Thursday, January 10, 2008

Family Values

I have been openly gay and out to my family since I was in my early twenties. I am now 35. I have had one bad long-term relationship that lasted a few years on and off, but ultimately blew up in my face. My family seem to think that this has somehow magically turned me straight. It may have put me off relationships for awhile (an obvious reaction to a bad break- up) but it didn't turn me off homosexuality. Yet at a recent party my sister was obviously trying to set me up with a female co-worker of hers and my parents speak wistfully of a woman that I used to date (ha ha!) back in high school who is still unmarried and want me to call her. What can I do to make these people see that while I may have had an unhappy relationship I am not unhappy being gay? John.

Tell them! Tell them and tell them again! I know it's -- they're -- exasperating, even borderline homophobic, but they probably think they're doing you a favor. (I presume your sister's co-worker wasn't a lesbian and sis thought you and she might hit it off as friends?) Don't shrug, get mad, and walk out of the room. Tell them! Send them a letter or an email or confront them face to face. Let them know that you're happy being gay, wouldn't change even if you could, and find their refusal to face the facts offensive. Convince them that one bad relationship has not turned you off men. You will have love in your life again! (But it definitely will not be the gal you dated in high school who is still not married. Wonder what her story is?)

Don't hold this in and let it fester; it will only get worse. Your relatives will all feel better -- and hopefully leave you alone -- once you've convinced them that, despite your recent romantic problems, you're a happy, well-adjusted gay man.

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