Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 13, Ed. 1 Friday, August 12, 2011 Page: 22 of 56
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The right time
Coming out is a personal decision,
and each person has to find the
right time and the right way for
themselves. And while it can still be
tough, it doesn't have to be as
tough as it used to be
Coming out is still so wry hard to do, es-
pecially if someone delays doing it for a
very long time.
That's what I learned recently when the 40-
something-year-old son of a friend of mine con-
fided to me that he had finally accepted his sexual
orientation and now had a boyfriend. He broke
the news to me by saying, "I'm involved in a new
relationship with someone, and his name is ...
The ironic part of all this is that my friend, his
mother, told me when her son was about 13 years
old that she was pretty sure he would be gay. She
was an interior decorator, had lived in liberal
cities prior to moving to Texas and had quite a
few gay and les-
I thought that
she might be cor-
rect in her assess-
ness and accept-
ance of her friends'
expressed a con-
cern that her son's
life would be much
tougher if he indeed turned out to be gay.
We had this conversation about 20 years ago,
so her assessment/seemed reasonable enough at
the time. I had to agree that being gay certainly
hadn't made my life any easier up to that point,
especially in light of the raging AIDS epidemic
that was killing many of my friends and scaring
me to death.
As it turned out, her fears about him being gay
seemed to be unfounded. He went off to college,
met a girl, lived with her, left her and wound up
marrying another girl.
Two of his best friends from high school with
whom he grew up went on to come out and live
as openly gay. One died of AIDS in the early
My friend and I remarked on our surprise
about how tilings had turned out, but we both
generally acknowledged that we apparently had
The Rare Reporter
been incorrect in our assumptions that he would
Still, I had this nagging feeling that something
wasn't quite right. I wondered if he was bisexual.
My friend's son and his wife had a child, and
they moved away from Texas to the West.Coast
and a much more liberal environment. They
seemed happy for a long time, but then my
friend began to confide that her son was having
emotional problems. In fact, he had become es-
tranged from other members of his family after
a conflict with them before he left Texas.
Finally I heard that he and his wife had sepa-
rated, then gotten divorced.
At the same time, my friend and I began drift-
ing apart, even though we had been friends for
a quarter-century. I noticed her politics were be-
coming more conservative. She told me that she
didn't think the country was ready for same-sex
couples enjoying the right to become married.
I began to realize that her liberal attitudes were
only skin deep, and I was disappointed by that.
When my friend's son told me that he was gay,
I promised not to say anything about it to anyone
until he had charted his course of action. I did ad-
vise him that if he planned to tell his teenage son
that I thought he should first tell his ex-wife, who
had become his best friend after their divorce.
He also confided to me that when he was a
teenager he had fooled around with one of his
male friends, and that he had felt guilt and
shame afterwards. He told me that after he ac-
cepted his homosexuality and began dating
other men, it felt natural for him.
After a couple of months, he told his ex-wife.
She took the news excellently, telling him that she
wanted him to be happy. His son seemed to take
it in stride while posing a lot of questions. The
funniest question he got from his son was, "Are
you going to start wearing dresses now?"
Then he called his mother and told her, and
she admitted that she had known it all of his life.
She also began weeping and told him she was
concerned that it would make his life much
In an email to me, she said that she was not
shocked by his revelation, but it did make her
sad. She also expressed surprise that he had told
I've always been of the opinion that people
come out when it is the best time for them to do
so. His personal time table required him to wait
about 20 years longer than I did, but that was
right for him. He adores his son, enjoys his close
friendship with his ex-wife and hopefully will
have a good relationship with another man to
round out his life.
In short, I'm hoping he proves his mother
wrong. It doesn't have to make life tougher in
this day and age. ■
David Webb is a veteran journalist idto has covered
LGBT issues for the mainstream and alternative media
for three decades. Email him at
22 dallasvoice.com ■ 08.12.11
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Nash, Tammye. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 13, Ed. 1 Friday, August 12, 2011, newspaper, August 12, 2011; Dallas, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth239180/m1/22/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.