When I Came Out to My Parents, Kimchi Fried Rice Held Us Together
October 17, 2018 5:39 PM   Subscribe

I'd always thought that you're supposed to learn something about yourself when you come out, but I think I learned more about my parents.
It meant something to me that in the midst of my mother's grave disappointment, during a time in her life when everything had seemed to change, the rug pulled out from under her, somehow she and I could seek refuge in this one thing that would never change. I was still her son and she was still my mom, and kimchi fried rice—something only she could make—was still my favorite thing to eat in the entire world.
By Eric Kim.
posted by Lexica (7 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
What an awesome story! Good for them!
posted by darkstar at 6:19 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

“It feels like my son died.”

That is what my mother said to me when I came out to her in 1990. She came around to having a gay son eventually and I've mostly forgiven her for how hard it was for her at first. But I've never quite understood or forgiven that initial reaction. I certainly haven't forgotten it. It was intensely hurtful, doubly so because I'm certain she was being honest in the moment.

(Also I've made almost this exact recipe, but instead of fried rice it's scrambled eggs. So good.)
posted by Nelson at 6:21 PM on October 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

That was a lovely story, made all the better by the fact that I have a giant Costco jar of kimchi sitting in the fridge waiting to be made into delicious, if inadequate, kimchi fried rice with that recipe.

(When I came out to my parents in the early 90s they told me it was a phase. Hell of a phase.)
posted by Cuke at 7:30 PM on October 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

One strong childhood memory I have is seeing my brother go into my mom's bedroom to come out to her, and how when I peeked in after he left all she could do was cry silently with her hand over her mouth. She was still in denial about it for years afterwards, though I think she's accepted it in some way now. Doesn't mean that we ever talk about it though.

Thanks for the post.
posted by coolname at 11:32 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I could seek refuge in this one thing that would never change. I was still her son and she was still my mom

When I told my mom I was trans she said i should consider being gay instead since in our home country, gays are more accepted. How gracious of her.
posted by the list of suspects is just you at 1:14 AM on October 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is a cool piece, but I really hate that straight cis parents get points for merely being upset and crying as a level-up from not being violent towards us or throwing us out. People have babies and they talk about how they just want their kids to be happy and healthy, and then suddenly that's gone and the value judgments about performing gender and heterosexuality start.
posted by bile and syntax at 11:26 AM on October 18, 2018 [11 favorites]

My mom thinks that my transfemininity is somehow about mental illness or her parenting. And I'm afraid if I exhaust myself trying to change her mind, then I might accidentally prove her right.

I remain hopeful my mom will come around and we'll develop the sort of relationship where we can process our trauma together, but she's not given any indication that she's receptive to these ideas. Instead of pinning my hopes on that, I've tried to channel my efforts into finding diasporic community. Collective trauma necessitates collective healing, right? I hope so, anyway.
posted by the list of suspects is just you at 4:14 PM on October 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

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