Friday, August 3, 2007

A letter to tell my family I'm gay

Below is one of two drafts. The first draft I have is much shorter than this because I eliminated all the resources and have a bit less explanation. I'm still trying to decide if I will send the short version or this longer one. I'm going to send one of them today. I am mostly posting this because while writing this letter I kept wishing other people had posted what they said to their families so I could use it to brainstorm what I would say.

Dear Family

This is one of those letters that may take some time to process. Take as much time as you need.

I'm writing to tell you that I'm gay. I've known or suspected for years. This is hard for me to tell you because I fear your response. I didn’t talk about it before both due fear, but also because for years I have been attempting to ignore it, heal it, or change it…but it hasn't worked. Counseling has really been fantastic, but it hasn't changed this part of me. I do believe that it has been positive, though, resulting in healthier relationships and less self hating.

You probably have a lot of questions. I invite you to ask them, but I honestly can't guarantee you that I will be able to answer all of them. All of this is truly a journey for me, and I acknowledge that it will be for you as well. It has taken me 10 years to finally accept and understand who I am, so I do not expect you to understand everything right away.

My friend Mike who is also a Christian and gay said his family (His dad is also a pastor) found having some resources helpful. I don’t want you to think that because I’m giving these to you I’m trying to impact how you think and feel about this. In fact I haven’t read some of the books. But I’m sending them to you because Mike’s family found them so helpful. I have explored the websites below. If any of this helps keep it, if it doesn’t throw it out.

Websites:
http://www.familyacceptance.com/
http://www.pflag.org/
http://whosoever.org/
http://www.gaychristian.net/
http://www.exgaywatch.com/

Books:
* Coming out as Parents by David Switzer (MIKES PARENTS LIKED THIS BEST)
* Pastor am I Gay by Howard Bess
* The Family Heart-A memoir of when our Son came out by Robb Dew
* What God Has Joined Together by Letha Scanzoni and David Myers
* Straight Parents Gay Children by Robert Bernstein
* Homosexuality and Christian Faith by Walter Wink
* What the Bible really Says about Homosexuality by Daniel Helminiak

Two books I have read and found helpful for me:
* Waiting for the Call, from Preachers Daughter to Lesbian Mom
by Jacqueline Taylor
* Stranger at the Gate by Mel White

When you are ready I hope to hear your thoughts on this. I think we have good relationships in our family and even though it may take time I hope my sharing this part of my journey makes them even more open.

Love,
me

16 comments:

L said...

Thissounds good. I can tell you have a good relationship with them because of the tone and that you assmume they will try to understand. My family would never DO anything to try to understand me. I think you will be suprised how well it goes. Most parents want to love and understand their children.
good luck
Lori

just me said...

L - Thank you so much for your visit and encouragement! I very much appreciate it. And the more I've been thinking about it and talking to other more extended members of my family the more I think that they will do better than I think at hearing this...

Anonymous said...

i hope your letter is well-received and if anything, that it promotes dialogue and not a closed-off response. i'm sure it will take your parents some time to process that but it's clear that you acknowledge and understand that, which is good. i'd be careful not to sound too apologetic about providing them resources ("If any of this helps keep it, if it doesn’t throw it out."). perhaps they may not find the resources to be of interest or help at the very beginning, but i don't think they should disregard the suggestion altogether and i bet you don't truly think they should either - but that's just my own suggestion - take it or throw it out. ;) i think the resources are actually a really helpful thing to include. perhaps since you might want to include the ones you've read? just a thought since you don't know what may be written in some...or perhaps you and your parents can work through a book simultaneously at some point and talk your way through it. no matter what, we're praying for you and hope you know that you are cared for throughout this journey. -mvl

just me said...

mvl - thank you, for your encouragement and comments. The reading a book together is an interesting idea!

~Deb said...

Brilliantly done. You gave them resources beyond just telling them about your lifestyle, and then leaving them without anything to cling on. Those websites and book references was a brilliant idea and so loving of you to even provide that.

I applaud you! I hope this works out!

Sarah said...

Blessings on your letter! I think it sounds great, girl.

Anonymous said...

I don't have anything profound to say, but just wanted to thank you for being so openly vulnerable with your posts (albeit anonymously :) ). This is so huge, and I'm glad you have a venue for sharing in this way!

You are the bomb. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise

tc

Anonymous said...

I would recommend the book by Chad Thompson, Loving Homosexuals As Jesus Would.

just me said...

Hey there Sarah, Deb, tc, and anonymous...

Thanks so much for your comments and the cheerleader and the book recommendation. :)

Elaine said...

I think it's a great letter - it shows a ton of compassion for their wellbeing. Big hugs to you for your courage and grace...and just cuz you're great.

Zuzu said...

It's perfect, and so are you. Much love to you. - Zuzu

M said...

You are top in my prayers.

Liadan said...

Good luck with your response. I wish I'd had the good luck to be able to send a letter (I was unceremoniously outed by my sister. Twice).

just me said...

eliane, m, zuzu, liadan... thanks! And liadian dude that's tough. I don't think my brother will do that....

my_monkeyGrl said...

i havent told my family about my sexuallity. I am really scared that my family might never talk to me again. We have gone through hard times already and havnt talked to months even a couple years. I just dont want to loose my family or my amazing girlfriend. got any ideas i need help

just me said...

my_monkeyGrl sweetheart. That's tough! One of the best websites of advice I read was http://titration.blogspot.com/2007/09/stages-parents-go-through.html

I am older than a lot of people I know who have told their parents and part of the reason why is that I wanted to be sure for myself and I wanted to be in a healthy place emotionally so I could handle it.

Coming out is not easy that's for sure! I started by telling friends who love me so I had support. Then I told my brother and finally my parents. But having support (I think in addition to your girlfriend) can be really important.

Don't tell them unless you are sure you are ready. And no one can tell you if you are ready besides you.

I'd also recommend knowing if you can write them or talk to them in person. I wrote a letter because I knew that would allow them to process things at their own pace and that they would hear things from me that they might not if I said it verbally. Things like, YOU were good parents. THIS isn't because of you or because of anything that happened to me!

I send warm hearted vibes your way!