Umm, So Now My Brother Is Gay?

Updated on November 23, 2011
A.M. asks from Jackson, NJ
18 answers

First, let me preface by saying I have NO problem what so ever with homosexuals at all. I have many many friends who are and see nothing wrong with it at all. I am however, in a bit of shock. My brother just told me over a drunken text at 12:30am that he is bi-sexual and 'pretty much gay' now. He is 43 years old, been married 2 times, and has 5 kids. How does this happen? I am supportive of him 100% and I told him that and thanked him for telling me (as I am the first in the family to know) but HUH? He says he is still attracted to women but hasn't been with one in 2 years. I just don't get it.
Again, I am being supportive and really don't look at him differently, Have any of you gone through this?

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L.C.

answers from Dover on

Wow, that would be a stunner. I would be stunned. Not disapproving. Not unsupportive. Just gobsmacked. It wouldn't be a matter of my brother being gay being good or bad, right or wrong. He is who he is. It's just that I would be shocked that I could know him and love him and not know this really important thing about him. I would also be sad that he felt he had to be anything other than himself for so long.

You have to look at him differently in that he has something about him that was different than you thought it was, but that doesn't mean you have to love, communicate with, support, enjoy or treat him differently. If you are not, and it sounds like you aren't, then you are absolutely supporting him.

4 moms found this helpful
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P.M.

answers from Portland on

I have several friends, both men and women, who didn't admit to themselves until well into adulthood that they were gay. Some of them were actively anti-gay. Almost all of them were married and have children.

Even now, the stigma is too much in some families and some geographical areas, and many young people grow up confused or in denial.

ADDED: Here's a really touching video about a gay man's struggle to accept himself: http://www.thework.com/watch-being_gay.php

3 moms found this helpful

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R.J.

answers from Seattle on

$5 says you're about to meet the boyfriend.

$10 says they just had the 'Meet the Family' fight (ahem, discussion) since it's turkey day this week, and xmas is coming on fast.

10 moms found this helpful

E.B.

answers from Seattle on

My best friend finally came out when he was 19. My M. is still convinced he is not Gay, but secretly in Love with me, knows it will never happen, so the gay thing is a cover up. WE HAVE A LAUGH WITH THIS OFTEN!

He is still somewhat attracted to women, but only in the sense he can pick the cute ones from the not so much. He has great taste in ''cute'' girls for a gay guy.

My uncle(who has since died of AIDS) was married with children when he came out to his wife.

It destroyed the family.

Even since his death there has been a deep division. His funeral was alot smaller then it ever should have been.

There is a chance he has known for awhile.

It took my best friend 7 years to finally come out from the time he personally knew it.

Embrace him. Stick up for him when he needs it.

It is not easy being a Gay male in the United Sates. The Stereotypes, judgments and Religious radicalism that demonizes their orientation is just brutal. So I totally under stand him waiting to drop that bomb.

Good Luck with this one. And Good luck to him! I hope he is comfortable sharing with the rest of the family. It is not right to have to hide who you are.

8 moms found this helpful

C.P.

answers from Columbia on

Meh. Whatev.

It sounds like he's going through some tough stuff. He's trying to find a way to accept himself for who he is and live authentically.

You don't have to get it. Just let him know that you love him and accept him no matter what.

A good friend of mine recently told me that he's a closet transvestite. I did have an inkling of this already, but figured he'd tell me when and if he was comfortable. It's actually broadened our friendship quite a lot. We've now added shoe shopping and manicures to our regular fun! ;o)

Just roll with it.

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☆.A.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Well....I would suspect that he's always known. Somewhere, deep down.

Sadly, because of the attitude of a lot of people, many homosexuals feel the need to deny what they feel, deny their true feelings, attempt to "fit in", mask it, cover it up, and many live that lie for many years (marriage, children, etc.) before mustering the courage and conviction to be open and honest with themselves and others.

Seems like your brother is at that point. Good for him! Good for you for supporting him!

(Oh--and by using the phrase "live a lie" I was not trying to render your nieces and/or nephews as "a lie" or "not valid" just to describe how a lot of my gay friends have described it to me!)

6 moms found this helpful

R.D.

answers from Richmond on

I have a female cousin who's 1 year older than I am. She's been married, had kids, got divorced, finally came out of the closet. She said she felt pressured to marry a man and start a family.

Funny thing is, her girlfriend/partner/wife/whatever did the same thing! So now they're one big gay blended family, LOL!! They both said that they always knew they were living a lie by acting straight, but they gave into friend and families pressure to get married (to a man) and start families.

They're much, much happier now being themselves :)

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S.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

Many people are bi-sexual, and are or have been married and had children. Our society has put pressure on us to follow a traditional path in life, whatever our sexual attractions might be. As society has become somewhat more accepting, and as people get older, they are more likely to admit their preferences.

Since your brother stated that he is still attracted to women, but in relationships with men right most recently, then he is bi-sexual.

My ex told me that he was bi-sexual after I had known him for many years, but that was not a surprise, because we both had been very open about our sexuality with each other. He finally just put a label on it. It really was not a big deal to me. Many bi-sexual people are in long-term relationships - and during the course of their lives, they may be in relationships with people of either gender.

4 moms found this helpful

M.F.

answers from Portland on

Many, many, MANY people are confused or in denial long into life.
Lots of people think if they jus "play the part" that they can repress the gay side of themselves...

Usually this ends up meaning divorce, cheating, or suicide.
I am glad that your brother had the courage to finally except who he is.
Ia m also very happy to hear that he has you to support him, as it is not an easy thing to do.

I wish more people had the courage and the support system to come out earlier so less people are shocked and hurt by it...

I am bisexual. I have been out since I was 14.
I have known since I fooled around with my best girlfriend when we were both 6.
My husband is the only man I could see myself being with at this point in my life. If it were not him, I would be with a woman.
I am monogamous though. I don't believe in "Arrangements".

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G.B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

One of my guy college roommates was also in this situation. He proudly proclaimed he would be happy to settle down with either gender if he was happy in the relationship. He finally, years later, realized it was just a coping thing, he wasn't ready inside to admit that he was totally gay and ready to commit to the lifestyle. He wanted to be "normal", what ever that is...depends on who you are standing next to at the time.

Maybe that is where your brother is, not totally ready to realize and accept he is not going to ever be able to be with a woman full time. He may want to feel like he is just a "little" bit gay and that would be more acceptable to him that admitting he is gay.

It will take time for him to experience life and relationships to be sure what he wants out of one. You sound supportive and loving. Good for him, and good for you.

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H.W.

answers from Portland on

It sounds like your brother was really afraid of your reaction, very scared himself to even come out to you, and felt he needed a bit of liquid courage and to hide behind texting. So, that's likely why he was drunk and doing it a bit second-hand.

I think this question ("How does this happen?") really should be posited to him. I'd ask him to explain more clearly what he stated. My guess is that he means that he is 'bi' in that he will love a person for who they are, regardless of their gender, and has no problem being intimate with men or women. He may not want to be pigeonholed by labels. That said, it sounds like he is wanting to/focused on/is pursuing having relationships with men at this point in his life.

I think you did a really supportive thing by thanking him for telling you. My guess is that he was worried that might not be your response. Growing up, some of my friends in high school were gay guys and their 'coming out' was painful. Parents would not accept this; one was beaten by his father and kicked out: "You're not my son". We've come ahead in some ways, but intolerance is still alive and well too. You should feel good that your brother trusted you with this important part of himself.

Do you have a PFLAG group in your area? (Parents and Families of Gays and Lesbians) You may find some good resources and support there. I can't tell you how it is that middle aged people decide to come out, but I know quite a few who have. Only your brother can tell you his own story, but it might help to meet with other people who have been in the situation you are in now- wrapping your head around your brother's huge and sudden news.

You sound like a great sister to have. Best wishes on this. He's lucky to have someone as tolerant and open as you sound. Not everyone is so fortunate.

4 moms found this helpful

T.K.

answers from Dallas on

It's hard to know what to say in that scenario. What's appropriate? Congratulations? Does Hallmark make a card...Congtrats on coming out?

You supported him and that's what matters. It can be a shocker, but it's just a new normal you get used to. When my baby nephew came out, it was hardest on his dad because he was his only son. That means no heir to carry on his name. Once we got used to the idea that there would not be biological children it was all ok. Like I said, a new normal.

I don't know what to tell you about him being Bi. I assume that means he is attracted to both, but is MORE attracted to men or maybe he has been repressing this urge to be with men so long that he is just going all in for now. Bottom line is that he has love in his life and feels loved, respected, and appreciated.

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P.B.

answers from Spartanburg on

Many people realize (or accept) they are gay later in life, even after procreating...so maybe that's your brother's case. He may want to start to educate himself on the impact the news are going to have on his children..."dad is gay" (or "M. is gay" equally) must not be something easy to digest.He's lucky he has you for support, though. You should be one for his wife and children too: he knows who he is now, but I suspect they won't anymore...Good luck to all!

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J.B.

answers from Boston on

Yes - someone I am close to is bi-sexual and is still married to his wife and lives with her and their children. They have some kind of arrangement and I think they still have a sexual relationship. That one is tough because very few people know so he isn't "out of the closet." I just try to respect their privacy and assume that they know what's best for their family.

A good friend's brother came out after he caught his wife cheating on him with a man. Turns out that she had good reason to cheat and they luckily didn't have kids, so all's well that ends well there. He is now totally out and very happily married to a man.

I think you just have to try to accept him for who he is and let him take the lead in how you can best support him. I'm guessing that he may not be ready to tell the world yet, so just maintain his privacy and let him know that you are there for him.

3 moms found this helpful

J.S.

answers from Hartford on

What an emotional bombshell dropped in such a dramatic way. It sounds to me as if your brother's life is in some turmoil right now and if you look back, it has been for quite a while. Bi-sexual with leanings toward preferring men very well might explain two attempts at marriage with women.

I feel bad for him, and I feel bad for his ex-wives. I don't feel bad for his children, because they're the best things to have come out of those marriages. I had some gay friends in college who, while they preferred men, had perfectly enjoyable sex with women while still calling themselves gay (as opposed to bi-sexual... my friend JT said it was because his SuperGay friends didn't believe in being bi-sexual, you were either Gay or NotGay) and after college married their best female friends in order to have a family. I lost touch with most of them so I have no idea how those marriages turned out. I suspect they didn't last.

Anyway. Your brother is right around the age that he would be thinking about where his life is going, what he wishes he had done with his life, the could haves, the should haves, all of the middle age crisis issues that men start to have right around now... and it's not unusual for men who may have been denying their homosexuality to have problems like your brother has had.

I hope he gets some counseling to sort things out. I would be worried that the alcohol is a common thing for him right now.

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P.G.

answers from Dallas on

If he is attracted to women AND men, he is bisexual, regardless of what he calls himself. Just because he hasn't been with a woman in 2 years, doesn't mean he's gay, it just means he hasn't been with a woman in 2 years. If he's using the female attraction to deny that he's gay, that's another issue altogether. I think he's got some issues, if he's drunken texting and sleeping with anything and everything. He needs help for his self destructive behavior. His sexuality is secondary to whatever the heck he's doing.

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L.R.

answers from Washington DC on

The fact that it took him a "drunken text" to finally come out as bi to you is not a good thing. Had he sat down and told you in a mature manner that would be great; it would mean he was doing it thoughtfully and wanted to give you space to react thoughtfully. But the manner--not the content-- of his announcement is worrisome. Please find a time when he's sober and calm and tell him you support him 100 percent and want to help him be happy, but you are concerned that after-midnight drunken texting is not exactly the way a person who is fully comfortable with himself chooses to make ANY momentous announcement to close family members.

I remember well when two very close friends told me they were gay (not at the same time, and they weren't in a relationship) and in both cases the discussion was a sit-down and in the end very tender discussion, by and about grown-ups. Both those wonderful men are now happy and accepting who they are. I hope your brother can do the same but the way he told you would be red flag to me that he needs more help coming to terms with himself.

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M.O.

answers from New York on

You must be a great sister! The fact that your brother chose to tell you first, before anyone else in the family, shows that he really trusts you. The fact that he did so in a drunken text is a sign that this is not easy information to share, and that he'll really need your support in the weeks and months to come.

That's what I really recommend focusing on: the trusting relationship between the two of you. After all, we all turn a blind eye to what our siblings do in the bedroom. Whether your brother is in a relationship with Jenny or Johnny, he's counting on you know that he's the same person he's always been.

Best wishes,

Mira

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