YOBcast Episode 008: Coming Out to Family

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Tom’s biological brother, Andy, joins the show with his other brothers, Elliott and Corey, for a conversation on coming out to family members. We get Andy’s unique perspective on Tom‘s coming out to the family seven years ago, and Elliott and Corey share their own family experiences as well.

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Have you come out to members of your family? What’s been their reaction? Do you wrestle with this notion of confiding in a family member? What’s holding you back, and what’s causing reservations? Share in the comments below! Enjoy the show.

Show notes for Episode 008:

Tom’s posts: http://yourotherbrothers.com/author/tom

Tom’s book, Struggle Centralhttp://amzn.to/2gEPoE7

Elliott’s posts: http://yourotherbrothers.com/author/elliott

Elliott’s coming out to his mother post: https://www.yourotherbrothers.com/2016/09/12/coming-out-mother/

Elliott’s coming out to his father post: https://www.yourotherbrothers.com/2016/09/19/coming-out-father/

Corey’s posts: http://yourotherbrothers.com/author/corey

Messy Spirituality by Michael Yaconelli: http://amzn.to/2gRxJIF

  • Alan Gingery

    Zero comments? I get to be the first…

    I have come out to four family members: my wife, my son, my sister and my brother-in-law. And a host of friends: 36 others to date!

    Each family member has reacted differently. Here is my recap:

    I told my wife before we got married. I confessed that I had been in a homosexual relationship before we got married and asked her forgiveness. She forgave me and married me anyway. I didn’t really understand my SSA at that time myself–I was very confused about my attraction, so I wasn’t really able to articulate very well what happened or why I felt attracted to men. I had a much fuller coming out to my wife about 3 years ago. Although, I never acted out with another man while I have been married (almost 38 years now), I never lost my SSA. I found internet porn when I was 55 years old (yes, I’m a late bloomer!) and of course it was gay porn, not straight porn. As I sought the Lord’s help to recover from my addiction, the Lord showed me all kinds of things about SSA and I began to understand how my SSA developed and how I could live as a Christian man with SSA. So in 2014, I confessed a second time much more fully about my SSA and my porn addiction. Again, my wife forgave me. She is supportive, but in a rather passive way. I really desire to be known–and the changes I’ve gone through are really significant in the past three years, but for the most part she isn’t interested in listening to me. This is very painful. There is a whole really important part of my life that we don’t discuss.

    My son freaked out for a long time after I told him. He took a long time to process all of this about the dad whom he thought was just a wonderful dedicated Christian man. The fact that I faced such struggles was a big shock. We are ok now–but I still think he still shies away from any discussion about porn addiction or SSA.

    My sister was the third person I came out to. I told my best friend first, and another close friend, then my sister. The practice helped… She has been the most supportive of my family. We continue to discuss things as I process my past and present issues as a man with SSA. I so value my relationship with her. She is great. The fourth family member is her husband. I didn’t directly tell him, but gave my sister permission to share about my SSA with him. My nephew and his wife (my sister’s son and daughter-in-law) are LGBT affirming and see homosexuality as an orientation that people are born with. So in the context of how Dedicated Christ Followerers live with SSA, it was natural to share my struggle with my brother-in-law.

    There are some family members that I have not shared my SSA with. What holds me back? Well, love. I love them and think this would be painful for them (and) it is not necessary for my growth or progress to reveal this part of my life.

    • WaveDave

      Thank you for sharing…I can always learn from hearing others share their stories

  • WaveDave

    Thank you Tom, for your heartfelt post. To answer your question, no, I have not said anything to my family about how I am “wired.” It would go terribly for me if I did…and I mean, it would go very badly. So, I live with the reality of that and try to adjust as best as possible. They believe that no one can be gay and be a Christian, even if they are celibate, which I am. While I can’t claim to have arrived at all, I find God’s mercies are new every morning.

    I grew up in a solid Christian home and there was nothing in my background that someone could point to and say that was the reason I am homosexual. My late father was very emotionally distant, but I understand that is just how he was. It says in the book of Deut. that the secret things belong to the Lord. It is funny, my brother is straight and married and we are complete opposites…we don’t even look alike. I am the only one in my family who is left-handed, the only one who is gay, the only one who has to wear glasses at all times…well, I always laugh and tell people that I live east of normal…Normal, IL that is.

    Over the years, many have suspected about my orientation and have questioned me. I went to a Christian college and there a student was not only verbally abusive but physically abusive as well. I had to learn to forgive and move on…even though he had committed criminal acts that could have been prosecuted in a court of law. God gives us opportunities to grow more into Christlikeness, doesn’t He. I am still a work in progress…

    • Alan Gingery

      Dear WD,

      When it is not possible to tell family members because it is not “safe” it is good to find support from others you can trust…here at YOB, and others face-to-face if you have a good friend you can trust. Tim Timmerman’s book, A Bigger World Yet – Faith, Brotherhood and Same-Sex Needs is a good book to read. Tom has used it for quotes on YOB. We all need support and to find healthy ways to meet the needs we have. God bless you on your journey! You are not alone!

    • Hey Dave, thanks for sharing your story with us. It’s good that you realize where your family members are at with this issue. That’s key. Hopefully they turn around as time goes by, but I do hope you have other people in your life you can be brutally honest with. That’s also key. Thanks for being here with us, brother. We are all works-in-progress.

  • Anon

    Thanks guys for this excellent yobcast. This is a painful topic for many of us. In my case, I told my parents- and they responded with 1) it’s a sin, God didn’t make you that way, and 2) we will never accept it- don’t ever talk to us about this again. I told my brother, and we didn’t talk about it again. And now days my family pretends that it never happened, didn’t exist, or that somehow I was cured from it (because I’m married to a woman, I became straight?).

    So it is painful to think about these things. I want a real relationship with my family- an open relationship,to be known, vulnerable with my family. But at this point I feel like I have to come out again (second coming…out?). And I’m not sure either my wife, or I can handle that.

    • Thanks for being brutally honest with us, Anon. We’re all in different places with our families, healthy and not so much, and it’s vital to be honest about that. So thank you, brother. Prayers for the journey.

  • Bryan

    Thank you guys for your honesty and vulnerability in this episode. It was very helpful and gave me a lot to think about. I can count on one hand the number of people who know about my struggle with SSA, and I go back and forth on whether I want to open up more about it, and to whom. Sometimes when I play it out in my head, it all goes very nicely and nothing changes in my friendships, and there are no real repercussions. Other times I am afraid that people, guy friends especially, will be less comfortable and open around me, which would make things even harder. It was great to hear your stories and how different people in your lives responded to your stories.
    P.S. I’m happy to say this is my #firstPost! Looking forward to exploring this community with all of you.

    • Welcome, Bryan! It’s so good to have you here with us. Explore away!

  • A Friend

    After reading this, I had such a peace coming out to a straight Christian brother, and the response was amazing–“we’re friends forever.” He didn’t really see it coming, but understood the pain of the struggle with SSA/gay/homosexuality. The mental release was amazing and now I can be open and not have to hide things. Keep up the good work.

    • mistaken identity

      Thank God for that! Job well done again, Thomas. So happy for you friend!

  • Real Love

    What a great job you guys are doing through YOB. It is just amazing.
    This is an encouraging website for those of us who are Christians
    dealing with same-sex attractions. I am from Perú. I just created a
    Support Group for SSA men since this population does not get any support
    from anybody (including church) and I know some guys seeking help to
    deal with SSA. I am wondering if you have this page in Spanish language.
    Praying for you

    • Grateful to have your support from faraway Peru! I’d love to visit your country one day, RL. I’ve only heard amazing things. We’re looking into website plugins that might translate our page into Spanish (and other languages). Stay tuned!