By Jody Valley
Bringing yourself to Christmas
Q: I’m just newly out to myself and a few other people, but not many. I am NOT out to my family. My family is very close and the holidays are very important to us. We have many big family dinners and gatherings at this time.
On Thanksgiving, I felt left out, like I have never felt before. I mean that no one left me out, just that now that I have come out to myself, I felt left out because people in my family really don’t know who I am. That made me feel really lonely!
This Thanksgiving at dinner, family members kept asking me what was wrong, and I kept saying that nothing was wrong. But, they know me and I fooled no one! So, they just thought I was being “not myself.” I’m known in the family as someone who is very open about my lifeÑI usually blab on and on about things. So, you see, they really thought that something was wrong, even though I kept telling them that I was fine. No one believed it!
I don’t want this to be the case during Christmas and all the stuff leading up to it. So, I’ve decided that I need to come out to my family. For some, it will be a big shock and I think that they will be pretty disturbed by it. Others will be pretty okay, even if they are shocked. I don’t think anyone suspects about my sexual orientation, but who knows.
I really am determined to get this done before the big events of the season. I do know better than to spring it at Christmas dinner. (I was going to do it then, but a friend of mine had written to you about that, a few years back, and you said not to do that and why, so I’m not going to do it.) However, I just not sure how to go about it in the best way. This is all making me very anxious, but it is worse for me not to do it, than to do it. Do you have some suggestions for me?
Opening a Christmas Package, Early
A: I’m glad to hear that you aren’t going to make the announcement during a big family event. That is so not the thing to do. What I would do is to start telling people whom you think will be the most accepting and be helpful to you in dealing with other family members. I would enlist their support and ask them for their ideas regarding who you should tell next, and how it would best be done, and when. Listen, but follow your own heart as to what to do next. As the ball gets rolling, it should get easier for you. Don’t apologize for who you are, or act ashamed in any way. However, understand that not everyone will react to you as you would like them to. They have not dealt with this issue as long as you have; they need time as you needed time to come to your realization and acceptance of who you are. Good luck! We are all with you. Let me know how it goes.
Part of the crowd or predator of the crowd?
Q: I can’t believe that I am really writing to DEAR JODY. Let me tell you what is up with me. I am a young good looking, white male. I only like dating black men; the blacker the better. It has come to my attention that I am not very well liked in the black gay community because many of them see me as stealing their men away. Girl, I don’t steal any men away! Black men love me, and I love them. I can’t help it.
I just want to be a part of their crowd, so I can get to “know” more of them. The way I see it there are plenty to go around. How do I get them to accept me and not see me as a threat?
A: I would guess it would be pretty hard to get members of the black community to accept you as your letter leads me to feel like you are predator-like, not a person seeking acceptance. Take a step back, reread your letter and decide if this is the person you really want to be. Hopefully NOT.