My twin brother and I are very close – he is a wonderful person and my best friend and I just want him to be happy and have the best life ever. I was the first person he came out to, and I am still the only family member who knows that he is gay. My family is very tight-knit and it isn’t easy for me to keep this secret from my mom and dad, but I know it’s not my secret to tell. He says he wants to tell them soon, but he’s been putting it off for a year or more.
My parents are relatively liberal, they might be surprised but they won’t freak out and disown him or anything. He still seems concerned though; he doesn’t want things to change in our lives. He tells me he thinks about telling them all the time but never does. I hate seeing him so unhappy. Can you help me understand what he’s going through? Is there a way for me to support him through this process without pushing him to come out before he is ready?
It’s great that you’re so supportive of your brother and that you’re encouraging him to come out of the closet — unfortunately, a lot of gay or lesbian people don’t have someone there that they feel like they can confide in. But while you should definitely continue to be there for him, coming out is a decision he needs to make on his own.
Let your brother know that he can always talk to you whenever he wants or needs to. Encourage him to come out, but don’t be too pushy about it, because you’re right — it’s not your secret to tell, and it’s important that he does it on his own. But it’s OK to remind him of how great your family is and how you think they’ll be supportive if and when he decides to tell them.
Your brother is probably going through so many different feelings right now, and most likely feels totally confused. It can take years and years before a person feels comfortable enough to reveal that they’re gay, no matter how accepting their family and friends might be. In this situation, the best thing you can do for him is to just continue to make sure he knows how much you support him. That’s probably helping him more than you realize.
WDYT, gURLs? Have you ever had a gay/lesbian friend or sibling who was too afraid to come out? How did you support him/her? Have YOU ever had to come out to family and friends? Tell me below!
What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at firstname.lastname@example.org.