28 May 2009

Done and done.

Coming out to my bro was not on my agenda when I called him tonight to check up on him/keep him some virtual company. It really wasn't when I heard how groggy he was since I woke him up.

But then we were talking about Doctor Who which lead to Torchwood whose lead actor John Barrowman is openly gay. My brother was telling me about a documentary Barrowman was in where he had an fMRI and other tests which scientists are using to try to determine if homosexuality is a nature or nurture trait, to learn its causes, etc. (Barrowman feels his sexuality has always been a part of him but the tests weren't conclusive. E.g., he doesn't have the "gay gene." None of the results conveyed that he should be straight, however.) This is my opening, I thought to myself.

Without pause, my brother segued into Barrowman's Scottish parents and American upbringing, his Broadway appearances, and then other scifi related topics.

It was too good an opportunity to pass up though, so I brought the conversation back around so that I could say, "I'm bi, and I know a lot of people who are bi or gay, and a lot of them would say it's innate. It's an interesting topic."

"Yeah, there's the whole testosterone level thing too. I fell asleep, so I didn't see the whole thing."

Coming out to family members in casual conversation: now that's how it ought to be done.


  1. You make it sound so easy ;)

  2. Kilax: To be fair, it was about 16 years in the coming, and a lot has changed in that time. The closest thing to lesbians/bisexual women on tv back then was pretty much Xena. There's a lot more LGBT visibility now.

    When I was in middle and high school, the worst things you could call someone were: dyke, queer, gay, lesbian. I didn't know that I was bi back then, nor did I get called those names, but the fear of ridicule was very strong. I just stayed under the radar as much as I could. It was a really small school, and I'd known most of those kids since kindergarden.

    Even once I figured out I was bi at a very LGBT-supportive college, I was still gunshy about being out for fear of ridicule, financial reprisals in the case of family, or actual violence.

    The film I made in grad school was the first time I was out to my peers and people I didn't even know, beyond friends. My family either didn't get it or chose to deny it, but everybody else who saw it then assumed I wasn't straight.

    I convinced myself that I'd made a good faith effort to bring the topic up with my family, so coming out to them didn't really matter to me anymore. It fell under the "If you can't ask, you're not ready to hear the answer" realm of thinking.

    No one really made the argument to me that visibility matters until I was watching the Brunch With Bridget vlogs recently.

    When I wrote about coming out to my parents and brother over these past few weeks, it probably did come off as easy, perhaps even inconsequential. So far, nothing has changed in our relationships, but my outlook has changed.

    There's now no one who could hear about my sexuality via indirect channels that would matter to me. Everyone from high school or my small home town (where I currently reside)--who cares?

    To all the LGBTQ youth who come out to their families as soon as they know: you are brave, awesome rockstars. I admire you. The world needs more of your passion and integrity.