Home for the Holidays and Coming Out As Bi?
It’s not unusual for LGBT people to decide to come out to their families during the holidays. Everyone will be there and you can hit ten or so birds with one leap out of the closet – so to speak. However, in order to minimize tension, it’s best to be prepared with responses to possible reactions. After all, ‘Tis the Season is traditionally reserved for being jolly and….. well, no pun intended – which provides a perfect lead-in to responses one may get when coming out as bi to family — and suggested responses.
Family Member: It’s okay if you’re gay.
Response: I really appreciate you trying to be supportive, but I’m not okay with you erasing the reality of me actually being bi.
Family Member: I love you no matter what!
Response: I love you too, and am so glad that you are part of my family!
Family Member: Your sexual identity isn’t appropriate conversation around children.
Response: Pretending that bi people don’t exist, or are not to be discussed, is not an appropriate message to teach children. I was once a child, and I can tell you first hand the harm that attitude caused me.
Family Member: I’m here to support you one hundred percent.
Response: You’re amazing, thanks! I really appreciate that!
Family Member: Why do you have to upset the family by telling us?
Response: I don’t want to hide my real self from the people I love.
Family Member: Talk to me when you’re ready to come out as fully gay.
Response: Talk to me when you’ve educated yourself about bisexuality. I’d be happy to provide you with some resources.
Family Member: Well that explains a lot. Pass the sweet potatoes.
Response: I think Aunt Mary ate the last bit; would you like more stuffing instead?
Family Member: If you’re bi why can’t you just marry a different gender person and not go through all this coming out business?
Response: I’d like to be accepted for who I am, and feel free to love who strikes my fancy. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
Family Member: You should keep your sexual identity to yourself.
Response: If you can’t keep your opinion of how I chose to live with my own realities to yourself, why do you think it’s valid to expect me to be silent about a fundamental part of who I am?
Photo by Joe Hakim
Family Member: Congratulations on coming out! Here, have some extra whipped cream on your pecan pie.
Response: Thanks, but I’m watching my weight. How about an after dinner walk through the snow instead?
Family Member: How many women and how many men have you slept with?
Response: That’s an inappropriate question to ask me. And actually, isn’t even relevant. I’m telling you I’m bi — trust me, I don’t need your analysis of my sex life to know who I am.
Family Member: Bi people are greedy sluts.
Response: You are exposing yourself as sadly ignorant and inexcusably rude.
Family Member: I’m so glad that you knew it would be okay to tell us.
Response: I’m thrilled that you’re so awesome that I knew I could trust you.
Family Member: You’re just trying to get attention.
Response: If I was going to make up something to get attention, I’d hope I’d come up with something more exciting, like announcing I’m going to move to Portugal to study aerial silks.
Family Member: You’re just going through a phase!
Response: Except I’m not; check out StillBisexual.com then get back to me on that.
Family Member: OMG! I’m bi too!
Response: OMG! This is the best holiday surprise ever!
A slightly different version of this article originally appeared in The Gayly December, 2015