EDITORIAL: Just a heads up that your cousin Michael is gay now – by Aunt Pam - The Beaverton

EDITORIAL: Just a heads up that your cousin Michael is gay now – by Aunt Pam

Merry Christmas, Tompkins family! It’s time for my holiday family newsletter and it’s an important one, so read closely. Even though there’s lots going on in the Tompkins clan, I just thought everyone should know right away that your Michael is a gay person now.

Michaels’ mom Nancy told me on the phone last night that he came out to her and I immediately knew that I had to contact the whole family in order to get ahead of the story. As you all know, I performed in Plainview Community Theatre’s 2006 production of Cats and our director was gay (or homosexual, as they prefer) so I think I’m the best equipped in our otherwise small-minded family to explain what this all means. A lot of you aren’t as enlightened about these sorts of things as I am so I need to make sure no one embarrasses themselves by saying something offensive.

First, and this is important, this is Michael’s choice! Not yours. Not mine. His! Say what you will about our family but we pride ourselves on respecting each other’s choices. When Uncle Oliver sold his Ford to buy a Honda, did anyone say anything? When Martha served fish instead of ham for Easter last year, did anyone say anything? No. Those were their choices and this is the same sort of situation. That’s what our family is about and I hope you all remember that when speaking with Michael. We’re happy with the choices he makes and if he chooses to change back, that’s fine too!

Next, now that Michael likes boys instead of girls like he used to, everyone needs to watch what they say when talking about their relationships at the family dinner. He probably can’t relate to normal girlfriend-boyfriend stuff anymore so if you talk too much about it, he’s going to feel left out. Try to talk about your favourite gay actors or gay musicians so he can feel included. Suggestions: Elton John, Rock Hudson, or Hugh Jackman.

You can also try to ask him about fashion or decorating because he’s good at that now.

Actually, we can all be proactive about this. Even though Christmas is coming on fast, I’m sure most of you still have to do your shopping. Take the opportunity to ask Michael what movies or TV shows he likes now that he’s gay. Think of it as a great chance to learn about all his new interests. In fact, what better Christmas present could there be than finding him a potential boyfriend! Now that he’s announced the change, I’m sure he’s eager to start dating right away!

Finally – and this part might be a bit touchy – but I know that some of you like to use the word “gay” to mean bad or lame. So if you are going to use the word around Michael (try to use euphemisms instead!), make sure you specify what meaning you intend so he doesn’t get accidentally offended.

Sorry to cut this short but I have to tell as many people as possible before Nancy so no one accidentally puts their foot in their mouth. I’m excited for everyone to start using these strategies so Michael can see how much we all truly care.