I attended my grandfather’s 90th birthday dinner party on Saturday. All my aunts, uncles, and cousins (on my mom’s side) were there. Some of my relatives flew in from Taiwan specifically for the celebration. We booked a room at a nice Chinese restaurant and split our party across four large tables.
I sat at the “kids’ table” with all of my cousins. I’m considered one of the older cousins; most of them are either in high school or college. At some point during the dinner conversations, the topic of gay people came up (I really don’t know how that discussion started, I certainly didn’t initiate it). During discussions about gay people, I generally stay quiet and listen closely to what people say to gauge their comfortability with the topic. This was no exception.
One of my cousins asked the table if anyone was anti-gay. I didn’t hear anyone say they were. Then my sister said she wasn’t anti-gay, but “they should at least tell their family.” I felt my face immediately become flushed. She knows.
I never came out to my extended family, not even to my sister. There were so many times over the years when I desperately wanted to tell her but I never could bring myself to actually do it (I wrote a post about this almost two years ago). But after my sister made the comment on Saturday, I obsessed about it for the rest of the weekend. The time to tell her finally had come. I couldn’t wait to tell her the next time I saw her, and there was no way I would have the courage to call her on the phone. I had to send an email.
Yesterday morning, after two days of convincing myself that it was time, I wrote the email. I used the subject title “Here Goes Nothing.”
Hi (sister’s name),
I was always waiting for the perfect opportunity to tell you, but I don’t think such a moment exists for this, so here it goes: I’m gay.
After the brief discussion among the cousins about gay people and Prop 8 on Saturday, you said something (I forget the exact words) that made me feel like you already knew, but you wanted me to tell you. I guess I’m pretty obvious in a lot of ways.
I’m really sorry I never told you sooner. There were probably lots of times to tell you, but I always chickened out. Even now, my hands are frozen cold and I can’t think of what to write, but I’ve been dying to tell you. I’m sorry if an email feels impersonal, but I didn’t want to wait until the next time we see each other.
I told (brother’s name) a long time ago, but we haven’t really talked about it since. I wasn’t really ready to tell him when I did. I told (our mom) and (our dad) over the phone once, but they didn’t believe me; they said I was too young to know and I haven’t met the right girl. They act like it never happened. I brought it up again with (our dad) after discussing Prop 8 with him last October, but he’s definitely against gay marriage and against me marrying a man. He acts like that never happened either.
Obviously, I’m still the same (normalboy) you’ve always known, I’m just confirming what you already know. I’ve always wanted to be a closer brother to you; I hope this will help.
I need to press send before I chicken out again.
I was freaking out both before and after I sent the email. I couldn’t relax until I heard back from my sister. I had already mustered the courage to tell her by email, so I decided to call her on my lunch break.
My sister hadn’t checked her email when I called her; she actually opened it while I was on the line. Right after she saw the key words, she said how incredibly happy she was that I told her. She was actually crying. She is “100% supportive” and reassured me that she was available to talk about anything, no matter what. I was so relieved that I couldn’t stop smiling.
She said that she had suspected for a while but never got the nerve to ask, fearing that she would offend me. I felt bad that I had waited so long to tell her, but she was just very glad that I had told my friends already. She didn’t want me to feel alone in my struggles.
I’ve always been afraid to come out to people who have known me since childhood (I assume their image of me is still of an innocent kid when sexuality wasn’t an issue), yet I came out to two close people in one week! I wonder when I started being so bold?
I have the best sister ever!