No matter where you fall on the LGBTQ spectrum, we all share one thing in common — coming out to our friends, family and loved ones. When, where or how you decide to do it is completely up to you, but it's always good to be equipped with a strategy or two before taking the plunge, especially on Thanksgiving or during the holidays.
Our friends over at slate.com shared these tips that might make things a little easier for you if you decide to spill the beans this turkey day:
1. I’m Gay—Pass the Gravy
Coming out is tedious. Would anyone disagree? By the time you’re ready to announce the big news, you’ve already teased out, tussled with, and trampled over the demons that kept you barricaded in the closet. Even if the moment itself is infused with drama and catharsis, its function in the broader narrative is one of anticlimax.
So why not short-circuit the whole process? Instead of waiting for the perfect moment (which will never arrive) or manufacturing a segue (which will be painfully awkward), simply roll the bomb onto the table and let someone else detonate it. Slip in the news—“I’ve been meaning to tell you: I’m gay. Also, this Tofurky is delicious!”—and shift the burden onto your family. It’s the emotional equivalent of looking at the ceiling while you get a flu shot: You’ll barely feel the pinch, and by the time it’s over, the deed is irrevocably done.
Of course, if your family is horrible, this tactic may backfire, and your relatives might be irked that you didn’t lay down any cushion for a soft landing. But that’s not really your job, and besides, if they’re truly terrible, they’d get upset no mater how you came out. Accordingly, this strategy earns my endorsement as the most efficient and user-friendly of the bunch.
2. Divide and Conquer
Unless your siblings are awful humans, they probably won’t care if you’re gay. As a general rule, young people like the gays. And unless you were extremely sneaky watching late-night Will & Grace reruns, they probably already suspected it.
Use this fact to your advantage. Corner a sibling on Thanksgiving morning and explain the situation. Give them 10 minutes to work through it and another 10 minutes to forgive you for increasing the pressure on them to produce grandchildren. Then take on the rest of the family together. A little backup goes a long way when coming out, and a supportive sibling can give hysterical parents a reality check. As a bonus, this strategy shifts a bit of the burden onto somebody else—your sibling—and, if you have several siblings, it helps to disperse your parents’ anger. (If you have a lot of siblings, your coming out might also trigger a chain reaction.)3. Bring a “Special Friend”
Once a favorite weapon in the gay person’s arsenal, this tactic has fallen out of use in recent years—a trend I heartily endorse. It’s essentially a bait-and-switch: Bring a “friend” home for Thanksgiving, then reveal that your “friend” is actually a lover. If your parents are homophobic, they’ll be trapped between the desire to kick your “friend” out and the urge to be good hosts. Most of the time, the latter sentiment will win out. If it doesn’t, at least you have built-in emotional support.
Still, the whole operation has an uncomfortable air of deviousness about it. When coming out, there’s really no need to pull a fast one on your parents: The process is supposed to be an honest conversation, not a wily ruse. And the machinations seem a little unfair to your “friend,” who may bear the brunt of your parents’ displeasure. Even if all goes swimmingly, the backdrop of bad faith chicanery might make Thanksgiving dinner quite uncomfortable. So use this strategy as a last resort. And if you can’t work up the nerve to pull it off this time around, remember: It works just as well at Christmas.
Now, these tips are not fool proof. Things could certainly go south and result in a plate of mashed potatoes being launched at your head by closed-minded aunt Kathy, but just remember, Thanksgiving is all about love, acceptance and gratitude. And whatever the result of sharing your truth to your family, friends and loved ones, you'll feel a whole lot better living authentically… especially with a turkey leg in hand.
Need a little motivation (or just a good laugh)? Even Jack from Will & Grace had to come out…
Tell us Instincters, did any of you come out on Thanksgiving or during the holidays? And would you use these tips?