By Michaela Deane
So I finally came to terms with being gay about two years ago. Since then I’ve had casual things with girls but never anything serious, which meant I didn’t have to come out to everyone. What I’m looking for advice on is how to tell people that I’m gay.
I’ve only told my two closest friends (helped along by a few drinks) but I really want to tell the rest of my friends and even my family. I’m not a serious person in the slightest, one friend even thought I was joking when I told her.
The thoughts of having to sit someone down and do the whole “I have something to tell you” thing is what I’m finding way more daunting than the actual reactions. How can I casually bring it into conversation so that it’s not a big deal and isn’t a proper sit down talk?
Casually coming out to friends and family members is something that becomes easier with time, and practice definitely makes perfect. There was a time where I didn’t know how to broach the subject with anyone without starting with “I need to tell you something” followed by a panic attack and an assumption that I’d gotten myself pregnant. Now within fifteen minutes of meeting me you know my name, my star sign, and that I’m a lesbian.
With family, it really depends what your relationship dynamic is and whether or not you’re close. I never confided in my family about boys I was seeing, so that made it all the more difficult for me to mention that I had a girlfriend. You can give them all the hints in the world, but if they don’t have a strong feeling that you’re gay they won’t pick up on it.
I know you mentioned you’re single at the moment, but maybe the next time you’re dating someone, mention to your parents that you’re seeing someone new. Hopefully they’ll probe a bit further and you’ll get the chance to mention that the person you’re seeing is a girl. Alternatively, if they ask what you’ve been up to for the day, you could say “Oh me and Katie just went for drinks” and hopefully they’ll ask who Katie (or whatever her name is) is if you’ve never mentioned her before.
With friends, it’s as easy as being like “So I’ve been chatting to someone new on Tinder and I want to see what you think of them” and show them a photo (make sure this is a person that’s out though, you don’t want to potentially out anyone and put them in a dangerous position). I’ve done this loads of times and normally the response is just “Oh wow she’s really pretty!” You can also throw things into conversation like “Oh I don’t swing that way” if somebody is talking about boys. On nights out, if any fella tries to flirt with you, you can bring it up in a jokey way with your friends like “Well he’s barking up the wrong tree anyways sure I’m gay!” Another alternative is telling some kind funny story, start with "One time I was dating/shifting/riding this girl..." and go from there, it's a good way of bringing it up without making it all seem so serious. There are lots of ways of bringing it up casually and it comes way more naturally with time.
It sounds as though you feel your friends and family are going to react positively but just remember that if they have a bad reaction, that’s not necessarily how they’re going to feel forever. It took you a while to get used to being gay, and it might take your parents a little time as well. That’s not to say you have to let them treat you badly though, know where to draw the line and say enough is enough. They’ll come around to the idea once they realise how happy you are when you can be your authentic self.
This is the second advice column as part of Its oGay: The LGBTQ&A. If you need advice on anything LGBT related, contact Michaela anonymously on Curious Cat.