Coming out to the Cousins

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

My favorite cousin “Carmella” texted me last week.

“Hey my sister and I are coming up to Pier Six in Baltimore to catch the Jill Scott concert. We want to see you before the show.”

Carmella has been my ace boon coon since we were out of college — she is like the sister I never had. We can talk for hours about anything and have taken quick trips to New York City to catch the “Maury” show or night club.

I am not out to her but it was time to be honest. My partner “Van” spends a lot of time at my house and is planning to move in soon.

It is rude and unloving to ask him to leave my house or not come over when friends and family visit who do not know I am gay. Like their feelings matter more than his.

I have introduced him to some friends and of course my mother and daughter have met and like him. But I haven’t introduced him to everybody because frankly, my relationships are not everybody in my family’s business.

But I felt I had to own up to Carmella. Because she matters.

“Hey I have to be honest,” I texted back. “I’m into men now and I have a partner named Van. I want you to meet him.”

It took about five minutes for her to text back.

“Oh. I understand. No problem. I want to meet him. But I think it would be better if I came up and hung out with you guys alone without my sister.”

“Carmela your sister needs to grow up,” I texted back, surprising myself with how bold and open I am getting. “I don’t have a problem if she knows.”

“Okay,” she texted back.

Carmella’s sister “Denise” is the gossip queen of the family. I knew if she met “Van” my entire family — I have dozens of cousins — would get the 411 in 24 hours.

She has a mouth like that.

But for some reason that particular day I just didn’t care. Let them gossip — believe me I knew dirt on a lot of folks in the family too.

Plus Denise has a reason to be hostile to gays. She is twice divorced but her first marriage was annulled in two months because her husband was gay and on the down-low.

You would have never suspected. He was a big brown-skinned guy with a football player build — in fact I think he did play in high school or college.

Whenever he came to family functions he would bring over this slight, bespectacled man with him who he introduced as his “cousin.”

To be honest  I cannot remember having a decent conversation with Denise’s fiance because he was always up under his “cousin” at Thanksgiving, Easter and New Year’s gatherings, sitting next to him on the couch and practically ignoring everyone else.

After Denise married him this cousin — who was best man in the wedding — moved in with them because he supposedly fell on hard luck and needed a place to stay.

But within a few months Denise’s new husband woke her up one morning and confessed he was gay and the cousin was really his lover.

I guess he thought getting married would turn him straight. He just kept his lover around for moral support.

Well, did Carmella and Denise drop by my house before Jilly from Philly sang?

Nope. Carmella texted and said they were running late and didn’t have time.

I don’t know if this was true, an excuse to keep her possibly bitter, chatty sister out of my business, or if my coming out was just too much for Carmella to handle.

I’m sure the truth will come out one day but in the meantime I’m enjoying my life.

20 thoughts on “Coming out to the Cousins

  1. Immanuel, thank you for sharing a situation that all gay men will encounter at one point or another. The great thing about being an adult, particularly after reaching a certain age is that others approval is not really mandatory. Adults who are self sufficient pay there own way and can make the life they want. The flip side is that once one ‘makes ones bed, one must go lie in it.’ Since Van has ‘selected’ you, for example, he must accept your moods, disposition, needs, limits, as well as the reality that you have a past with the mother’s children ( which is THE past, but is there because you had children with her) and you are a father (always) even if the raising of your children is done. The key is to TRY to be happy together. Immanuel you have been in a committed relationship before and know all that that commitment involves. What would be tougher would have to disclose a serous illness, like HIV to family, because, believe it or not some family might be less concerned about the ‘gay part’, and more about you having to live with HIV or cancer or any other aliment, and how it would affect your quality of life, overall. And a chronic illness would also impact the quality of life and relationship you are building with Van.
    Not all personal business needs to be shared with everyone, even in this era where people share too much personal stuff on social media and the internet.

  2. It’s always inspiring to see another brother, living he’s life despite what other s say, or think. I appreciate you sharing this. Me and my prospective partner, I say that jokingly…He’s already decided I’m his…but my mom and old skool grandma love him, however the cuzzos don’t know but I’m realizing, hell, they may already have accepted the fact that I’m gay. I say that because it is becoming more apparent that I was the one with the blinds down.

  3. Keep enjoying life. I saw Jill Scott here in Brooklyn NY last week with sister at the New Lowes Kings Theater. She was good and the Theater is awesome.

  4. Thank you for living your Truth. Damn I wish I could’ve seen Jill Scott. Sister is talented and gifted by Yah. I think it was best that your cousin and her sister didn’t come. Sometimes the wrong people can attempt to ruin your happiness

  5. Hello. I’m glad they didn’t stop by because it’s none of anyone’s business what your doing in your life. If they did stop by and Van was there you don’t owe them an explanation. You should introduce Van as your friend until you guys decide to get married. Be blessed bruh.

  6. Good for you. Do your thing. I told two people in my family that I was gay. One of them told the rest of the world. That made it easy. None of that heart-wrenching, heart-to-heart, “oh, I have to tell you something” bullshit. Tell a loudmouth / Denise and get it the hell over with.

    • Worst_1_Yet that was my thinking exactly. In fact I told my mother to prepare for the phone calls from gossipy relatives. She said she planned to tell them to kiss her ass and stay out of her son’s business. I really need to write a blog about Moms. She has been nothing but supportive.

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