Well, I finally DID IT- I came out. WHAAAAAAAAAAT? Yeah, I know right. I run a gay website and have been in a relationship for almost nine years. How is this possible? Trust me, I’ve been an ongoing joke with my gay friends, straight friends, cousins, friend’s parents, co-workers, boyfriend’s family etc for years.. You name it, they’ve made fun of it. Before I get to the who, what, when, and why, I think it’s necessary for me to set it up and give the back story.
My parents, brother, and myself emigrated from the Philippines when we were quite young. As with most parents from developing countries, mine wanted a better life for their kids than they had. They sacrificed a lot, endured lean times and hardships to make sure we didn’t go without. In fact, when we first arrived here, they literally had $500 to their names. Since we were from a tropical climate we didn’t have any fall or winter clothes so they had to use the bulk of that to supply yours truly with clothing since I started kindergarten in just a week. We immigrated in late August and I started school just a week later. Talk about culture shock for little ol’ me.
Growing up, my parents have ALWAYS supported anything my brother and I did. No matter how harebrained my ideas were, they never said anything negative about them and pushed us to go for it. At times, it was mostly me who pushed them away and didn’t give them an opportunity to support me by either me hiding my pursuits or politely asking them not to show up for games or and nerdy competitions (I was on a French trivia quiz show in high school: Genies en Herbe). This sort of secrecy carried over to my relationships as well. Unlike my brother who always brought home his girlfriends, I never once brought a girl home and introduced them as my “girlfriend” to my parents. That’s right readers, I’m not a GOLD STAR HOMO. If they saw the girl multiple times, it was this unspoken thing that this was my current girlfriend. Sometimes this habit of holding things close to me extends even to friends. They often accuse me of being guarded and closed off. I only ever truly open up to a handful of people when it comes to my inner thoughts and feelings. Otherwise, I’m very outspoken about everything else and never afraid to voice my opinion or thoughts. I’ll be the first to call you out- if I’m a close friend- or have that awkward employee-employer conversation or anything that others may see as difficult. For some reason, talking to my parents is my Achilles’ Heel.
So fast forward to present day. How is it possible to not have the “conversation” seeing as I’ve been in a committed relationship for almost a decade. Let me tell you that it hasn’t been easy and actually been quite comical at times. Often I felt they knew but then in the same breath say something that would completely throw me off. For example, when Brian and myself started buying investment properties they would commend me on how great it was I was building a foundation for when I got married and had kids and then they’d follow that up by asking why Brian didn’t attend the latest family event- in this case it was Mother’s Day. It was enough to make me go bonkers. So why not have the talk? Somehow, I always found an excuse not to. They would range from: “I don’t want to cause a ruckus during my mom’s political run,” to “It’s my brother’s wedding,” to it being “Thursday.”
One of the most comedic situations I’ve encountered in trying to avoid the “talk” occurred at my GAY cousin’s wedding in San Francisco last year. During the brunch, the day after the wedding, we were all sitting around catching up with my cousins when the photographer instructed all the cousins to gather around for a group shot. I come from a big family on both sides. In this particular case- on my dad’s side- I have 30 first cousins. While we were taking the pics, I overheard the photographer’s assistant talk about gathering the cousin’s wives, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends etc… for the next pic. I immediately internally freaked. For the most part, my cousins on my dad’s side know about me- I actually have three (and counting) “out” cousins. When our session was over, I immediately faked stomach problems and hide in the bathroom. I literally sat on the toilet until the photo was taken. A parade of cousins and Brian kept coming in to inquire when I would be done. I told them to take the picture as I was having extreme diarrhea. Literally, I’d rather announce to the world I had major runs over telling my parents the OBVIOUS. See the thing is most of my cousins, aunts and uncles know about Brian and I (that’s another story in itself). Meanwhile, poor Brian was sitting right beside my parents when the call came out for the cousins and spouses pic. AWK-WARD.
Fellow cast member, Adam, has been the biggest proponent of me coming out. He’s given me many deadlines that have come and gone- from my brother’s wedding to the launching of the site. So why now after all these years? What prompted me to finally have the official coming out story? As sad as it sounds, it was a disagreement I had with my parents. After a heated discussion and a couple of days cooling off, I contacted my mom and apologized for my actions days earlier. When we finished hashing it out and forgave each other, I suddenly gathered the strength to talk about it. It was all very anti-climatic considering the build up from the past few years. Her immediate reaction was: “Ah Duh, we’re not dumb, Donovan. We can add 1+1.” Apparently they had been waiting years for me to officially tell them. What ensued were the usual questions like: “When did you know? and “Why didn’t you tell us sooner?” Despite our Catholic faith and their conservative political beliefs, not an eyelash was batted over accepting the “new me”. As with everything I’ve presented to my parents, they embrace it and stood by it- this was no different. My mom even commented that I she loves Brian and states I couldn’t have found anyone better- man or woman- who would love me as much and be as patient (that’s another blog entry in itself).
For some homos, they known who they are from an early age and come out in their teens. For me, it took practically half a lifetime for both. Would have I changed anything? Sure, hindsight is 20/20 but I don’t regret anything. The only thing I regret is that I don’t give my parents enough credit. Something I plan on working on and improving for the future. Hope you weren’t too bored with my story. Not one of the most dramatic ones out there but hopefully kept your interest throughout.