When some of us come out, we dream of a perfect world. In our fantasies, our friends will be very understanding and supportive and our mothers will even throw a dance party, from all the joy and proudness.
Well, some of us are lucky and do have understanding and supportive friends and mothers. But, for others -- and perhaps the majority -- the reality is a bit different.
These are 10 ways people have reacted as we opened the closet door:
1. "I think you should wait to tell mom."
Okay. But till when? Because maybe I waited all throughout high school and college, and my first ten dates and my first months of real and committed relationship. You mean wait till the straight fairy comes by at night and takes my gay away?
It's understandable: if parents are going through something difficult, it could be good to hold on a bit and don't overwhelm them with more feelings to deal with. However, we hear this even if there is nothing at all going on. It's a normal reaction, I guess, wanting to pause everything to be able to breathe and process.
2. "Why are you doing this to me?"
But I'm not doing this to you; I'm just as gay to you as I am to everybody. Actually, with some other people I'm even gayer.
We normally hear this from parents -- and even if this is not the exact response, it is the overall feeling. It can be hard to not feel guilty or ashamed, and simply say "mother, father, I know you may feel wronged by my gayness (maybe so have I, in the past) and your feeling is perhaps so big and overpowering that this became about you and only about you; but, in truth, it really isn't. Like, this gay thing just exists by itself -- all I am doing is telling you about the thing". Usually, we don't say that. Instead, from there, things either explode, melt or freeze.
3. "You are destroying my family."
I am sorry you feel awful about this -- and the fact that you do may feed me with this gigantic bowl of shame and guilt. Look, it isn't much easier for me. Listen, it can actually be so very difficult; you are only one of the many people I am hurting. Hug me and believe me, I am not doing this with the intention of destroying our family.
4. "You're probably just lost, let's get you some therapy."
Great idea. How about we go together and see what psychology (or science) says about homophobia? Also, I don't mean to mess up your game there, but I don't think you can pray my gay away either.
5. "Oh my God, do you have a crush on me?"
What part of "I am gay, I have a girlfriend and I am very happy" gave you that idea?
6. "You are not putting it on Facebook, are you?"
No. After all, living in the shadow forever and never being honest about who I am sounds like a great way to live.
Support my openness, fellow human. If I'm a social media butterfly or of I feel like it, I will.
7. "Are you a top or a bottom?"
8. "Ok, but just keep an open mind because it could be a phase."
You got it.
9. "No problem!"
Well, see, I didn't think you would have a problem, but the more you tell me you don't, the more uncomfortable you seem. Are you okay?
Seriously, you're starting to freak me out a little.
10. Awesome! Can we have a threesome?!
Hmmm... Only if you don't mind us braiding each other's hair and having a pillow fight right before...!
Oh, come on, middle class, wake up.
We get it: it is not easy being a person. But, look, being a gay person at a coming out moment is particularly difficult. If it's someone you care about taking the plunge and stepping out -- be kind. We humans are vulnerable creatures, after all.
For some nice inspiration, check out these 11 coming out responses that will warm your heart.