The Renegade Rip

Column: Lucky to come out twice

The Gay Agenda: Life and times of a modern gay man.

J.R. Hensley

J.R. Hensley

J.R. Hensley, Reporter

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Coming out is one of the biggest moments in any gay man’s life and I was lucky enough to do it twice.

My initial attempt was met with such shock, confusion, and anger from my parents that later that night I traipsed into their bedroom and told them, “Ha ha, just kidding.”

I remember my dad’s hollow voice traveling through the darkness, “Why would you do that to your mother?”

It was a lie, yes, but it seemed like the best thing to do, since this news hit my mother like a truck.

My father, on the other hand, could not have cared less.

The next day my family acted as though nothing had ever happened.

The second time was just after my mother, unbeknownst to her, had dropped me off for a date.

What I didn’t anticipate was for her to loop back around the parking lot to see who it was I was meeting.

That night, my mother glared at me as she asked if the man with the tattoos she saw me walking with was my boyfriend.

I took a brief moment to let the question hang in the air, weighing the pros and cons of my response. I knew I couldn’t say “just kidding” this time around and have it be alright.

I responded with the answer she did not want to hear.

So upset was she, that she did not say a single word to me for two solid months.

When she seemed to finally move past it, or pretend it had once again been a joke, her words were very carefully chosen and our relationship seemed to weaken.

That was fine with me at the time. I knew before I had answered what the result would be.

What I did not expect was how much change my mother would, in fact, make.

It is strange to look back at how cold she was compared to who she is now, and how even at family events, she refers to my husband as her son-in-law or on occasion refers to us as “the boys.”

The strangest of all was, before my husband and I were allowed to wed, we moved in with my parents for a short time while we gathered the money we needed to buy a house.

I think it was during this time that she saw that my husband and I were just like every other couple.

Sometimes I dread to think what it was she thought we did…

I can’t begin to understand what it would have been like if my parents had chosen to throw me out without any place to land, because that was their idea of “the right thing to do.”

Unfortunately, for many that do share who they are with friends and family, it is met with anything but love.

Many families have been ripped apart by some preconceived notion of what it is to be gay and how it is somehow immoral to be homosexual. More often than not, they are misinformed caricatures.

While it is something every gay person must continuously do throughout their life, telling one’s parents is the first and the most difficult.

Evidently, I love the stress of it or I wouldn’t have done it twice.

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “Column: Lucky to come out twice”

  1. Rhonda Baskins on September 15th, 2016 11:51 am

    Love is love! Hard NOT to like Charlie!

  2. Steve Simpson on September 15th, 2016 12:22 pm

    I love you Josh. I can only imagine how tough that was but am happy and grateful the world is (slowly) coming together to realize we all deserve to be loved in the way we are most comfortable. Well done my friend!

  3. Pamela Williams on September 19th, 2016 10:48 pm

    I’m one of your cousins (Cham Hensley’s daughter). I am glad things turned out well and sorry you & your family had to go through all of that strife before and I believe your words will help others that are going through some rough times. Bravo for you! I, as a mother, would have been sad to hear one of my children tell me they are gay. Not because I disagree with their lifestyle, but because I know of all the prejudice and harshness that people can show them. Because it would make the life much harder to deal with sometimes. I am glad times are changing and that your family is so accepting now.

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Column: Lucky to come out twice