When I first came out, I did a soft launch with my best friend. We’ll call her Adriane, cause that’s her name.
I was 23 and very nervous after a lot of years of denial. We were sitting on her bed and I gathered the courage to say, “I’m gay”. And she lit up like a kid on Christmas and blurted out, “Can I marry you?!” And I froze. I just came out three seconds ago. I’m not ready for this! But I can’t say no, she’s clearly been waiting her whole life for me to say that, she just proposed!
She sensed my hesitation; saw the cogs a-turnin’, and jumped to clarify, “Can I, (miming an open book) marry you (gesturing plural).
“Officiate! Oh thank fuck, yes you can do that.”
Some people have known they were gay their whole lives, but I grew up Catholic so I had more of a gay-piphany. I had been watching Ellen’s sitcom from the 90s, and I woke up out of a dead sleep like, “I’M GAY”. The only other time that happened to me I woke up like, “I NEED BANGS”. People really dug the bangs.
I came out to my brother by saying, “Knock knock”.
And he took a long, thoughtful pause and said, “I’m gay, who?”.
Later that week, the family’s sitting silently at the dinner table, and I take a sharp breath in and say, “Mom, Dad, I’ve got something to say, and I’m only going to say it once; I’m gay”.
Now, my mother has a very limited range of expression. If we’re working on a scale from 0-10, I’ve only ever seen her at a 1 or 2. Her reaction to this news was a 2.5. The difference was in the eyeballs (wide).
“What? Gay? You can’t be gay. I would know if my daughter was gay.”
“Stop saying gay like that, Mom. And no you wouldn’t, because you didn’t”. Dad is staring down at his hands mumbling, “Cinco de Mayo”.
“Cinco de Mayo. It’s Cinco de Mayo! CINCO. DE. MAYO!
I can’t believe it. All of this on Cinco de Mayo!”.
You’re not wrong, but we’re Italian.
Since this is going so well, I’ve decided to tell my grandparents.
My mom begged me not to. We’re super Christians.
I was in choir for many years singing,
“Ooh Lord Jesus Christ, you are my favourite”,
and my grandmother went to seminary school.
They don’t let women become priests but they will take your money.
We’re sitting down with Mama, Papa, and my aunt Geraldine,
and I just get right to it and say, “I’m gay”. Now, the reaction here,
I can only describe as a Greek chorus of confusion. “I’m gay”.
And that was the last I heard about that. That reaction is Catholic speak for, I heard you, but that’s enough of that. And then they died.
Not that day, but they did die.