Curious straight sibling

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  • #10429

    Carlin J.
    Participant

    I think my 30-year-old brother may be gay but am afraid to ask him about it. He has never had a girlfriend, and most of his friends are older, single men. I don’t want to make him feel uncomfortable, but I want to let him know it is OK with me. Our parents are very homophobic. Should I ask him?
    Original Code SO129. Click here to see responses from the original archives. Click “to respond” below to reply.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Carlin J., Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 25, City : Toronto, Ontario, State : NA Country : Canada, 
    #20176

    Jim
    Member

    Should you ask? Oh god, yes, please! I can’t begin to tell you how many family members and friends told me that they ‘had a feeling’ that I was gay when I came out to them. I always ask, ‘WHY didn’t you just ask me—that would’ve made this a lot easier!’ Coming out can be an agonizing, lifelong process, and no matter how many times you share this info with someone for the first time–it’s always that—a first time. Coming out to those who have known you intimately all your life can be the hardest to do. Chances are your brother, if gay, has spent his entire life constructing a ‘socially acceptable’ facade. Especially given the homophobia of your parents. Without knowing what kind of relationship you two have, I can only generalize, based on my own experience. Compassionately Ask! But please make sure you set the question up appropriately by telling him that if he is in fact gay, you’re ok with it. How I wish my older brother had been willing to take the step you are contemplating! He’s wonderfully supportive, but was just afraid to ask…

    User Detail :  

    Name : Jim, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Gay, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Agnostic, Age : 39, City : Cleveland, State : OH Country : United States, Occupation : graphic designer, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #47725

    Kathy26667
    Participant

    I am responding to both questions. My older brother was gay. I guessed, but I lost him to AIDS before I could bring it up. I am also gay (realized years afterward)and when I was coming out, it was helpful to know who was generally accepting. When coming out, I think it is helpful to choose carefully. If the brothers in both these situations realize that their sisters are accepting of homosexuality, it helps the person coming out choose well (whenever they are ready) who to come out to first so they can build an ever stronger support network. I think the gradual approach is a wise one. Be open about your acceptance of homosexuality, even around your parents, but certainly with your brother. Eventually, you might decide to speak to him directly about it. If there is a lead up to it he may end up relieved when you ask him. If you shock him with a blunt question, he may have a ‘knee jerk’ denial, which makes it that much more difficult to come out later. Good luck.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Kathy26667, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Lesbian, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Quaker/Unitarian Universalist, Age : 33, City : Philadelphia, State : PA Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #16988

    Colin
    Participant

    As a gay guy emerging from the closet at 30, I strongly feel that asking someone if he or she is queer is intrusive and wrong. If you ask such a question just to satisfy your curiosity, tough. But, if you only want to facilitate a better relationship, your best bet is to make it known that you’re not homophobic (or bi- or trans- phobic) and support FULL civil rights for LGBT people. This serves everyone better and avoids you poking your nose where it doesn’t belong. Further, it sidesteps the troublingly accusatory, ‘Are you gay?’ Respect everyone, queer or straight, and always let it be clearly known that you are not an oppressor.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Colin, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Gay, Race : Human, Religion : Science, Age : 30, City : Berkeley, State : CA Country : United States, Occupation : Engineer, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #16488

    Test his skills. Bring a woman nice looking woman to his attention and see what he will do. If any more questions, email me at oteliecwg@aol.com

    User Detail :  

    Name : Christ-to-da-Mist32221, City : detroit, State : MI Country : United States, 
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