A gay college student in Beaumont, convinced he could no longer hide his sexual orientation, came out when his religiously conservative parents confronted him. They disowned him.
So Tim Gonzales asked his Alpha Tau Omega fraternity brothers at Lamar University for help and support. They responded with unconditional love.
“These guys are offering to sacrifice their own comfort to make sure I’m taken care of. They also truly respected my decision to be who I truly am. Basically, they became my new family. My fraternity has a tag that we use to define who we should be and what we should act like: ‘Love and Respect.’ And that’s exactly what they showed me last night.”
Gonzales shared his tough coming out story with the Gaily Grind on Monday, just days after an emotional confrontation with his family. He described in detail how his family tried to force him to disavow his sexual orientation or lose his family. For years, Gonzales says, he tried but couldn't hide any longer.
Last Thursday, my mom called me and said I needed to start thinking about transferring my insurance and phone charge into my name as they had found out I had been drinking (I drink relatively little, only been drunk once) and were not going to be funding my dangerous activities. She told me I had til Sunday to decide. So Sunday I knew a reckoning was coming. I came back to the house after church and they confronted me about my drinking. I admitted that I had been going against them. My mom looked me in the eye and asked “Have you gone back to homosexuality?” And looking at her I realized I couldn’t hide any more. I was too tired. I told her yes and she just hung her head. They then requested that I give them my keys and credit card that was in their name. All of those I was okay with. Then they asked for my phone which I bought myself. That hurt but at that point they were both crying and I couldn’t refuse. My mom brought it to the kitchen and dropped it into the trash.
Gonzales says his parents called being gay a sin and if he persisted, they would cut off contact. They forced him to come out to his younger sisters before kicking him out.
They pleaded with me to come back to God and not to go down this road of sin. They told me that if I chose this then I would no longer be welcome to see any of my family, including my 4 year old twin baby sisters. I didn’t even get to tell them goodbye. They also brought down my two other younger sisters who had been listening upstairs. Both of them were in tears when they stood in front of me. My mom told me I had to tell them with my own mouth what I am. I told them “I’ve been drinking and I’m gay. I’m sorry”
When Gonzales returned to campus, he asked his fraternity brothers for help and they responded. That support convinced him to share his story publicly, he tells the Gaily Grind.
Tim agreed to share his story exclusively with The Gaily Grind in hopes of encouraging “all of us who are afraid to tell people who you truly are. There will be losses, sometimes devastating. But don’t be afraid. There will always be someone to support you.”
Sadly, Gonzales' troubling coming out and rejection by his family is not uncommon. A Georgia teen was violently confronted over being gay before being disowned in an incident captured on video this summer. His story gained national attention and supporters raised nearly $100,000 to help him.