When my dad left to pick up some dinner, my mom, whom I've been out to for almost two years, said, "Your father saw your Facebook status when I left my Facebook up. The cat's out of the bag." You see, I hadn't told him.
It's a small effort that by no means deserves praise, but if coming out to my family means preventing even one less oppressed gay person, it's worth facing my feelings of trepidation. It's worth enduring an awkward Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
A year ago I thought that disclosing my sexuality would aid in the healing from my eating disorder and my compulsive exercising. However, looking back, I realize that I was looking at my sexuality all wrong.
The experiences these men had navigating complex social networks, confronting cultural ideals of masculinity, and depending on one another for behavioral health information were clearly relevant to my work. I decided then to transfer my proposal from Africa to 176th Street.
Though I can remember almost everything about that day, from my mother's facial expression to her subtle physical responses, only recently have I tried to understand her reactions and consider her feelings throughout my coming-out process.
Eventually, though, I grew up. I wasn't that cherubic ginger grandson on whom they once doted. I went through puberty. I started experimenting sexually. I came out. And that's where this relationship starts to hurt.
One reason I got so personal last month was because of a powerful statistic that will matter come Nov. 6: Straight people who know gay people are significantly more likely to support LGBT rights, by 20 points in one ABC News/Washington Post poll.
When people think about LGBT stories and the holidays, some imagine scenes of argument and strife or -- sometimes worse -- tension and polite-acting relatives. Well, this story isn't like that at all. This is the Christmas story of Ryan and Eddie.
So what is this "everyday" policy, you may ask? It's how so many of us live our lives. We don't let our friends or families know about the discrimination or legal barriers we face just for being who we are.