When I came out in in 1985 my parents dragged me out of the Lesbian & Gay Centre in Manchester and screamed abuse at me on Canal Street. They joined a support group for parents of queer Jewish youth and got over it. In 2006 they came to my civil partnership ceremony. Spare Rib magazine and Channel 4 was the only oases in heteroculture in 1985. Without those and the support offered at the Manchester gay youth group I definitely would have topped myself.
When I came out, my mum was confused. Hesitant. I’d been in an abusive, straight relationship at the time, and fallen for a woman in another country. Four years later, and my parents both agree my wife is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
When I came out, I told my mom over the phone. She said she had known for a while and that she had also pursued a relationship with an older gay couple so that my father wouldn’t be freaked out when I told them. I’ve never been to Fire Island, but my dad has!
When I came out, it was at the bar to about a dozen of my friends. I was terrified at the time but months down the line, all my friends remarked on how much happier I was and how all the anger I had in me seemed to have disappeared because I was honest with them and with myself. Six years later and life is still getting better every day!
When I came out to my grandmother, she told me: “Of course you’re gay. You are so sensitive and smart! How could you not?”
When I came out, my mother said, “You’re going to die of AIDS!” and ran out of the room crying. 25 years later, she treats my husband of 17 years like family, and can’t understand why gay couples across the country can’t get married.
When I came out, my aunt simply told me, “I didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday.”
When I came out, my father told me he loved me, but we were not going to speak about this ever again. Oh, and don’t tell my mother, she wouldn’t understand. Low and behold, years later, after marrying a woman with quite a lot of gay friends and a gay daughter, let’s say Dad has surrounded himself with gay men and lesbians… but doesn’t want me to tell my brother about this, he wouldn’t understand.
When I came out my dad asked, “Well, is it something you can change?” When I said no, he said, “Well, then I will have to learn to live with it. You know I love you though, right?” And I did.