Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Out And About

A friend asked me what my thoughts are on coming out, especially on how it impacts the family of the one coming out. Here they are:

Coming out is an individual choice. Individual circumstances differ from one another, making each case intrinsically unique. If the person isn’t ready, he should not be pressured to come out, nor should he be outed without his consent.

However, Philippine society is not an individualistic one (compared to, say, the US). A larger circle of family, relatives, friends, acquaintances, etc. surrounds each Filipino. Thus, coming out impacts not just the individual but his immediate relations as well. Depending on the relative (pun intended) relevance of his relationship with them, a person’s coming out will definitely have an effect on the people around him. Every action has consequences.

I personally prefer to balance my needs with, in my best guess, the needs of the people closest to me—my immediate family.

My dad’s dead so that leaves my mom. She’s quite intelligent but her religious beliefs fall well within the more conservative range. I remember how distraught she was with my sister when we found out she had a miscarriage before she got married to her boyfriend (they got hitched less than a year after she came back from the hospital—wedding expenses fully paid for by the bride’s parents). And while she successfully hid her disappointment and sadness from her daughter, the rest of us know how our mom really felt (up to now my sister has no idea). The expression on my mom’s face would drop, and while she would utter a throwaway line like, “Hay, alam mo naman yang kapatid ninyo!”, her tone of voice belied her flippant remark.

As far as I can tell, my brothers and sisters are generally an intelligent bunch, well educated and exposed to a varied set of people. They seem broad-minded enough so that I don’t think I’ll have a problem coming out to them. But I’ve refrained simply because I want to spare them a potentially awkward situation: if my mom asks them, “Did you know about it all along?” they can answer truthfully, “Nope.”

So my standing policy with my family is: If you don’t ask, I won’t volunteer; but if you ask, I won’t lie.

My family is also the reason why, despite my being so out here in the blogsphere (with matching face pic), I never use my real family name. I want my coming out to be focused just on me, even if only on a symbolic sense.

As for my friends, I had no problem telling them. Most of the people who knew me before as straight (friends from school) are fairly reasonable and wise; if any of them had any problems with me, it is very easy for me to cut them out of my life (believe me, I can be that clinical and decisive at times). The rest I got to know when I was already out.


joaqui_miguel said...

I agree 100% with the 2nd paragraph. Coming out is a personal decision and people should learn to respect that.

I'm already out to my friends but I have not told my family about it yet. I just don't feel a need for it because I know no matter what, I will be accepted. But just like you, if I will be asked about it, I won't lie.

Jedd said...

Whoa I didn't know you weren't 'out' to your family yet. If your brothers and sisters are intelligent as you say they are, they probably already figured it out. If your mom asks them, the truthful answer would still be "Yep." Hehe

Do you think coming out to them would do something good for your relationships? Or would it be really awkward lang? Do you think they'd rather you not tell them? Maybe that's why they haven't brought up the guts to ask you about it. Or baka naman they're just being respectful.

My mom once compared me to other gay men who would do everything just to make their families believe they're straight and complained to me why I couldn't have done the same. Have female friends that I can pretend they're my girlfriends. Mas over yung sa akin because at least with your family it's "ignorance is bliss". Okay na ang huwag usapan and not to bug you about girls. In my parents' dream world, I would grow out of this homosexuality thing, realize I liked girls after all, and marry and raise children. They're reasoning: We've been so good and giving to you, couldn't you have sacrificed a little of yourself to make us happy, to make us believe you're not gay? Because to them it seems this gay thing is just about sex and helpless, romantic love. They say they're in their 50s na and they've got a little time left on earth, couldn't I have just waited? Hay talaga, McV nakakaloka. Feeling entitled to my undoing talaga sila.

Jeez, I'm ranting. Sorry hehe. Back to you: Do you think you'd ever come out to them in your lifetime? You've stated your policy. Do you want them to ask you anyway so you can tell them? Or mas okay na sa yo that way?

Yun lang. Hope you're fine. I keep on reading your blog although nakakainis yung Abba entry mo. No review/spoiler alert, diretsong "the direction was horrendous."


joelmcvie said...

@JEDD: Let's start with Abba first. Well, what's to spoil further? Hahaha! Sometimes it's just great to put the conclusion up front and explain later; very journalistic.

As for your other questions, I'll answer them in another The McVie Show episode. =)

mister said...

Inneresting. All the while I thought you were totally out to your family.


joelmcvie said...

@MISTERHUBS: Surrrrrrrrpriiiiiise! =)

gbic said...

"I never use my real family name"?

hellur! may google reader ka? =)

joelmcvie said...

@VO... er, GBIC (hehehe!): That's what I meant by "even if only on a symbolic sense". I never use my family name deliberately in The McVie Show. But I am aware of how easy it is for someone with enough cyber skills to find out my real name.

jamir said...

coming out is really a difficult decision to make, especially if it involves telling it to those very close to your heart. i haven't come out just yet, though i have this feeling that they know it already but they're just afraid to ask.

as for my friends, they actually liked me better after i came out to them. weird. haha.

love your posts. hope to read more of it soon.