I remember when I first came out. It was the only time. I was home visiting family for one holiday or another and I sat my mom down for the big “I’m gay” talk. “I have to tell you something. I’m gay.” I wasn’t always gay I said. Sure I liked My Little Pony and preferred jumping rope to playing football at recess. And I did have the biggest crush on this guy, Boris, in high school. But I wasn’t gay. But, of course, things change and gayness happens to even the best of us.
She wasn’t upset – at least she said she wasn’t. But she was worried. Worried about who I was sleeping with; about where I was hanging out. I don’t think she slept for a week. And like any good mother, she worried about whether it was something she’d done that made me gay. (Thanks to Freud mothers are imbued with a strong sense of self-importance.) I assured her it wasn’t and I recounted the day it all happened. I told her how beautiful a day it was. How the cross-country team was running shirtless across campus. How I had stared a little too long and stood a little too close to the curb. I told her how the bus’ side-view mirror tapped me ever so slightly upside the head as it stopped and knocked the gayness into me. I’m sure she didn’t believe it. I hardly believed it myself. But it was true. I hadn’t known I was gay until then. What an epiphany.
I haven’t sat anyone else down since that day. I couldn’t live with depriving everyone I knew of so many hours of sleep. And I think springing my boyfriend of five years on them unexpectedly has made family life much more interesting than it would’ve been if I had sat everyone down and given them forewarning. But everyone knows now. And I suspect they knew all along.