This month it will have been 8 years since I came out to my parents. It didn't go very well at all.
I sat down at the kitchen table with them and said simply "I'm gay" and that launched a truly stereotypical and cliched conversation/conflict. My dad was yelling and beating on the table as he said things like "How can you uphold the honor of the household?", "If you can get an erection then you can learn to have sex with women!" and "I don't want to hear any more about it until a good decision has been made."
My mom was less violent and angry but still upset. They both seemed concerned over the religious implications and their being embarrassed in the local community over having a gay son...
How Do I Come Out to My Parents Again?
...It pretty much ended with them saying I can choose to be straight or I can be happy with being single.
I went back to college (this was on winter break) and proceeded to be out and open with friends and coworkers (I'm out to pretty much everyone now). But I haven't spoken to my parents about it since that night. I do still talk with and visit my parents occasionally but neither of us bring up anything tangentially related to being gay.
I want this to change. I want to be able to bring a boyfriend home to them or talk about how disappointed I am that Amendment 2 passed in Florida. I want a more normal relationship with my parents.
How should I proceed? How do I come out again (ugh)?
I'm sorry to hear that coming out to your parents was such an upsetting experience (I know you didn't say that it was upsetting, but it sounds incredibly upsetting and disappointing--probably infuriating, too). I can't believe what your father said. Besides being incredibly crude and disrespectful, he clearly doesn't understand anything about sexual orientation or your experience of being gay.
This is what I would say to you if I were your parents and you came out to me again (8 years after the first time): We're so proud of you for having the courage to be yourself and to live your life openly and honestly. Please forgive us for not doing a better job of listening and understanding. We feel lucky to have a son who didn't give up on his parents even though he had every reason to. We love and support you and want you to feel comfortable introducing us to any of your friends or a boyfriend, if he's important to you. And we want you to know that we're interested in issues concerning gay rights and hope that you'll help us to better understand what your life is like and what the gay civil rights movement is about.
Well, that's my fantasy for you.
In preparing to talk to your parents, I suggest a couple of things.
First, spend some time at the PFLAG web site to see if you can gain some insight into what your parents may be going through and how best to talk with them.
Second, before you talk to your parents, think about whether there's another adult in your family (an aunt or uncle or a cousin or a close family friend) you can confide in and ask them sound out your parents before you talk to them. That person could find out whether your parents have softened in their views. Maybe you'll discover that your mother is eager to talk to you, but is afraid of your father's wrath. Who knows? But by having another adult ask the questions you won't leave yourself open to a full-frontal attack again--or at least you'll have some idea of what you're in for. One can hope that you'll learn some things that may help you map out the best approach for your second coming out.
I also suggest that you go to a PFLAG meeting (I'm hoping that there's a chapter near you) to talk to some PFLAG parents about what they recommend you do. Even if they don't have any useful suggestions, you'll at least have their support as you figure out how to approach your parents.
Finally, I'd like to ask the people who read my blog for their suggestions, so I hope they'll post their suggestions in the comments section.
One more thing. Lifetime television is airing a movie on January 24 called "Prayers For Bobby," which is based on a book about a young man and his family. It's mostly about Bobby's deeply religious mother coming to terms with Bobby's suicide. Perhaps one day it's a movie your parents will be able to watch and learn from.
All best, Eric