Readers’ dilemma: ‘I’m only half-out! Should I come out to my homophobic dad?’


I’m 16 and this is the year I’ve truly accepted I’m gay. I’ve done everything to be the person I’ve been hiding all this time – a whole new wardrobe! To coincide with this I decided to come out. I told my mates and feel much closer to them. I also told mum while we were alone, but haven’t come out to my dad and sister yet.

My sister is ridiculously immature for 13, calling everything ‘gay’ and making dumb comments about boys who don’t like sex with women. I think this comes from my homophobic dad, who talks about ‘poofs’ and cringes whenever a gay man appears on TV.

He thinks all gay men are camp or effeminate – little does he know he’s been living with a ‘poof’ all this time! He wonders why I don’t buy lads’ mags, which my mum and I find hilarious. She says to leave it until I’m an adult before coming out to them, but being half-out is worse than being in the closet! I want to express myself so much. How do I come out to a homophobe?

Scott, via e-mail

The Guyliner replies: Congratulations on coming out so successfully so far! It’s great your mates have accepted your news. And what a brilliant reason to go shopping! Amazing. It’s great, too, that your mum is so supportive.

Your sister’s attitude is disappointing, but she’s a teenager. Most teenagers are massive dickheads – eventually they all realise this. Your revelation might just change her mind. You’ve got mum on your side, so fingers crossed her attitude will rub off. It’s a cliché, but time is key – let her do some growing.

Your dad seems trickier. Sure, his attitudes are distasteful, but I assume he loves and cares about you. Perhaps telling him you’re gay will be a real wake-up call for him. He thinks all gay men are effeminate or camp, but there you are hiding in plain sight!

His lack of understanding probably stems from having no exposure to gay men socially. Once he sees you’re still just his son and ‘normal’, his harsh views might soften. Maybe start light-heartedly: “Ever wondered why I don’t buy lads’ mags, dad?”

You should, of course, be prepared for a bad reaction. While I’m sure you won’t need it, have a back-up plan so you have somewhere to go to be safe. If things go off, say your piece, listen to your dad, then leave your parents to discuss it. Consider the possibility he won’t want to discuss this with you for some time, until he adjusts. While you’re under his roof, you’ll have to accept it for now, but at least you’re not hiding any more.

Let him be angry, but don’t take his first reaction to be his final word. Don’t make coming out the only issue that comes up when you’re together – chat about other, everyday stuff too. A bit of normality will give him time to let things sink in. And remember, you’re not seeking his permission or approval – you’re just telling him who you really are. This is just the beginning for you; don’t let him or anybody else spoil it. For more advice and info, head to the Lesbian and Gay Foundation –

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