Generation Gaps: Coming out at 15, 35 or 55

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Q: I’m 15, out and unhappy. My mom is cool with me being gay, but she’d rather talk about me finishing school and getting a job.

I can’t go to bars yet, and I don’t have money. I know only one other gay dude. Being out is like having a new car with nowhere to drive it.

I know: “It Gets Better.” Well, life sucks now.

Dear Queer Youth:

Gay, straight, bi or otherwise, it’s hard to be 15. The good news is that what seems like forever now is a small, fleeting portion of your life.

Spend this time setting yourself up for a better future. “It Gets Better” because you get better.

Mama knows best: Going to school and getting a job earn the fun and the funds.

Practice gratitude. Tons of people would love to have an accepting mom, to know even one other LGBTQ person, or to be able to come out and get on with life.

Q:

There’s one thing standing in the way of a future with my boyfriend: He says it’s me. I say it’s him.

He thinks that if I don’t come out to my devoutly religious grandmother, I can’t have true Pride in myself. I’m a proud 35-year-old man, but I say his being out to literally everyone he meets is grating. I also say that breaking my grandmother’s heart isn’t worth it.

Now he says come out to my Mammaw, or he leaves me.

Dear Ultimatums & Threats:

You say it’s him, and he says it’s you. I say you’re both right.

Assuming you generally don’t hide your identity, you can come out to whomever you choose. It doesn’t make you ashamed, just different. You should similarly accept his being out to everyone bar none.

People in long-term relationships must decide whether to live with the other person’s choices and consequences. This is one of those subjective calls you both must make.

The only red flag here is the ultimatum. Holding conditional love over someone speaks more to relationship issues than who knows you’re gay.

Q:

I never acted on being gay, but I’m considering coming out at 55. I worry that I waited too long, but I also worry that denying it would shortchange my true self.

Dear Better Late:

There are as many ways and times to come out as there are people who do it. If your “true self” is nagging you to come out, it’s worth exploring. Others who can relate and appreciate the sum of your life experiences are out there. Your next chapter is coming whether you come out or not, so think about how to make it great. It’s never too late.

Q Advice is entertainment and not professional counseling. Send your Qs to mike@theQatl.com.

Illustration by Brad Gibson

This column ran in Q Atlus Magazine. Read our full print issue online here:

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