Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Day I Told My Parents

From the moment I first started to tell my friends I am gay, I knew that an invisible countdown had started until the day I would have to tell my parents. I did not know how they would take the news. They had reacted much worse than I ever expected when I told them that I was no longer religious. I thought that this bit of information might push them over the edge.

As time passed the reasons for my apprehension grew. My parents decided one night to sit me down and tell me that if I ever were to marry a non Jewish girl, our relationship would be over. During that talk, I thought about telling them that they need not worry about me marrying any kinda girl, but I did not know if that would make things worse or what. On the one hand I would not be intermarrying in a form of marriage they would recognize. On the other hand, I was gay. Over the years, I had heard my parents use anti-gay slurs in conversation. But I had discovered while coming out to friends that while people might not like "gays" in theory, once a close friend comes out to them, they get over it. Would this hold true for my parents as well?

I decided I would put off having this particular conversation with them as long as possible. More so, I decided I would wait for them to ask me. I wanted to avoid the drama of a big coming out announcement. As time passed I would drop hints, hoping that they would understand and bring up the subject. Dropping hints was easy. Being a 26 year old guy from an orthodox Jewish family, the topic of dating and marriage is brought up very often. Whereas once I would be very open and honest about my dating life, I started to give very vague answers. I would say things like, "That part of my life is private", or simply "don't worry about that".

Of course, with every passing month my fear grew. I started having nightmares about their reaction to the news. Sometimes they would kick me out of the family. Other times they would get depressed, lose their sanity and their lives would be destroyed.  While I knew most of these dreams were not realistic, they still added to my fear. I could not work up the courage to tell them and continued to wait for them to ask.

In the summer of 2011 I made my trip to Vietnam. Every few days I would post pictures online so that my friends and family could see. I knew my parents were expecting/scared that I would meet a Vietnamese girl while traveling. But none of the pictures I ever posted showed me with any girls, just guys. I knew that, coupled with the other "hints" would finally get my parents to suspect that I am gay. I started to get myself emotionally prepared for the conversation that I knew was coming when I would get back to Israel.

A few days after I got back, my family was moving apartments. For some reason I "knew" that my parents were going to bring it up in the middle of the move. And sure enough, while I was unpacking boxes in my new room, my dad came in and closed the door. He said that he had a question and he couldn't not know the answer to it any more. He asked, "Are you not interested in girls? It might be none of my business, but I have to know". I answered that it is OK to ask and that it is true that I am not interested in girls. I told him that I tried to be, but I just wasn't. He hugged me and said that it will be OK and that he still loves me. He then went to the old apartment to tell my mom.

After he brought my mom back to the new house, my dad came upstairs and told me that my mom was waiting for me downstairs. I was so scared. I waited a few minutes to work up my courage to go downstairs. When I finally did, I saw my mom sitting on the couch crying. I sat next to her and we talked for a little bit. When she calmed down she said that she still loves me no matter what.

After that I left the house and wandered around the neighborhood calling friends. I really don't remember much. I remember the fiends that I spoke to, Ben, Ella, David Avishai, Hoang, and I remember they were all helpful. But I do not remember what we said to each other. That day was very difficult, but I am glad it is behind me. Today, my relationship with my parents is better than it has been in a long time and I no longer have to hide anything from them. I hope with time, things will continue to improve and that some day, I will have a family of my own that my parents will love and accept.


  1. Do you think it makes it easier for them to accept that you are not religious, knowing that you are gay?

    1. For my dad it does. He is now convinced that my atheism is just me being angry at god for making me gay. Nothing I say can convince him otherwise. My mom still thinks I should be religious. She has been doing a lot of reading about the "religious" orthodox Jewish community and dreams that I will someday be religious again.

  2. My mom would kill me if she knew i were bisexual. You are quite lucky.

    1. My parents surprised me and maybe your mom will surprise you some day. But I am thankful for my parents love. They are wonderful.