So far this blog has been all about Homosexuality and Sikhism, I don’t usually post personal entries but feel this compliments the blog quite well. This is my coming out story.
My mother and I used to have a very strong relationship whilst growing up, we were best friends. I’d always make jokes with her and we’d laugh constantly. I’d look forward to her picking me up from school or the weekends where we’d go and play in the park. Both my parents raised me very well, although I’d always had a stronger emotional bond with my mother.
When I was 21, I was ready to come out to her. She’d raised me to be open and honest, I’d always have her unconditional love, “what’s to lose?” I thought. I sat her down, told her I had something important to reveal. She seemed noticeably concerned, now in usual coming out stories, the child is usual scared, heart beating frantically or stuttering. I was none of these, I was so comfortable around my mum, I could speak without being scared of her reaction, we were that close. When I uttered the words “Mum, I’m Gay”, she looked shocked and her face dropped. Instantly she said, and I remember these words vividly, “don’t worry, we’ll fix you”. I was confused, she didn’t embrace me with a hug or show any happiness towards me, instead she showed sympathy. What was to fix? I’m not ill, I know being Gay isn’t a choice or some crazy curse, but does she? She’s worked with gay people in the past so I didn’t think it would be a big issue, it was.
I was told to stop hanging out with Gay people as they can easily influence me, try and be more of a man. Deep down inside this didn’t sit well, why would I want to do something against my wishes knowing it wouldn’t change anything, but there was an overwhelming urge to please my mother. I knew it’d be easier for her acceptance in the long run, if I tried what she said. We agreed to pray every night to “fix” me and I’d keep a distance from my Gay friends. Usually this would increase a bond between my Mother and I, but this was the moment the bond began to weaken. My father was not to know of this conversation as it would break him. “What about me?” I thought.
Every night, I didn’t pray for a fix, but I prayed for happiness, I prayed for my parents acceptance. I knew my mother was doing the best she could, she has no idea about Homosexuality except it’s something only Westerners do, so there’s no chance her son was one. Understandbly she thought that I thought I was Gay and it was a passing phase. Everything she did and said was because she loved me and wanted the best for me. The final comments of that conversation severely deflated me, “You’re either my son, or you’re Gay, not both”. Inside a big bomb had blown up, is my mother disowning me?
Many months past and we never spoke about my sexuality, in fact the next day felt like the conversation didn’t happen at all. I was relieved, I didn’t want to go through any more pain. My mother would occasionally push me back into the closet by saying things like “When you get a wife, we’ll buy you a great house”, or when family members say I should be married soon, Mum’d reply saying, yes he should be married within the year. All lies, she knew it and I knew it. Our relationship was now in shreds, I was short tempered with her (deep down I was hurting, but that’s no excuse), she knew why. We spoke about it briefly twice in the coming 8 years, but it’s safe to say I was pushed back into the closet every time and I didn’t fight to stay out.
By now I was very upset, I did as my mother suggested and no good has come out of it. I had to get out of this, I began learning about homosexuality and also my religion. “Surely if I didn’t choose to be Gay and my religion is an exclusive one, how could she reject me?” I told myself. I didn’t care whether she did, a parent is one whom loves their child unconditionally and if she’s willing to drop me, then I should accept that and move on. It sounds harsh, but I don’t want her to suffer, I know it sounds bizarre.
Most recently, I came out for the 4th and final time. Before meeting her, I knew what I wanted to say, how I was going to say it and I would be out for good, no going back! We hardly speak so when I arranged dinner, it was unusual, she was a bit nervous as was I. We both knew what the topic was but meandered around different family topics for an hour, it was a nice calm introduction to what could potentially be quite destructive.
I uttered the words, but this time with a much more confidence voice, “Mum, I’m Gay”. She looked bemused and said “I thought we’d dealt with this?”. I told her how I think our relationship has dwindled from her rejection of my sexuality and I really wish to rekindle it. I apologised for my behaviour and she was so relieved, she was so happy that I was speaking to her and wanting to show her love and affection (the Gay issue was sidelined, but I wanted her to be at ease so we continued along this path). We reminisced about my childhood and the good times. I told her I want that back, I want to have fun and jokes with you and I want our bond to be strengthened, “I’m here saying I want to show you love and be more in you life”. She was happy, but the Gay issue hadn’t been dealt with.
She again tried to imply I should hang out more with straight people. I politely told her I have friends of all colours and sexualitites and I’m not a follower, I know who I am and what I am, no one is going to influence me, even if they did, being a Gay Sikh can be a difficult life, why would I choose it? I then proceeded to tell her about Science proving it’s not a choice and it’s genetic and also about how within Sikhism, we are told to show love and be open and honest with one another. I want to be a better Sikh and this is one step I’m taking. She was shocked, I don’t think she realised how much effort I’d gone to to understand my life as a Gay Sikh. We spoke in depth about whom I’m come out to within the family and how Sikhism is helping me be more strong. She listened a lot, didn’t show any anger, showed interested instead. I felt as if I was educating my own mother.
We spoke about finding girls attractive which I found awkward! However, it had to be done, I had to tell her, I didn’t find women sexually attractive but instead men. She then told me to try being straight, which was pointless. I used the analogy about being born with blonde hair and wishing to be brown, you can cover it up, but you’ll always know deep down you’re blonde and that’s the REAL you. I don’t want a life of misery, I don’t want a marriage of convenience and I certainly don’t want a divorce! She began to understand.
We left with me saying I’ll answer all the questions she has and will be honest. However I didn’t want to push for her opinion straight away, instead told her to think about it and come back to me when she’s ready. A lot had been said and she needed time to process.
Since then, we’ve texted a lot more regularly and each text ends with a smiley, so things are looking good. She told me she doesn’t want to lose me, she won’t.