Let me set the mood for you. I’m downstairs in the kitchen with my mom and she’s rearranging the pots and pans while I wash the dishes next to her. So we’re both minding our own business, right? But suddenly I hear this little voice in my head say, “Tell her you’re gay.”
And I shit you not, I almost did.
I decided to think about it for a moment and I thought, okay, this could play out one of two ways: She would accept me for who I am and we can have a nice cup of coffee after OR she’d start swinging all the pots and pans at me and ask me to pack my stuff and leave. If this were a normal day, trust me, I would’ve taken the risk, but it would especially suck to be kicked out during an enhanced community quarantine. Given the circumstances, the closet has enough legroom for me right now.
Though I wasn’t able to come out (yet), I’ve reached out to someone who did. Like me, Shine (sure, we’re calling him that) is a twenty-something year-old cog in the corporate machine who doesn’t exactly fall neatly into a gender-binary, heteronormative world (his pronouns are he/him!).
It was a day like any other when he and his boyfriend got into a misunderstanding. It was a perfectly ordinary thing, and to save you the stress of fretting over it I’m happy to report that they’ve since patched things up, but at the time it seemed to bode poorly for their future.
Shine was distraught and very obviously not okay. His dad, noticing this, asked him a couple of times whether things were okay, and because he didn’t know what else to say he said that he was fine. Of course he did. Even if he felt he were breaking down from stress and anxiety, he’d say the exact same thing, as I presume many of us stuck in the closet would, too.
Late that same evening, wrapped in the smoke of a cigarette he was hoping would help clear his head, he decided to make the walk to his parents’ door and tell them, finally, that he was bi. It wasn’t the first time he’d considered coming out to them—he’d been sitting on this particular egg for over two years—but he’d always held back out of fear that they wouldn’t understand him, especially since his father was from what can charitably be called a conservative background. He was worried that he’d find himself flung out of their home and seeking shelter. Terrifying thoughts in the midst of a global pandemic, but he chose to risk it; whatever was at stake, he was hurting, and he wanted the weight off his chest. He was a kid that needed his mom and dad.
His parents didn’t understand at first what he meant when he admitted to being bi, that he fancied both men and women, so he took the time to explain to them what it was. When that was settled he miraculously didn’t find himself needing to make last-minute living arrangements, and that he was enveloped in that same hug he very badly needed.
Many tears were shed right then.
To say that things turned out well might be an understatement.
It’s been a few days, but he still vividly remembers the words from his father that night:“Mahal ka namin kahit ano mangyare, hindi man namin maiintindihan ngayon pero mahal ka namin at hindi mag babago yon. Wag kang matakot na mag babago yung pag mamahal namin sayo kasi anak ka namin ng mama mo.” Granted, not much time has passed since his coming out, but it’s safe to say that these words might stay with him for a long time.
Shine reiterated the importance of coming out: “Minsan kasi coming out is not about us madalas it’s about [our families]. Yung acceptance ng magulang yon yung isa sa pinaka mahalaga for me. Not every family will be as accepting, and coming-out stories are acts of bravery for that same reason. What’s important is that you come to know yourself as best you can, and live authentically within your means.”
This is advice Shine echoes: “Wait for the perfect moment. Hintayin mo yung time kung kelan ka ready. Ready na ano man mangyare kakayanin mo. Always remember na hindi ka nag iisa, marami tayo nandito kaming lahat sa likod mo para suportahan ka. Love yourself!”