02: Coming Out to Adults
“Are You Out Yet?”
I never really come out to people physically. I find it less stressful to put it out there on my Instagram and let people figure it out themselves. I still fear talking about my sexuality with friends in real life, and the idea of coming out to an adult was simply wild.
I started writing this blog in July, and here’s me (still) editing in October. Ngl in the past few months I came out to a lot more people and it gradually got less scary :)
Within the first week of July I came out to two adults and they felt special to me! I was going to record both of them here but after awhile some of my brain cells died and I‘ve decided to only write about the first one.
Coming Out to A Teacher
I came out to a school teacher — it was probably the most straight forward coming out I’ve ever done. Just for a bit of context, I started talking to her because I was getting stressed with school work and I wanted to talk to a teacher (solely talking to my friends wasn’t enough). I’m not in any of her classes but she was my teacher for a time management program at school. She said we could look for her anytime (plus she gives cool vibes!), so I thought she might be good to talk to.
Talking to a friend about your insecurities makes you feel vulnerable enough, and talking to a teacher about them is even more daunting. I’ve had two lunch chat sessions with her in the week before, and I probably looked like I was about to burst into tears at any moment. I was holding back a lot; I didn’t want to cry, because I can’t talk when I cry, and people get too worried.
(Crying is a good thing tbh. It means that I’m letting my feelings out!)
In the second session she told me, “I think you still have something on your mind.” I wasn’t on purposely hiding anything, I simply ran out of words, so I decided not to share more stuff until our third session. I needed time to structure my sentences and rehearse the whole conversation (I always do that before important conversations), just so I don’t miss out any points, and by then I can be more mentally ready. To be honest, I couldn’t be 100% sure if she’d be cool with it (she is in her 30s and she seems open-minded?), but I’ve decided to give it a shot.
How My Teacher Reacted
Here’s a snippet of our conversation:
Me: I have stuff to tell you!
Her: Yes yes I’m all ears.
Me: This might be a bit heavy, so I have to make a few disclaimers. It’s totally okay if you don’t know how to respond…
Me: Arghh I don’t know whether my shivering is caused by the coldness or my nervousness.
[I was literally shaking; my legs were shaking, just like how they would when I’m playing guitar on stage]
Her: You’re probably just nervous!
Me: Okay, so as you know I’m not that great at talking to my parents. We don’t have the closest relationship (mentally). There’s this thing that really boggles my mind… Not at the moment and not on a daily basis, but still quite often. Not that I HAVE to tell them about it, but… I’m struggling to tell them about my sexuality.
Her: What are you most worried about telling them?
Me: Hmm… Being a disappointment maybe?
Her: *jokingly* Were you scared of how I would react? Like I would kick you out of this room?
Me: Haha no no, I had to say it because it’s my defence mechanism.
What I’ve Learnt From Our Conversation
I don’t remember all the exact words, but everything went real smooth. She admitted that she couldn’t personally relate to my experience, but told me stories of what her friends and family members had to go through. She didn’t react too much nor too little. Everything was just right. It was the perfect reaction.
I told her about how I wanted to come out to my mum last Mother’s Day, but then decided that it would be a horrible idea to ruin her special day. I said I’d probably come out through a letter because that is less confrontational. This was inspired by one of my friends who came out to their parents through a letter, right before leaving home for two weeks or so.
She reminded me that it takes time for people to accept things, especially for our parents since they are of a different generation and they view things quiet differently from we do. She advised me not to come out on someone else’s special day or right before my trials LOL. She also suggested me to include some common myths in the letter as a way of educating them, and put it as, “I’m not saying that you two are homophobic, bUT here is what some people might think about gay people, and I don’t want you to think of me that way because it really hurts me.” Another thing she mentioned is that it would be best not to escape from home after coming out, because then I’d miss the opportunity to have a chat with them about it.
A very important thing she did was reminding me to step into my parents shoes. I’ll admit that I haven’t really been doing so, as all I’ve been wanting is for them to step into my shoes. After all, it is quite daunting to learn that your child is gay.
They will probably need some time… or a very long time…
Tips From Rain Dove
As I’m writing this, I remembered reading some great Coming Out Tips from Rain Dove on Instagram. It’s quite different from all the tips I’ve seen out there! I used to think that being defensive would be the best way to come out to my parents, such as saying, “I probably am your biggest disappointment” or “you guys probably want to disown me now”. But after reading this I definitely changed my mind.
I’ve linked Rain Dove’s post here. I hope it inspires you too :)
If you are someone who is struggling, I hope you know that you are amazing, valid and worthy. It might get easier over time, it might not. But before you expect someone else to accept you, you first need to love yourself.