A recent Reddit post demonstrates just how delicately family members have navigate the moments before, during, and after someone expresses their homosexuality for the first time.
The story sheds light on a strange truth: it's often easiest to take emotions for granted with the people closest to us.
Redditor tosstocoat recently shared his experience of the moment his brother came out.
The entire family was supportive and accepted his brother's identity as a core piece of the person they've always loved.
And things went terribly.
The story proves that, somehow, both statements can be true.
In the detailed anecdote, which possesses the tell-tale rhythm of an internet rant, tosstocoat describes how his positive, though, in terms of energy, lukewarm response upset his brother.
The poster wrote with his heels dug in, full of conviction for his side, and asked Redditors if he's right to feel absolved of any guilt.
The narrator kicks off the story with a key variable: he'd had a hunch that his little brother was gay for years.
"Basically everybody knew he was gay already long before he came out. My brother all his life has enjoyed stereotypical 'girly' things and has never shown any romantic interest in women he's never had a GF or anything"
"Not to mention in high school he became very effeminate, like stereotypical Hollywood gay character effeminate."
Wow, wild start.
Almost no commas means tosstocoat apparently left the internal editor at the door. This is about to be honest AF.
Though his assumptions eventually proved correct, the source of those assumptions are undeniably problematic.
Some Redditors let him know.
"Would definitely say you are an a**hole but not about that. ''girly things'' and close girl friends doesn't mean you're gay."
"Just seems you are quite judgemental about his entire life style and non of those are connections to ones sexuality just sterotypes you believe are true." WAXEL1339
"If he's part of the LGBTQ community, your brother has also likely been in lots of discussions around gender/gendered behaviour and how it's constructed, as well as not assuming people's gender or sexualities based on them." TheBetterStory
Let it be known: "girly" describes a gender, not a sexual orientation.
Also, Hollywood is not the ideal place to learn about the world.
Moving on, tosstocoat gets to the main event: his brother's two-part coming out scheme.
The narrator was phase one. While the two were alone before a large family Christmas gathering, his brother spilled the beans to his, apparently, No. 1 most trusted family member.
"I blinked a couple times and chuckled and was like 'oh okay man. Good for you I'm happy for you. Pass the chair.'"
That, my friends, is called deflation. The wind has been taken out of the sails.
Little bro didn't handle the anti-climactic response well.
"He got pissed and said the least I could do was be happy for him and not try to downplay something so important by pretending I already knew and went upstairs."
Some Redditors took tosstocoat to task about his, as they saw it, all-too-casual response to his brother's huge life moment.
"Please understand that coming out is incredibly stressful. Many people going through this process mistakenly believe that their being gay is the biggest news on the planet."
"They feel that way not because they are narcissists or self-centered, but because hiding for so long distorts reality for them." TacomaWA
"To have people just go 'yeah, okay' to something that he had built up in his head to a huge, life-changing moment was probably a surprise, a letdown and could even be a bit embarrassing for him." codeverity
"He spent years doing what he thought was a good job of covering up, and it might've been hard to hear that his disguise wasn't as perfect as he thought." ursoparrudo
"I think its important to consider that for most people coming out isn't exactly a "hey! I'm gay!" Its a "I trust you enough to share this with you, it scares me but I trust you'" megdela
When tosstocoat's brother then told the rest of the family over the dinner table, their response basically amounted to "Cool, pass the potatoes."
With so much pent-up emotion receiving such a lukewarm response, his brother displaced some anger.
"Then about two weeks ago my brother texts and says I'm an a**hole because I must have told our parents after our basement discussion and that their reaction was super fake and that I spoiled the most important moment in his life 'out of spite'"
tosstocoat, unfortunately, did not keep his cool, launching this into a full-on family issue.
"I got fed up and told him the reason their reaction was fake was because basically everybody knew he was gay for years now and we all just decided to keep quiet about it until he acknowledged it."
Despite plenty of criticisms like the ones already mentioned, some other Redditors took his side.
"One day it's not going to be a big deal to anyone, and people won't have "coming out" stories because it won't be a big deal. Isn't that what acceptance looks like?" xOskullyOx
"Your brother got the best possible outcome of coming out to your family which is the entire family just going "OK yeah cool glad that you're comfortable enough to come out.'
He instead he wanted the movie portrayal where the entire family is shocked, the dad leaves the room, mom tries to be supportive and goes 'Dad just needs a little time to adjust'
"It seems a little self-centered." ravnclaw64
"He's being an as**hole for suspecting you told people to deliberately sabotage his coming out; at least he should have given you the benefit of the doubt in that scenario" SeattleGeek
All these comments illustrate an important issue of contemporary LGBTQ culture: is it more or less respectful to downplay the coming out story?