Tips on Coming OutComing Out Day is upon us again and the lovely Lesbian Housewyfe, in the proud tradition of June Cleaver, is depositing her two cents into your life.

A common problem among those of us who have not dusted our closet yet is how to come out.

Now, I have come out to many of my family members except for the eldest ones. My grandfather does have that heart condition and my mother begged pathetically for me to spare her parents. Personally, I think my grandfather, who is practically deaf, wouldn’t hear me and my grandmother, who is periodically not in this dimension, wouldn’t remember but Mother is firm on this point and I am willing to give in to her demands.

To get back to the point, a common problem is not whether or not to come out. Every homosexual knows that they should be out to combat the stereotypes, yadda, yadda, yadda, on and on and on.

Don’t you hate those people who are all like “You must COME OUT!!” and then they aren’t out to any of their family or their straight friends? Or how about the ones who are out to everyone and every time they come out to someone it’s an entire event and you are regaled with the story of the time they scolded the grocery bagger for making a homophobic remark in the middle of the Safeway parking lot?

I hate that. Their methods just don’t work for you. They have no practical social skills. They expect you to just walk up to your boss one day and say, “Hey! I’m a big dyke!”

And your boss replies, “What’s your name again?”

Well, here are some practical and time honored methods for coming out. People you don’t know are a piece of cake. When you eventually get around to the subject of relationships, you simply tell them.

Much easier than telling Mom and Dad, who really should have known already.

First, there is the traditional method of coming out, the “Good Dyke” method, which generally happens at the holidays. If you’re a good dyke, you must tell your family face to face.

Why have our families become this necessary evil that we force ourselves to be around only at the holidays, so that those traditionally joyous times can be imprinted forever as horror stories of Uncle Ed puking on the turkey? Or perhaps Aunt Alice doing that table dance in front of the Christmas tree.

Or, perhaps, that Easter you came home and stopped everyone’s forks halfway to their mouths by saying, “Mom, Dad, everyone. I’m a homosexual.”

Just say no to ruining the holidays. Let Grandma Harriet do that on the Fourth of July.

I have a particular fondness for the “Gentle” method as it was mine. A bit less direct than other methods, but people will thank you once they get over the shock.

First, you can call your friends or family or whoever you are planning to come out to. I realize that Lesbian Law # 7 is When you come out, you must do it face to face preferably at Thanksgiving Dinner, but I say Yes! It’s okay to tell someone over the phone.

Next, you bring up the subject of love, as in, “Guess what?! I’ve fallen in love!”

And they say, “With who?”

And you say, “Stephanie,” or whatever your current lover’s name is.

And your brother says, “Is that a unisex name?”

After the excitement dies down, the family will definitely thank you for your delicacy especially if you stress that you could have told everyone all at once at Thanksgiving and given Grandpa that heart attack.

Then, there is the “Bold” method. This is a true story.

My brother has a friend named Duke. Duke is a hard workin’, hard partyin’, pop the top off the whiskey bottle and throw it out the pickup window on Friday after work type of guy. You feared such men when you were thinking of coming out in high school.

One night, Duke and my brother, John, were out drinking with a bunch of their redneck friends. About halfway through the evening, Duke was drunk and just itching for a fight. Someone told a gay joke and Duke jumped up.

“I’m gonna beat the crap out of you, man! I’m gonna beat the crap out of you!”

The guy just stared at him with his jaw in his lap and said in a small surprised voice, “Why?”

“‘Cause I’m a fag, man!” Duke yelled and proceeded to fulfill his promise. Everyone enjoyed the fight and laughed it off as Duke having had too much to drink.

Later, Duke and John were sitting back sharing a bottle of Southern Comfort when John decided to get the real scoop. “So, Duke, what’s the deal?”

And Duke replied, “I really am a fag, man.”

Although this is a more direct, spur of the moment, get really drunk and spew all over the floor method, it appeals to me. The lovely Lesbian Housewyfe can be a bit violent sometimes. Perhaps if more people used this approach, there would be much less gay bashing and absolutely no fag jokes.

Know that it is my mission in life to bring hope to the hidden lesbian housewives of the world and maybe affect some others along the way.

When you need strength, just remember Lesbian Law #1: Never underestimate the power of a Lesbian Housewyfe.

No one in my family does.

And some of them don’t even know.

***

I wrote this piece back in the ’90s right around Coming Out Day. At that point, I had not come out to my extended family – although my immediate family all knew. At this time, in case you were wondering, everyone knows. Back then, I never imagined that Stephanie and I would actually be legally married. The “It Gets Better” campaign and the more supportive views which grow even now in this country bring me hope for a future in which the fear this essay discusses will not exist.

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