More Than Clothing in the Closet

Dear Dr. Darcy:

I’m in 11th grade and I last week I was looking for a shirt in my brother’s room (he’s in college) and I found things in his room that make me think he’s definitely gay.   I have no problem with it if he is gay, but he’s not “out” about it. We live in a community where it wouldn’t be a big deal either as lots of people are gay.  I’m confused though.  When I was younger he used to bully me lots and one of his “terms” was fag.  I have 2 questions.  One, what should I do now that I know he’s gay and two how does someone who is gay use words like fag and bully people?

ANSWER

Let me start by saying that until I know what you saw in your brother’s room, I can’t confirm that what you stumbled upon is truly evidence that he’s gay.  However, since I don’t know what you saw I’m going to go with your impression and just address your two questions.

There are countless examples of adults who are bullies – people who use their energy and power to discriminate against gays and speak out against gay rights, only to be outted themselves. Ted Haggard epitomizes this.  Haggard was the leader of the National Association of Evangelicals and he actively lobbied against gays.  He was fired when he was accused of having a long-term relationship with a male prostitute.  The point is, sometimes the people who are most verbally outspoken against an issue wind up being the ones with the biggest issues.

Nonetheless, that you went in your brother’s closet looking for a shirt and discovered he’s gay does not give you the right to pull him out of the closet.  It’s his life.  It’s his journey.  Let him determine when and how he comes out.

Writer's stats: Male, Straight.