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30 Day LGBT Challenge: Days 7 and 8

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Day 7 – How your parents took it or how you think they might take it

Barry: It was so easy.  I’m pretty sure they already knew since I was living with a boyfriend at the time in a one bedroom flat.  He cheated on me and we broke up.  I was upset and called my mum.  In the background my dad was doing his usual ‘what’s going on?’ and she flippantly said ‘Barry’s just phoning to say he’s gay’.

Later my dad called to make sure I was ok.  I know.  Charmed life.  But I do have a terrible in-growing toenail.

Day 8 – What do you think the closet or being closeted means to you?

Barry: Cliches exist for a reason right?  For me the closet means never being able to relax.  Hiding from your true identity.  Never being able to share exactly what you’re thinking.

I also know and understand that for many in less progressive countries it means safety, security and in some terrifying instances getting to stay alive.

Check out what we did last year for LGBTearth.

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2 replies

  1. Like a lot of us, I suppose, I was terrified of telling my parents, and it happened totally by accident in the end. I had spent a Sunday with my Mum, and after a few drinks (or bottles thereof) I thought she was fishing for me to tell her.
    I asked if she was having a good evening, and she was.
    I asked if I could totally spoil it, she said I couldn’t.
    I said that I was gay, and she said she didn’t care.
    Go Mum!:-) She then asked if that was why I had been quiet and down recently, and I explained that I had recently split up with whom she thought was just my flatmate. She processed this information for a while and said “This, now, makes sense”.
    A couple of weeks later I was back having dinner with the folks and helping Mum with the washing up. Whilst wistfully looking out of the kitchen window, and almost to herself she said, “I wish you and xxxxx would get back together, I really liked him” then went back to the dishes.
    Gay son, accepted.
    On her advice (and I agreed with her) we made a conscious decision not to tell my Dad, so I am still not sure how he would have taken the news. I’m pretty sure it would have amused him to know that his gay son was the only one to follow him into a uniformed service.
    Before he died I did have the opportunity to tell him, but I thought the time wasn’t right, he was dealing with his own immanent mortality, and it certainly wouldn’t have increased his quality of life, so I decided not to. And that is something I do not regret for one second.

    Being closeted, to me, means never being able to, or allowing yourself to live up to your full potential. A lot of time spent second guessing and hiding from, yourself. We do it for legitimate reason, but it can be crippling and stifling. Hopefully, one day, this will never have to be so.

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  2. By the time I came out my mum was long dead, but she loved me enough that I am sure she would have handled the news well and become one of those parents who tear the walls of prejudice down for their children. My dad kind of shrugged and went back into his own life – we weren’t close and my honesty gradually seemed to give him an excuse for more distance.

    For my generation, coming out of the closet had been politicised by Harvey Milk in the 1970s, when the LGBT community in the west decided to play a numbers game to increase representation and equality. This was a great move, but prejudice against the gay community due to HIV/AIDS created another nail in my closet by the mid-1980s.

    The closet experience is very personal for each person – some don’t emerge throughout their entire lives. For young LGBT I say love who you want in your own time and place. If anyone has the guts to ask you your orientation, reward their courage with your truth.

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