Of closets and outing

Okay- so here's whats up. While in high school I first started to realize that I may not exactly be straight. When this was brought to light it wasn't too well received by the people I let know (my Mother and some friends) so I dropped the issue. Fast forward a couple of years when I told the guy I was dating at the time that I was open to this possibility of some sort of interaction with another female (and NOT that I was going to leave him. Just that this is something that was there that he didn't know about) Once again this was not well received. Two years ago or so this same issue came up yet again- this time with friends who were not only understanding but who also fell into the LGTB grouping.
At that time when I was talking to them about this I chose to drop the label "Straight" and chose to not pick up a new one, although if pressed I think that at the time I would have gone with "Bi-curious". The reason I rejected labels and refused to pick up a new one is because I feel that there are some issues that should not be labeled, and for myself one of those issues is my sexuality/interest in people. The thing is that when I chose to date someone I make that choice based on who they are and not what (male, female, trans, straight, gay, black, white, religious beliefs, socio-economic standing, so on and so forth) and sex is one of the things that don't factor into the choice. If I really like someone and wish to partake in physical pleasures with that person, I'll deal with it when the need arises.
However, if I take sex just on its own buy default I tend to gravitate towards guys (not that I've even had much gravitation there). But at the same time I am open to the possibility of hooking up with a woman- I'm just not 100% sure how I would respond.
Now for the real issues- there is a girl I really like and I've know a while. I know she's bi and I think she might 1)know I like her, 2)like me too, 3) both or 4)neither. Issue one is that I don't know how to tell her I like her (had this problem if I liked a guy too). We're planning on going to see Avatar sometime over our winter break and I was thinking of asking her if she would want to make it a date. The thing with that though is that she is also one of my best friends and I would hate to loose her because she might get freaked out or if we did date or some-such and things didn't work out. So there's that.
The second issue at hand is telling my folks that I don't consider myself straight and haven't picked up a new label. I talked with my sister about this last night and she said she wasn't too surprused but, as I mentioned earlier, the last time this was brought to either of my parents attention it was my Mother while I was still in high school and she was by no means happy about it. I don't think the issue has ever really come up with my Dad.
So- with all that out of the way- any advise?

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Capriox's picture

Embodiment

Paisleigh wrote:
The thing is that when I chose to date someone I make that choice based on who they are and not what (male, female, trans, straight, gay, black, white, religious beliefs, socio-economic standing, so on and so forth) and sex is one of the things that don't factor into the choice.

Point of order: I would say that the combination of someone's biological sex, gender presentation, sexual preferences/orientation, racial/ethnic/cultural background, spirituality, and socio-economic status DOES say a lot about "who" that person is. Not everything, certainly, but that's the sort of foundational stuff that the rest of "you" is built on, so I don't think anyone can claim to go around totally blind to those factors.

Unless you're just judging them by sheer pretty-face factor? Wink

As for the dating... if you don't ask if she wants to date, you'll never know! I'd recommend a casual approach, and be upfront about wanting to preserve the friendship over "freaking out" over making more of it. As long as you're polite about it, I don't see why it should harm your friendship with her.

As for the mother... my brother had a similar problem when he first came out in high school. My mom had a flip out along the lines of "OMG he's going to die of AIDS in a couple years, nooooo!" (at least that was the part she mentioned to me, but I'm pretty sure there was more to it than that), but it's been six years now, and it isn't a big deal for anyone who knows, including our mom. Of course, there's some extended family that still doesn't know, but that's a different kettle of fish. So I guess I would say that if your mother didn't kick you out of the house for it before, I don't think she'll be doing so now.

On the other hand, until you have a girlfriend, do you need to bring it up? Unless it's something that's really bugging you to keep silent on, it sounds like it would be simplest to not have that further discussion until circumstances warranted it.

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

... with the Livestock Minister on the first count, but not the second.

Casually, off-handedly, and with a smile on your face suggest to make it a date. Depending on how that gets received either see where it takes you, shrug it off as a haha-only-joking, or paddle back and reassure her that your friendship means more to you than your (sexual) attraction to her.

As for coming out, consider that coming out to your sister forces part of her into the closet with you, which is not a comfortable place to be. Since this stuff is easier with an ally on the inside, maybe ask her to be your advocate when coming out to the rest of your family, then see if you can get the deed done within, say, the next six months or so - earlier if your friend from problem #1 doesn't shoot you down and things actually progress.

*hugs* and a bucket full of good luck to you in any case.

Laureril's picture

Supplicant

I think you should probably stress that you're friends, and want to stay that way, even if romance doesn't work out. I kinda wish I had more words of wisdom, but Capriox said it pretty well - you have to ask to find out. You could always go the elementary school route and give her a slip of paper with "Do you like me [y/n]" on it. Blum 3

What I do when I have to have a hard conversation is to write it all down, get my words in order and make a list of the arguments or points I want to make. It makes me so much less stressed to see everything spelled out. Bring someone who will be there to support you (but maybe not your new girlfriend, since that could antagonize things.) But like Capriox said, no reason to tell your parents unless it affects them. Most parents love and support their children - even if it's a little rough to adjust to a new reality at first. Best of luck to you when the time comes.

Pikachu42's picture

Embodiment

some awesomely wonderful advice to give, but as I was too afraid, and still am to some extent, to tell my family anything about my sexulity. A lot of my friends know and are awesome about it, and my mother knows why I am, though we don't talk about it. As I've started marrige talks chances are we'll never talk about it. Wow, I was so not any help.

As far as labels go I don't care about man or woman or anything. If I'm with you it's because you make me happy, or that I think we could have something together. All the rest of that stuff we can figure out along the way.

Amy's picture

Supplicant

and someone who watched her BF come out to his parents in high school. A huge part of why parents freak out over such things is because the person coming out is often so unsure about what they want/need. Leaving a parent worried that their child will be singled out for special abuse while still in high school. Also leaving the parent to think that maybe the kid in question may not actually mean what they are saying. Add in what ever religious and or social pressures the parent may have been raised with and you could have a far less from peaceful family meeting when trying to leave the closet with them.

This is a very hard time for everyone, They are discovering that in essence by thinking that you would automatically turn out the way they expected, that they have failed both you their child, and themselves as parents. Stupid, I know, but very natural and human.

Ok, you are telling them that you don't fit in or want the box that they expected to be yours. Now, be ready to give them a box that does seem right to you, and tell them all the advantages this new box has for you.

Be ready with facts, and honesty, and remember loving families screw up.

As for your friend.. I Suggest being upfront, but gentle, a kind of, "Hey, I know your are... Did you know that I am...? I don't want to ever damage our friendship, but have you ever thought about maybe taking our friendship to another level?"

And seeing where things go from there.

No matter what, Good Luck .

Pedes's picture

Postulant

I don't know about #2 - being bi I myself have pretty hard time figuring out who might be what...I actually went over friend>>girlfriend>>friend route, but it kid of happened :/ I think casual, polite asking the friend should be OK; if she's bi herself she should understand that even if it's not mutual.

As for parents... I think it's pretty important to explain to them what is exactly you feel. I think my mother still haven't grasped the bisexuality yet; then again up to 20 I was pretty much asexual so I came out quite late. I noticed a lot of people have mindset straight-gay and bi-/pansexuality is something strange to then and it needs to grow on them.

nitebane21's picture

Everyone's advised on the friend situation so I'm skipping that. I'm with the 1st commenter tho on the parental part. Why would you want to bring it up? Do you regularly have family discussions regarding people's sex lives? If not, then it seems too premature to make a Big Announcement to the folks. You don't even know what sexuality you really relate to. Unless you feel horribly guilty about not telling your parents everything about everything or they ask you directly, I'd probably wait to figure out how you identify yourself before trying to tell family.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

Unless you regularly have in-depth discussions about your sexuality with your family, I see no reason to bring up the matter until you yourself know where you stand more firmly. See how it goes with this girl and if it develops into something serious, cross that bridge when you come to it. Right now is about you, not about your family.

And as someone above said - you won't be able to assure them of your future happiness sexuality- and relationship-wise until you actually figure out, through experience and reflection, what it is that are/want/need/like.

Paisleigh's picture

Devotee

as far as talking to The Girl I like, I did new years eve (woke up from a nap went to sit by her and pretty much said "I like you, so there".) we talked about it a little bit. She said she was starting to think the same a bit (I'm not 100% sure as to the /exact/ wording of the conversation- I got into a car accident 2 days before and my memory of new years eve is a little bit fuzzy >_

As for the folks, I kinda dropped the "I Like A Girl" bomb on my Mom while I was freaking out about having been left by myself for over twenty-four hours shortly after my accident (two black eyes, minor concussion, bit through my lip in a couple places, bloodied right eye- yeah nit fun.). She really didn't say much other than "What do you want me to say?" to that. (And yes, I know- that was very poor timing) Haven't talked to my Dad yet but any friends who may not have known now know as well. So that's that as far as the current development of this situation.
OH, and Happy New Year

EDIT:
Forgot to address the knowing-where-one-stands bit:
As far as I can tell, they way I feel about dating (especially since I've been upfront with The Girl) is that I just like people, regardless of blah blah blah (And knowing that all the rest makes them who they are).

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