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I don't want to deal with the coming out fallout.

Dear Prudence, 
There’s a summer internship I’m really interested in at an LGBT archive near my parents’ house (I’m in college). Thing is, I’m not really out to my parents. I sort of broached the subject with my mother a few years ago but she didn’t react well and we never mentioned it again (she never told my dad). Both of my parents are non-homophobic in theory (they never use slurs or condone other people’s homophobia) but I guess her daughter being gay hit too close to home. I don’t think they’d kick me out or withdraw financial support, but coming out would be awkward and uncomfortable. I could probably find an apartment for the summer but given how close they are to the archive, that seems like a waste of money and I’d still feel obligated to tell them what I’m doing, so the only problem that would solve is giving me some space.

I hate the idea of not applying to a program that I’m really excited about just because I don’t want to deal with coming out. If I got the job, not telling them about it isn’t really realistic. I’m out to my brother, who’s pretty supportive and (as far as I know) will also be home this summer. I guess the subtext of all of this is that I’m pissed that my parents, who pride themselves on being so progressive and liberal, wouldn’t be happy with my being gay.

—Resentful in the Closet

Re: I don't want to deal with the coming out fallout.

  • I don't understand why working at this archive would automatically mean that her parents will think she's gay.  I'm assuming people of all sexual orientations would be allowed to work there?  Is this unrealistic to think this might be unnecessary worrying?  I never had to come out as straight, so I don't know.
  • More than likely, an assumption will be made about her sexual orientation. Which, she will be stuck eventually either admitting or denying.

    I don't know what to tell her to do.  I'd almost have her apply and see if she even gets it and then decide.
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