No one knows parents better than their own children, and if he feels like their religious values would get in the way of their acceptance, then maybe he’s right to hold off until he’s comfortable.
That said, I’m a big proponent of folks coming out. If people on the far religious right knew more gay people, they’d probably be more sympathetic to equal rights and protections.
Relationships between parents and their gay offspring can be delicate, and even though he’s 35, he may not want to risk losing the love of his mom and dad. When he is ready to come out, they may indeed freak out, but chances are they’ll eventually come around and accept him for who he is. Many parents of gay kids have some suspicions even if they refuse to admit it to themselves. It’s possible that they’ve been getting used to the idea for years, just waiting for their son to come out.
Be patient with him. Maybe after his parents have left town, you can have a heart-to-heart about planning his coming-out talk. But don’t push the envelope now, since their impending visit is right around the corner.
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