A Closet Tantrum

Caught, Matt Kirkpatrick

On more than one occasion, I’ve been told that coming out to my parents was, in essence, a selfish act. That’s not something that’s easy to hear, especially at a point when there seem to be very few satisfying aspects in a process that has completely altered the relationship I have, or once had, with my family.

I know I can be selfish. From uterus onward I’ve been hogging the TV, taking the last cookie and passing off responsibility, at least every once in a while. If we’re honest with ourselves, which we rarely dare to be, we’re all selfish sometimes. Selfishness is not what I think of when I ponder about the house of horrors that has been my coming out process. There’s been no parade, no dancing men, and a definite lack of naughty shaped cakes. However, the fights, awkward conversations and silences have been plentiful. I guess that’s self indulgent… for an emotional sadist.

It’s taken some time to wrap my stubborn mind around the idea of my coming out being a selfish act, but nonetheless I’ve concluded; it is. It’s selfish in a few ways. I came out for me, for my own peace of mind, and to fulfill my own need to be who I am with the people I love most. I was without a doubt thinking about myself.

Still, I think it’s important to look at it a little differently than a child throwing a temper tantrum at a grocery store or an angsty teen coming home with a Bad Religion tattoo and a cheesy belly ring. For one, being gay, despite what many ‘experts’ may say (I’m talking to you, Dr. Laura!), is not a choice. If I were to choose to do something to send mom and dad into a state of shock and horror, I’d probably opt for something less life altering, like a discretely placed lower back tattoo.

Furthermore, as much as I was thinking about myself in deciding to come out, I sincerely hoped that something positive would come of it between my family and I. As hard as it is for them to grasp now, I told them in a crazy fit of honesty, sincerity and love. The truth may hurt now, but with any luck, they’ll come to realize that honesty was in fact the best policy.

March 3, 2008 Blueprint Web Administrator No Comments

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