Coming out to my parents has been on my to-do list for a while now. It started at To do item #541, about 4.5 years ago, when I first came out to my friends. In the last four years, it had inched its way up to To-do item #539–much progression was made. A couple months ago, my sister found this blog, which flat out stated I am gay, in Blog Post #1, and the reason I have not yet publicized this blog. Upon discovering this little nugget of truth, my sister suggested I re-prioritize my To-do list.
For the past 23 years, I listened to my family members talk about their significant others. I watched my sister bring boyfriends home to meet the family. I watched my Mom comfort my sister over a broken heart, none the wiser when the same thing happened to me. I was introduced to boyfriends and girlfriends; husbands and wives. I thought about the day I would bring my significant other home and introduce her as “My friend, ___”, careful not to show too much affection. I never thought about Sunday night, Nov 6, 2011.
My To-do item #1 came to fruition yesterday. I flew home to El Paso with the intention of officially coming out to my parents. I had a plan. Go to dinner, get them drunk and blurt it out in the most awkward fashion imaginable. That’s not exactly what happened, but the night started off well:
Arielle: Shall we go to Singapore Cafe, for Thai Food?
Me: Yum. Definitely
Mom: You can BYOB.
Me: PERFECT. Where’s our liquor? I mean, wine….do y’all want wine or whiskey?
Mom: Grab a bottle of wine from the living room
Me: (grabs 2): I’m READY!
(arrive at Singapore cafe. No cars in parking lot. Completely dark. Totally closed)
Dad: Shall we go to Pei Wei?
Me: Uhhh, let’s just drive. We’ll figure something out.
Mom: Look, there’s Peter Piper.
Dad: There’s Subway.
Me (I cannot come out in a Subway. I like Subway way too much to taint it): Um, keep driving.
Dad: Pei Wei is right up ahead.
Me (sees a Vietnamese restaurant 2 feet ahead): STOP! STOP! We’re going to Saigon Cafe. Turn NOW. HARD right. Oh, is everyone okay with Vietnamese?
We arrive. I strategically pick a table most removed from other customers. We sit down. We have a very pleasant conversation for 15-20 minutes.
Me: (think everything is going very well. Glance at my sister; she shoots me the look. The look of a cat clawing it’s way out of the bag.) (clear throat). Mom, Dad, there has been something I’ve been wanting to tell you for a few years now. I’m gay. Have you tried the curry vermicelli? It’s excellent. Do you have any questions?
Mom: Do you think we’ve been living under a rock?! All of your friends…they are so gay. Steven….c’mon. Duh. And, you’ve never brought a boy home. We know.
Dad: Was Steve wearing women’s clothing in Canada?
Me: I can explain that…he didn’t have clothes….he was traveling…
Dad: Wasn’t he wearing gold tights on New Years?
Me: I can’t explain that one.
Mom: Were you dating Mitra (HS friend)?
Me: What? Mom, no! Mitra is my best friend.
Mom: I just noticed, the last time she visited, that y’all took some funny pictures…where you held hands.
Me: Yea, we do that…
Mom: What about Monica? I saw on facebook, you entered into a relationship.
Me: Noo….she hacked me. How much time do y’all spend on facebook?!
Mom & Dad: Are you going to become butch?
Me: No, I’m still me. Nothing about me has or will change. I’m still the same Tracey I’ve always been.
Mom & Dad: You know we love you no matter what. We’re just concerned this will make your life more difficult. We don’t want you to be discriminated against.
Me: There is no doubt that this has made my life a bit harder, and will continue to do that. Obviously, it’s not the easy way out. But, this isn’t something I chose.
Mom: YOU WERE BORN THIS WAY (thank you, Lady Gaga).
Me: Yes. And, I’ve never felt discriminated against or faced an adverse reaction. I’m sure it will happen one day, but those aren’t the people I’ve surrounded myself with.
Arielle: Yes, our generation is very accepting.
Dad: And, everyone loves lesbians!!
Me: Um, I don’t think that’s true…
Arielle: Well Dad, now you have someone to talk about pretty women with! Mom and I always talk about boys we think are cute. You and Tracey can do that with women.
Me: I don’t think he’s ready for that yet….
(laughter) Dad: Ya, maybe , maybe not right now.
Crossing off an action item on my To-do list has never felt so good. To my family: thank you for being accepting and supportive. I invite you into my life, one step at a time. This blog is officially…PUBLIC.