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Teen Furious After His Liberal Family Barely Reacted When He Came Out To Them As Gay

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Coming out is hard to do.  Though it is now more significantly more accepted than it was even ten years ago, there is always some fear of how your family is going to react when you are finally honest with them about yourself.

Will they reject you?  Will they accept you?  Will they even care at all?

Reddit user Mediocre_Wallaby_921’s brother ran into the opposite problem that most people coming out run into.  His family didn’t really react at all, just quietly accepted him.

After his brother took offense, Mediocre_Wallaby_921 reacted to how unfair he felt his brother was being. He went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” to ask if his feelings were unjustified:

“AITA for taking my parent’s side when my brother came out of the closet?”

Our original poster, or OP, set up the situation by detailing his brother’s coming out:

“My family has always been liberal and have not been shy about other people knowing it. Like they would have the who they are voting for signs of the front porch.”

“Everyone in the family is also fine with LGBT+ community and supports it.”

“So my (16M[ale]) brother (19 M[ale]) came out as gay today to the whole family. My parents smiled and said congratulations and we will always love you/support him.”

Afterwards, OP’s brother felt the matter was not given enough attention:

“Then the whole thing was dropped and we moved on with our day. My brother has been angry that my parents didn’t have a bigger reaction and has been giving them the cold shoulder.”

When OP’s brother came to OP for sympathy, he was sorely disappointed:

“He came into my room and was ranting to me about it. He wanted me to go with him to confront my parents that’s when I said:”

“‘Dude they don’t care about who you like to bang, their response was fine. Isn’t this the end goal, for people to not care about peoples sexual orientation and be treated the same.”

“You know they support this, what kind of response did you want. Them jumping for joy? tears? being angry?'”

OP’s brother did not take too kindly to this response:

“Well, he called me an a**hole and I wanted to know if I was?”

Redditors helped OP decide where guilt belongs by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Redditors definitely did not think OP was at fault.  In fact, they weren’t sure anybody was to blame.

“I feel like I can relate. I came out as bi to my mom. And I expected one of the two things.”

“Either, I hate you, you’re disgusting. Or, I love you, you’re still my son and the hugs and stuff. What happened was, yeah I’m fine with it.”

“I was kinda happy that my mom’s okay with it, but also kinda disappointed there wasn’t a bigger reaction.”

“Maybe the pop culture media has made coming out into a very dramatic event. I can see your brother’s POV but he’s just being petty now. Your parents support him. What else does he want?”


“NAH. Even families who are liberal toward LGBTQ people as a concept can be surprisingly uncool when it’s their family member coming out.”

“Your brother probably spent a lot of time building that moment up in his mind and worrying about the outcome, and he probably hoped for a reaction commensurate with how emotional it was for him.”

“That doesn’t make him an a**hole, but it doesn’t make the rest of you a**holes, either, for just being accepting and moving on.”~yesnogoodbye

“Yeah this is one of those times where unless you’ve personally come out of the closet, I don’t give a damn about your opinion.”

“Like my family and friends are nothing but supportive. They all love my husband (probably more than me, lol). But I cried when I came out to my first friend. It’s hard.”

“Yes we do all want to get to that place where your sexual orientation isn’t assumed to be hetero until said otherwise. But we’re not there yet.”

“The world is totally geared towards assuming all children are cisgendered, gender-conforming heterosexuals.”

“Coming out isn’t just a single thing. It’s the culmination of accepting that you’re different, and being comfortable enough with yourself to admit to other people you’ve been lying to them about who you are.”

“NAH. OP was maybe a little unsympathetic, but I don’t think he’s an AH. But straight people don’t get to dictate how gay people process coming out.”~NovaNardis

“However liberal your family are, you never know how people are going to react when you come out to them. It was brave of your brother.”

“When I came out, my parents reacted with an ‘it’s fine’ and then in the following days/weeks made it pretty clear they didn’t actually think it’s fine.”

“He’s not the a**hole for wanting more support. But I can see how, as cishets, you may be surprised by this response.”

“See if you can have another family conversation where you all congratulate him and look to get involved in LGBT organisations. NAH.”~loxima

After all, coming out is no small feat-so the emotional crash from anticipation can be huge.

“NAH. Coming out is a big deal to your brother and something he probably agonised over for a long time. Your parents’ reaction might have come across as ‘it’s not big deal’.”

“Which could translate to we don’t really care. You saying ‘dude they don’t really care..’ probably not what he wants to hear reinforced.”

“I can see how it could be hurtful to your brother. However, personally your parents haven’t done anything wrong. Good luck to all of you.”~mymessytoddler

“NAH. It’s great that your family is accepting, but our society isn’t. It was probably difficult for your brother to figure this out and come out.”

“A caring way to address what’s happening would be to ask what he wanted to hear. Also straight ppl don’t get to decide what the goal is for LGBTQ+ folks.”

“Some folks might have a goal of, ‘wanting it not to matter’ but the fact is it does matter and it is a stigmatized identity. It really does sound like your parents were trying to be supportive, but maybe it wasn’t enough for him.”

“Your brother can be sad or disappointed and your parents can also be doing their best. These things can exist at once.”

“When I came out to my parents they just said, ‘we figured’ and kinda quietly disapproved. It really hurt a lot, to be told implicitly and explicitly that who I authentically am is wrong and bad.”

“I get that your parents did a lot better, but it sounds like your brother wanted to process more. It’s really hard to explain, especially to people who think they’re being super accepting.”

“It’s still hard. I don’t think your parents are TA for not knowing what your bro wanted /needed to hear. And I don’t think your bro is TA for needing more support. It’s great that your family is accepting but that doesn’t erase a lifetime of stigma.”~Razrgrrl

“NAH. Coming out is scary, and people build it up in their heads a lot. He’s probably been agonising over this and now all that adrenaline has nowhere to go, and anger is the easiest outlet.”

“Your and your parents’ reaction was also great – coming out shouldn’t be a huge thing, it would be amazing if no one ever had to do it again.”

“Maybe chat to your brother again, and let him know what he did was super brave, and you know it would have been really intimidating, but that he is loved and accepted and supported.”~BellaSantiago1975

“Yeah, NAH. I’m surprised at how many straight people in this thread are boldly proclaiming what gay people think and what’s best for them.”

“Coming out is scary, no matter how supportive you think your family is. The way you and your family reacted wasn’t wrong, but it also wasn’t wrong of him to want a reaction that validates how strong his emotions were.”~colorful-voice

When conflicting identities are at play, there’s a lot to understand about the other person’s experience before making any sort of judgment call.

“NAH. They probably knew it years ago. When my sister came out she came home one day and i was napping on the couch.”

“She woke me to tell me so that I wouldn’t hear it from others. I said thanks for telling me in person but i knew you were gay years ago.”

“Rolled over and went back to sleep. My parents reaction was very similar. He probably worked it up in his head for weeks and was caught off guard by how anti-climactic it was to everyone else.”~curbz81

“NAH. He was probably psyching himself up for either a painful or joyous moment. An emotional moment. Full of emotions himself, full of adrenaline even perhaps.”

“And that huge build up of emotions ended in an anti-climax and that is okay. However all that emotional turmoil was for nothing as it were. For him it was a HUGE deal and then there was…nothing?”

“His emotions probably got the best of him there, ranting to you about your parents’ reaction. So yeah, you are not the AH, but neither is he or your parents I think.”

“It (unfortunately) takes courage to come out to your family and I think he’d wanted those emotions and that courage validated.”~wolvster

“NAH. Your parents’ reaction was fine, it’s good that they accept your brother and aren’t openly homophobic.”

“But I’m gay, I’ve had to do the whole coming out thing, and it’s really really scary.”

“I think you have good intentions but downplaying the situation when someone comes out as ‘they don’t care that you’re gay’ isn’t actually very helpful.”

“You say the end goal isn’t to care about sexual orientation, and again, I think you have good intentions, but that’s not very helpful.”

“In the world we live in being gay is still seen to be different. To be different is to feel isolation and fear. You and your family are supportive, but your brother didn’t know that would be the case for sure.”

“You’d be surprised to know how many families are ‘liberal’ on the surface but become nasty when one of their own turn out to be LGBTQ.”

“Almost all gay people have heard these stories, we internalise these stories, and we know we can’t take anyone’s acceptance for granted until we know explicitly that we are loved and accepted.”

“Okay, so coming out isn’t worth a big celebration with bells and fireworks and cake. However, it can take a lot of energy and emotion to come out to someone and receiving an ‘I don’t care’ or ‘It’s not a big deal’ response can be underwhelming and hurtful.”

“It matters to your brother. It wouldn’t hurt to sit with him and say how you understand that it was a very brave action to come out and be explicitly clear that you accept he is gay and that you love and support him.”~dragonfrvit

“NAH. It’s okay to not treat coming out as a big deal, but all your brother wants is a little emotional support about a huge scary change in his life.”

“Mention it to your parents. If they check in on him and see if he wants to have a conversation or talk about his experiences about it, I bet he’ll feel a lot better.”

“There’s a difference between feeling like someone doesn’t care about sexual orientation as in not judging the person for who they love and feeling like someone doesn’t care about sexual orientation as in not caring about this aspect of who they are as a person.”

“Maybe your brother just needs a little check-in so he can finally share the stuff he’s been holding back while in the closet, or maybe he wants to talk about a guy he likes or his queer inspirations and he didn’t feel like he had the space to do that.”~heartsinhay

Being LGBTQ+ is still a scary experience! One never knows the way coming out will go in these scenarios.

It’s nice that OP’s parents and OP were so readily accepting, but those emotions surrounding coming out are powerful and difficult to let go of.

Hopefully these answers will inspire a productive conversation for OP and his brother.



Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.