Views on pop culture through my eyes

Posts tagged ‘coming out’

What Constitutes a Family?

Recently I had a family reunion with some of my cousins. Yes, I am related to these people by blood. But in reality, I know very little about them. I am open to getting to know them more. Are they willing to do the same?Family Reunion

Now that I am 50 years old, I have a different perspective on things than I did growing up. On my Mom’s side, she had one brother, and he had 4 kids. On my Dad’s side, he had 4 sisters and 1 brother. They had a total of 30 kids between the siblings (not counting the 4 from my Mom and Dad). So you can see the dilemma, with trying to get to know everyone well.

I look at my own nieces and nephews and see that their experiences are so different from my own. They have had plenty of positive experiences with their grandparents, and they seem close to their cousins too. I know things are different today with how you can stay up to date with family matters via Facebook. I didn’t have that advantage.

So why am I not closer to these people that are my blood family? There are several factors at work. I was incredibly shy when I was younger. I kept to myself and didn’t talk much at all, other than when I was spoken to. Then add in the fact that I was hiding my true self too. I thought I was gay, and I was not ready to be open with that fact.

In between those teen years and now, there have been a couple of isolated family reunions, a number of weddings and several funerals. Reality is we are all getting older and people have moved all across the country if not the world. And it is easy to stay in the cocoon of your local neighborhood. Southern California is not the easiest place to get around in — with how far things are from each other, plus you have to add in the traffic too.

So back to the recent reunion. I was happy with the people that showed up. And I know I made an effort to talk to everyone. I came with my fiancé. Some of them probably had no idea that I was gay. Now they know! And I brought along one of my scrapbooks to let them in on my life and all the good times that I have had over the years.

Where do things go from here? Not sure really. I think that I am doing my part. It’s a bit sad to me, that I know my brother’s wife’s family better than I know my own cousins. So I put it out there that we should start planning something big for next year. I can start putting a team together. I am a good organizer, and can help with getting quotes on things. I even thought about how maybe we should do some crowd funding. I hope there are other family members that feel like I do — and want to nurture our relationships with each other. Only time will tell…

I definitely prefer it that the next time I see my extended family, it’s for a party. And not a funeral, because one of them has died. I also have to accept the fact that not everyone likes their families, and that they might not want to be involved.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Speedos lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

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Coming Out — It Matters

I came out of the closet a long time ago, I knew by my late teens that I was gay. It wouldn’t be until years later that my family knew about it. This has been an amazing year for gay rights. More and more individuals are coming out, we are getting some respect from the White House, and we can now serve in the military openly.

I saw a headline that read “So Anderson Cooper is Gay? Does it Matter?” Yes it does. Let me tell you why.

The more of us that come out, the more we have a voice. We are no longer the hidden minority. We are your sons, daughters, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and those driving in the car next to you.Coming Out Day

When I was dealing with coming to terms with myself, I didn’t know anyone who was gay. I didn’t know anyone in school, or in my family. I don’t remember seeing anyone on TV (except for those who seemed to be very troubled). I felt so alone. You were primed to think you were going to lead a lonely, miserable life as a gay person.

Those were the media views, then you had religion to deal with also. As a Catholic, you were supposed to abstain from sex until you were married (to a person of the opposite sex). Gays were “welcomed” to the church, but we are told to be celibate and abstain from having sex. Not to mention the guilt factor. I prayed and prayed that God would change me. I didn’t want to be this way.

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What Family Means to Me

I have been blessed with a wonderful family. I am not just talking about my blood relatives. I am talking about my friends too. My blood relatives include my Mom, Dad, 2 brothers and a sister, plus their spouses and children too.Me and my siblings

I grew up in Monterey Park, CA. My parents are still living in the house I was raised in. I was the baby of the family, the 4th of 4 children. My Dad owned his own business with his brother, a moving company. He worked long hours so that we would have food on the table and be able to go to private schools. My mom was a stay-at-home Mom by the time that I came around.

Were my parents expecting a gay kid? Doubtful. They did the best they could. I am sorry that I took so long to come out to them. But they were very religious and I was afraid that I would lose them. I was quite late with telling them, only about 10 years ago. This was after I was living with my “roommate” Rasheed for 10 years.

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