High Fidelity: Out for the holidays

By : Miguel Fuller
Comments: 0

Share this story:

I told your grandma you are gay.” That statement didn’t come from my mom when I came out in high school, when I had my first boyfriend in college or when I was honored as Grand Marshal of St Pete Pride in 2016. My mom called and told me that a couple of months ago. After being open and honest in my personal and professional life since high school I was still nervous to tell grandma.

There are a couple of reasons why the timing of this statement was so important, like I was deciding if I should finally bring my longtime boyfriend to meet my family. In my 33 years of life I had never taken anyone home for the family to meet. Now I was a few months away from the holidays and I was struggling on what to do. My mom knew that I was nervous about talking to my very religious grandmother about my sexuality. To add to it, there was more stress on my shoulders because I’m African-American and my boyfriend is white. So without ever having had that conversation with my grandmother, I was about to introduce her and the rest of my family to my white boyfriend. I was a ball of nerves.

Being who she is, my mom decided to help me and tell my grandmother. When my mom called me that Thursday afternoon I was in the laundry aisle at Target. I answered my phone and right there in front of the Gain laundry detergent display, my mom responded to my hello with “I told your grandma you are gay.” MIND EXPLOSION!

I was not expecting that. I told her to hold on as I walked out of Target and sat in my car and asked her to explain what happened. She told me that she was sitting in her room thinking about my situation and decided to pull the Band-Aid off. She walked into the living room where my grandmother was watching “Jeopardy” and said, “Mom, Miguel is gay.” My grandmother responded with, “I kind of figured, he’s never had a girlfriend. Can you bring me water?”

That was it. I spent most of life worrying and agonizing over having that conversation with my grandmother and just like that, the conversation was had with no fanfare. Now that she knew, going home for the holidays should have been a breeze, right? Nope. I spent the next couple of months worrying and stressing over taking someone home for the first time.

My boyfriend and I arrived at my uncle’s house early. My anticipation of the first big meeting had me so stressed that I was actually early for an event—which I normally never am. My uncle and aunt met my boyfriend, exchanged hugs, said “Merry Christmas” to each other and continued working on Christmas dinner. The rest of the day went like that as more cousins and aunts arrived. Then the big show pulled up: my mother pulled into the driveway with my grandmother. I went outside to help her out of the car. As I was hugging my grandmother my boyfriend came up behind me. My mom blurted out, “Mom, this is your future grandson-in-law!”

If I could have dug a hole into my uncle’s driveway to disappear I would have paid whatever money I could find to make it happen in those seconds. My grandmother smiled at my boyfriend, hugged him and then asked if we could help her out of the car and into the house.

Wait … so, no angry yelling? No big conversations about the Bible and homosexuality? Nope. The rest of the day went without any controversy, awkward stares or awkward questions. We told stories, ate some good Atlanta soul food and exchanged gifts. My grandmother even brought a present for my boyfriend. Just like that, relief like I have never felt during the holidays evaporated.

Coming out is a personal journey that we all experience in different ways and at different times. I think it’s a process that never really ends. We constantly have to come out. Hopefully one day it won’t have to be that way—we will be able to exist and not have to make a reveal that we are gay. Our community has a lot that we have to face every day so take a moment to be kind to yourself. You deserve it.​

Share this story: