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How to deal with insane Middle Eastern parents?

Discussion in 'Coming Out Advice' started by travelingaround, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. travelingaround

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    I'm 26 years old and I've been trying to think of how I can finally come out to my parents. I'm out to most of my friends and been in a relationship for the past 4 years. I've also been living abroad for the past 5 yrs and this problem of coming out to my folks was the main drive for me to leave. My parents are your typical homophobic Middle Easterners who think that gays and lesbians are sick people. I've tried pressing them about their views on the issue, but this usually results in some biblical story of Sodom & Gemorah or just plain disgust and proclamations of disowning any family member who would "choose" that lifestyle.

    My younger brother knows and he thinks it's time for my parents to know. My uncle recently told me that he knows and advised me against telling them for fear of my safety. My bf on the other hand is out to his parents (they are also Middle Eastern too but moved to the US in the 70s, therefore more liberal) and urges me to come out to them in the form of a letter. This is getting to the point that my mother will call me just to set me up with some girl, while reminding me that my cousins have all married by now and it's time for me too.

    My bf and I are planning to move back to the US sometime soon in the near future, and it feels like this lie will be too much to handle by that point. I'm going on a visit home in the next couple of months, so I've been thinking about this issue more than usual.

    Sorry for the long story. I appreciate any insight anyone can provide in how to go about this tough situation.
     
  2. maverick

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    This is pretty much the point I was at in my family when I was forced to come out. My mother conspires with other women in my family to set up matches for me through their social circles, and I can tell by their behavior that they're concerned I won't ever get married.

    And coming out totally fixed the issue. All efforts to force me into a relationship have completely stopped. But my parents aren't Middle Eastern, and I don't have any experience what the pressure of that influence would be like. So I don't know if your situation would turn out the same if you came out to your folks.

    I feel for you though, that really sucks.
     
  3. zeratul

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    To the poster above me, my mom has't stopped trying, she pulled out the confused card and is still conspiring.
     
  4. Lexington

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    Welcome to EC! :wave:

    This is always a difficult situation to be put in, and it's especially tough to give advice since yours is a completely different "parental culture" than mine. How credible do you think your uncle's concerns are about your safety? If you really think there's something there, then I'd say simply make your sexuality and sex life a non-topic with them. If your mother reminds you of your married cousins, tell her "duly noted" and change the topic. If she asks if you're dating anybody, say "I don't feel comfortable talking about my sex life with you." If she tries to hook you up with somebody, say "I'm not interested in getting hooked up." If she presses any of the topics, say "I'm sorry - I'm not interested in discussing this with you" and terminate the conversation.

    If you're less inclined to believe your uncle, then a letter might be the way to go. There will probably be a (lengthy) period of adjustment while your parents call you to talk about the shame you're bringing to your family. Stay incommunicado until they're willing to talk about it rationally.

    Lex
     
  5. travelingaround

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    Hi Lex,

    Thank you for your feedback.

    I am inclined to believe my uncle since he's really the only one in my immediate family that's departed from holding onto our cultural irrationalities. Looks like I'm going to have to continue on this same path for now. The letter sounds like a nice idea, but I can see it getting complicated and I simply don't want to "lose" the only family I've got. The last time I heard someone in my community come out to their parents, his family literally told everyone that he died from some sudden illness. Sounds horrible and I don't want this to be the case with me.

    Thanks again :slight_smile:
     
  6. Lexington

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    >>>The letter sounds like a nice idea, but I can see it getting complicated and I simply don't want to "lose" the only family I've got.

    Well, I often say "family is as family does". If your parents were cruel and demeaning, for instance, I'd suggest cutting as much contact as possible...because why would you want to hold on to that? Because "they're the only family I've got"? You wouldn't clutch to a metal safe during a shipwreck because "it's the only thing convenient" - you'd realize you're better off not holding on to anything. It may be that your parents have enough good traits to overcome this rather glaring blind spot, but that'll be your call to make.

    Lex
     
  7. jrnewton2

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    My advice is to remember that you, unlike someone who still lives at home, have a bargaining chip in this situation. Since you've been living abroad, it sounds like you are fairly independent. Just don't forget that you control your presence in your parents' lives. Give them time to accept it, but make sure they know that if they don't you don't HAVE to make yourself part of their lives. Use that. And if they can't love you unconditionally like parents should, then you shouldn't be that afraid of letting go of them if you have to. But having you in their lives is probably more important to them than their homophobia is.

    I also think a letter is the best way to go. Just sayin'.

    Good luck!
     
  8. Revan

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    I wish parents knew that Sodom and Gomorrah was not about homosexuality, it was about greed and rape...