My family has always celebrated holidays in a big way with parties and dinners, etc. The two biggest holidays for my family are Christmas and Easter. I love my family and spending the holidays with them, but I have been told my boyfriend and I are not welcome to the Easter celebration this year.
I think my parents always knew I was gay but couldn’t face it. We pretty much had a don’t ask, don’t tell unspoken agreement. After years of dancing around the issue, I finally “officially” came out to them over Christmas 2013 at the age of 33. I told them I am happy, I have a partner (we have been together for almost two years and share a home) and they seemed to take it pretty well, considering.
Last week my mother emailed me and said she and dad would prefer if I did not come to the Easter dinner with my partner, but I can come on my own. I love my family and want to be there but I am very angry about this snub and so is my boyfriend. Do you have any advice for me?
-Sam in San Diego
Thanks for your letter. am especially challenged by it because I decided starting today my posts must be much shorter, by about half. Please don’t take it personally that you are getting the condensed version of askdescamp.com; it’s still 100% effective!
You told me your family is deeply religious (Catholic) but not overly-right wing and you have never heard your parents bash gay people.
You also told me you haven’t told your two siblings or anyone else in your family, but I took a look at your Facebook page and I gotta say, you probably don’t need to make any sort of big announcement unless it is important to you, because this is your cover page photo:
By the way, I’ll see you at the White Party in Palm Springs this year!
Sam, your parents love you but obviously they are still adjusting to your coming out of a very colorfully designed, doorless closet. I imagine they feel as I would if my son announced he was a republican: it’s not necessarily bad news but it’s just not what I had envisioned for his life.
You told me nothing has really changed in your relationship with your parents with the exception of this Easter issue: you still communicate on a regular basis although they don’t seem interested in discussing your partner. Sounds to me like they may still be a little bit in denial.
That’s probably because all of you participated in this elaborate scheme to pretend you are someone you are not. Think of it like a contract – you yourself said you had an unspoken “don’t ask, don’t tell” agreement and now you have unilaterally breached that agreement and forced them to face a truth they would rather ignore.
I believe from our conversation that your parents are good people and they will come around eventually. Until they do, however, my advice is to not attend events at which your parter (soon to be husband – congrats!!!) is not welcome.
My position on this subject has two prongs. I wanted three but I couldn’t afford them because as I mentioned, I’m writing shorter blogs from now on.
1. Staying away from family functions will (I hope) remind your parents their position is unreasonable and painful for the whole family. From what you told me, I am betting they will miss you like crazy this Easter and after an epic apology to you and your partner you will both be included from now on.
2. Attending family functions without your fiancé because he isn’t welcome is extremely disrespectful towards this man you love, and likely to cause a rift between the two of you.
When you agree to marry someone, you are family. Family doesn’t leave family at home for family events, no matter how dysfunctional the family may be. Everyone should be there and equally miserable.
My advice to you is to send your parents an email. Feel free to copy/paste:
“Dear Mom and Dad:
I hope you have a happy Easter celebration, but I’m afraid I won’t be attending any family gatherings until my partner is included. While it will be sad for me to miss seeing you all, I cannot leave behind the man who I am going to marry. I hope you will reconsider your position on this matter soon so we can get back to having a positive family relationship free of lying and denial about my sexuality.
Also, I’d like the new Kitchenaid Mixer for our wedding. I’m registered at Macy’s. While I know you would prefer to buy me this one:
I have registered for this one:
Deal with it. Love you both,
Good luck and let me know how it goes.