Michelle: Angelo is 56. He’s gay and has been suppressing it for years. Now that his youngest son has graduated from college, is this the right time to come out? He already told his wife about his plan, and all she said was, “Aren’t you too old already to be following your heart?” Angelo, if your family knows you’re gay and they accept it, is there really a need to let the whole world know? If it matters to you so much, I think your family will support and understand. Your wife’s question is just probably to check your motivations.
DJ: Coming out, in my opinion, is more than just letting the world know. It is a process of understanding, valuing and accepting one’s identity. Imagine, Mic, being deprived from living the wonderful life you’re living today as a wife, mother and daughter. Being able to live as a whole individual can be empowering, which is probably the reason Angelo still longs for that day that he can be who he truly is. Research says that living a double life, as what he’s probably going through, can be extremely stressful. To live life honestly and as authentically as possible is not a bad thing to ask. But I’m also glad at least Angelo still remembers that he’s not the only person in their marriage. Like him, his wife is going through a process too.
M: Angelo, the fact that your wife knows means you haven’t suppressed your being gay. She has stood beside you all these years and most likely wants to protect you and your family from the inevitable questions or comments from those who know you but don’t know that you are gay or might have been suspecting but never brought it up. What’s good to remember is that those who mind don’t matter and those who matter, don’t mind. But it can also be that those who matter to you, will speak their mind and you won’t mind their comments because letting them know what you’ve kept for so long matters to you.
DJ: It’s ultimately his choice to be out to others or to stay in the closet or to selectively do that only with those who matter. Whether a person is straight or is part of the LGBTQ spectrum, what matters is he or she has accepted and embraced who he or she fundamentally is. It’s understandable for Angelo to worry about what other people think and to be careful not to hurt his family. It’s not also fair to leave his wife hurt, reeling, isolated and unsure of what it means for their future. I suggest that he talk this through with her. When they got married, they were no longer two but one. And it’s for better or worse. Perhaps, he can consider coming out to his kids in case he’s not done it yet. I believe they are old enough. Family is a safe space too. Rain or shine. Then he can take it from there.
M: When you say, Angelo, that you want to come out, will you change the way you have been living or expressing yourself? That might be your wife’s concern. Do you have a relationship with another man and no longer want to stay with your wife? It’s best to speak to her so you will also consider her and your family’s sentiments and concerns. At the end of the day, you know that what you do not only impacts you but your family. So while you want to out yourself, let them in on your decisions. They love and accept you for who or what you are. Accept their show of concern for your decisions too.
DJ: Everyone has the right to be who he or she is and to be open, particularly to loved ones, about aspects one considers to be essential. It’s likely that his marriage has changed. But it doesn’t necessarily mean it has already come to an end. It’s still their joint decision on how to move forward. Hopefully in time, they will both heal and still have a healthy sense of self. And I pray that whatever happens, it won’t take away the good times and the positive memories.