AI: Coming Out Digitally
In my entire family, my sister is the one person I am completely sure would be completely okay with my queerness (perhaps she would even find it awesome), and since she’s also one of my best friends, she’s the one person I really, really want to come out to. The problem is, she lives 800km (google says: about 500 miles) away.
We’re incredibly close, and she has all the right ideas that would make me want to be close to her even if we weren’t sisters. Every time we talk, I contemplate telling her over the phone, or via facebook or email, and never do because it seems so inappropriate.
So I wanted to ask, and this is a simple question:
What do you figure is the best way to come out to someone you love and who is so far away?
The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it to appear on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 3pm ET.
I’ve come out to several people via instant messenger (whether MSN or Facebook) and I have to say I kind of prefer it to face-to-face. There’s time to think out exactly what you’re going to put into words and to respond calmly and really take everything in. I also treasure having a record of a couple of these conversations, including one where I spilled out months of secrets (including the fact that I was in a poly relationship) all at once and then told her that she was free to make any judgy comments at that point and she just said “You know I’d never judge you”
So yeah, I recommend that.
I came out digitally as trans to my parents, family, and nearly all of my friends. Simple reason: they also live hundreds of kilometres from me. I came out over the phone with a couple, though.
It was a compromise: I’d prefer to do it in person, but sometimes it’s just not feasible. For my parents, I wrote a 4 page letter. I wanted a letter because it was the medium that gave me the most control over saying exactly what I wanted to (I’m a writer). I think that chat is too informal for family, and even very close friends, though I think there’s definitely some gray area.
However, I followed up the letter to my parents with a phone call, which I think is critical. There needs to be dialogue, and they need to hear your voice (and you theirs!).
My blog (www.metamorpho-sis.com) will discuss the first part of my coming out story this weekend.
I’ve come out to people via letter or email before. For me, the benefits were I could think about what I wanted to say and how to express that. It also allowed them to process the information at their own pace. Both times, I ended the letter saying that they could call me with any questions, reactions, whatever. And we did end up talking about it over the phone.
Sometime’s it’s better not to have the first conversation face to face. It all depends on the people involved and their relationship.
I also have a close relationship to my sister, who was living 2500 miles away at the time. I phoned her eventually but had tyrouble bringing up the subject. We are so sympatico she knew something was going on, so she asked me what was up.
I then blurted out to hewr “Mary, I’m gay.”
Without pausing to inhale or anything she said “Stephen, I love you and if there is somebody else that loves you I love them too.”
My point is that in most cases the apprehension isa much worse than the experience of coming out.