After Thwarted Kidnapping Plans, Whitmer Calls for Unity

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]

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Christian family inspires man to stay in closet

By |2006-10-12T09:00:00-04:00October 12th, 2006|Opinions|

optional quote: The reason I donÕt come out to my parents is that they are pillars of the Christian Right. I would suffer incredible rejection from most of my family.

Q: IÕm really getting upset because my friends keep telling me that I should come out to my parents. I donÕt think it is anyoneÕs business that IÕm still not out to them. IÕm not sure that I will ever come out to them, but maybe sometime in the future I will. I just donÕt know yet.
What really gets me upset is the superior tone that many gay people take with me when they find out that IÕm still closeted. IÕm not out at my work, either. They feel like IÕm somehow just not as good as they are because of it. A month ago, I met this really cool guy. We made a date and went to a movie and out to eat. In our conversation, it came up that I was not out at work or to my family — not my brothers or sisters, either. I figure if I tell any of my family, it will soon get out to everyone. ThatÕs the way my family is, tell one and you have told all!
Anyway, back to my date. IÕll call him ÒGeorge.Ó George and I were hitting it off really well and he found out that I was not out to the world. Well, youÕd have thought I was some kind of a backward person from the hills.
I tell people why IÕm not out, but it doesnÕt seem to matter. They usually just tell me of so-and-so who had the same situation, but that didnÕt stop that particular person — sometimes the story is such that it didnÕt even go well for the person coming out whom they are telling me about. But that doesnÕt seem to matter. IÕm painted as some kind of gutless wonder — or sometimes called it — for sticking my neck out when I donÕt want to, or feel I canÕt.
The reason I donÕt come out to my parents is that they are pillars of the Christian Right. I would suffer incredible rejection from most of my family. ItÕs not that I hang out with them a lot. I really try to avoid them as much as possible. But there are family events that I do go to. I love my family no matter what their religious or political beliefs are. I wish they could love me in the same way, but I fear they couldnÕt get past it all. Their whole lives are centered on their religion and their political ideals. They may still love me, like love the sinner thing, but I would be rejected, no doubt about it. (I know of a case where a friend of my parents rejected their lesbian daughter and my parents agreed with those parents for doing that.)
Back to George: When I told him ÒwhyÓ I didnÕt come out, he said to me that that was all the more reason I should come out. He said that I owed it to the gay community to come out because the Christian Right needed to know that Ògood familiesÓ have gay children. He also asked me how could I love a family like mine, and that I was better off without them. HeÕs certainly not the first person to make those statements to me, but it really hurt me and upset me because I really am attracted to George in many other ways.
I just needed to get this off my chest and I also want to know what you think. Do you think that IÕm a gutless wonder?
Son of the Christian Right

A: I think you are someone who shouldnÕt come out at this time of your life. Painting you as, or calling you, a Ògutless wonderÓ is a bullying technique. No one should come out unless they are ready to accept the worst possible scenario. (If and ever you decide or want to think about coming out, I would highly recommend a coming out group to support that process.) Most people donÕt get the worst that they imagine, but itÕs important to be ready and able to deal with it, if it does comes. It is also important for the LGBT community to understand that everyone has to come to the Òcoming outÓ part of their lives when they are ready, not when others might wish that they would. This is a highly personal decision to be made by the person who will be dealing with the aftermath — be it rewarding or difficult.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.