Coming out was something I put a lot of thought into. I imagined all the ways my family would react and played the scenes out in my head in great detail. My mother and siblings weren’t religious or anything like and they would probably respond with “no” if asked whether they hate gay people, but their ignorant comments and my sibling’s derogatory use of the word “gay” stayed on my mind constantly. It just sounded more reasonable to keep waiting, maybe I could educate them without being too overt and causing suspicion.
I have 5 siblings in total, a half-brother and sister from my mother’s first marriage, a younger brother and sister with the same father as me, and a younger half-sister. I usually don’t think of any of my sisters as “half”. They are my sisters and nothing else. My older sister was like a second parental figure to me, and I remember having nothing but admiration for her during childhood.
However I was never really close to my half-brother. It was hard to think of him as a brother at all. We wouldn’t talk for years but he would sometimes come to visit my mother. We didn’t live in the same city for most of my childhood, so visiting was rather rare. As I entered middle school, he moved to the same city we lived in and as a result he visited more frequently. But even then, it was not nearly as often as my sister visited and he was always there because he needed something.
So when I thought about coming out to my siblings, he wasn’t included. I didn’t really care if his opinion of me changed. I really didn’t want to care.
I don’t actually remember how the conversation started or how the topic of homosexuality came up, but I do remember him saying that he “doesn’t hate gays” but he would beat the shit out of any man who ever hit on him.
Coming from him, that wasn’t just a “joke”. He once nearly beat a young man to death and almost went to jail for it.
I tried to stay calm at first. This certainly wasn’t anything new. I suggested that he calmly decline their advances instead of beating them up.
What followed was a 5 minute monologue about how he didn’t hate gay men, but he believed most would force themselves onto straight men, given the opportunity. It truly was a monologue, any response I tried to make was met with him simply speaking louder, ignoring me. He’s heard so many stories. He’s seen it all the time. Not once did my mother try to defend me. Instead she told me to calm down and not get so upset.
I told him that he was a homophobe and I did not want to talk to him anymore. There was no reason to educate someone who couldn’t even call his hate what it was. The “conversation” would have ended there, but his next response sent me from upset and sad to seething with rage.
“Well, aren’t you worried a lesbian will try to hit on you?”
I was screaming back now because this was so unfair. How often did I wish I had the courage to talk to another girl. Even if it was just to ask her name. How often did I sit daydreaming about a girl asking me out, going on dates, kissing her.
How often were those thoughts followed by shame? Because I was reminded of all the unwanted attention I got from men who harassed me, followed me home, and catcalled me. I thought I was like them somehow… for wanting to be with another girl.
Yet here this dude sat, telling me it’s other girls hitting on me that I should be worried about.
I answered that I would prefer her over any guy trying to do the same.
He was confused and I knew I had slipped up. He asked why. And I didn’t say a damn thing. I considered lying my way out of that statement, saying something along the lines of “because she is more likely to accept a no than men are,” or “because I could fight her off easily,” but saying that felt somehow worse than just telling the truth so I said nothing. He left shortly after.
My mom and older sister were around the entire time and they knew what I meant because they knew me better than he did.
My mom comforted me after my brother left. She said that she loved and accepted me. (Why she didn’t take my side when my brother was around, I still don’t know).
This was so ridiculously dramatic looking back at it. All the people whose support I ever needed were at my side. The only person who didn’t get it was my shitty half-brother, but his lack of support really upset me when I was younger and more insecure. I still hardly ever speak to him.
– Larissa, 18, Germany
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