(September 29, 2012: I am editing this post after re-reading it. I give some explanation about the edits in a Comment below)
My closest family and friends are split about evenly between the mountain west and southeast. Those in the mountain west are family and friends from high school. Those in the southeast are former co-workers and the friends I have made in North Carolina.
There is not much interaction among the groups above so very few people heard my coming out news through the grapevine. It took around three months to come out to the sixty or so closest family and friends. Their reactions broke down as follows:
- 30% – “I had no idea;”
- 30% – “I did not know, but now that you have come out it makes sense;”
- 40% – “I already knew.”
Within those groups the people’s opinions of gay sex are pretty consistent:
- 10% think it is fine;
- 90% think it is a sin.
For the most part the conversations were one-way with me doing the talking. I was so scared that I hoped there would not be a lot of questions or discussion . A few conversations lasted up to thirty minutes. One went over an hour.
There have been no follow-up discussion with around half of those people. The exchanges are still mostly one-way with the remaining people.
All but a few of the follow-up conversations have been short. People have made it clear that they want to know how I am doing in general terms and they want to know about my son and pets, but they don’t want to hear much about the gay stuff.
There are some questions I would really like to ask some people in the above three groups. These questions are for those “who already knew.”
- How did you already know that I was gay?
- If you don’t think it is right for me to have a partner, why do you think I should be lonely the rest of my life?
Why didn’t you say anything to me about being gay or ask me if I was gay? You said before that my being gay would not affect how you thought about me. How do you feel now that I have resigned from my former church, am making gay friends, and am involved with the gay chorus? If you think being gay is a choice, when do you think I decided to be gay? Why do you think I decided to be gay? If you think gay sex is a sin, what do you think I should do to find companionship that does not involve sex? If you don’t think I should have any companion, what do you think I should do? If you don’t think I should have a companion, why do you think I should be alone? If you don’t think being gay is a choice but you feel I should not have a partner, why do you think I should be alone? If you don’t think being gay and having gay sex is a sin, what more do you think I should do to try to find a partner?