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How to Come Out of the (Porn) Closet to Your Family

How to Come Out of the (Porn) Closet to Your Family

coming out as a gay porn star
Reading Time: 6 minutes

In the wise words of my mother, “You know, at least he’s not a serial killer.” Thanks, Mom. Finding out your son has secretly been doing gay porn for the last year can be shocking news. Even more shocking, when two months prior he had officially come out of the closet. My mother was right though, I’m not a serial killer. My involvement in the adult entertainment industry was completely legal, no murders necessary. The only thing I did wrong was lie about where I was Memorial Weekend 2012- I was in California, miles away from school, where I claimed to have been.

What pushes people to travel to California behind their parent’s backs and film adult videos? Much like any collegiate millennial in the midwest, I was hungry, broke, and determined to find a better life for myself. That life had to be in California. Out there I could breathe. For the first time, I’d be my true authentic self and find the happiness that seemed to be missing from any life living in the midwest. Fantasy turned reality, that’s the driving force behind my actions much like many others in the industry.

After a year of filming, I thought I’d perfectly kept my secret life under wraps, but just like that, the internet came back to bite me. It started as a simple tag in a company promo, which then got retweeted by a friend of my ex step-sibling, who proceeds to show my ex-step mom, who just so happens to run into my dad at a restaurant and tells him, so he goes home and googles my stage name, and voila my dad has now seen me in porn.

What do you do when your family finds out you’ve done porn?

Step 1

take a breath

Take a big deep breath. In moments of extreme shock like this, we often forget to breathe, so before your mind and heart start racing, focus on taking big deep breaths. Now is about the time when your phone has 38 missed calls, a handful of questioning texts, demands for explanations, and somewhere in the middle of it all, they want a callback.

Step 2

Before making any attempts to call or text anyone, go outside alone, no phone, no music, and go for a walk. Totally cut yourself off from everything but your own thoughts. You’ll feel like your mind is racing, closing in on you like you’ve committed a crime, and the police are chasing you. You’ve committed no crime and the police are not coming after you. Remember to just breathe.

As your thoughts slow from 300mph to a manageable 35, you’re now in a better position to talk to your family. You know your family best so evaluate who’ll be most reasonable to talk to first. Who likely has calmed down the most and stepped out of their stage of shock? Brothers and sisters are likely your best bet. Being from the same generation, they’ll be more understanding and apt to listen than our parents.

Step 3

Call your siblings first. Your words will want to run off on tangent after tangent, but stay focused. The important part is that you listen actively, not argumentatively. For anyone, accepting or not of your queerness, finding out their sibling is online naked is a lot to process. They’ll have endless questions and to be honest, they always will no matter what you say. Because for them, it doesn’t make sense.

Step 4

man on the phone

Answer their questions honestly. Soon enough the questions will stop, they’ll calm down and time will distance the situation. Justify their emotions and acknowledge them as real because they are. There is nothing that can be done to rewind and erase the past like they are probably hoping for.

It’s important to remember our non-queer siblings have different ways of thinking than us. In heteronormative culture, adult entertainment is taboo and a topic rarely discussed. The fluid and easy manner in which we as gay men can talk about porn is the polar opposite of straight culture. In order for your straight allies to understand your involvement in the industry, it’ll take time and ongoing questions. Fear not, this period of confusion only lasts a day to a week, then everyone will be moved on and back to their daily routine.

Step 5

Reassurance is key once the flames have died down. Until now, they thought they knew everything about you, their sibling. Once they’re thinking clearly and can make sense of the conversation, they’ll understand that you are still the same person you’ve always been. You are their sibling who’s done nothing wrong, just something they find uncomfortable to talk about. With time, the discomfort of the situation passes and your lives continue on right where you left off.

Remember, this line of work is legal. You enjoy it. And it not only makes you money but makes you happy. You’ll be confronted with, “How selfish you were” to not think of the consequences this would have on your family and friends. What they think is their opinion and if they truly love you for you who you are, they won’t let being involved in porn change that. If they do, then the real issue lies with them, not you.

So we’ve tackled the somewhat understanding sibling(s).

Step 6

father and son

The parents. In my case, my parents are divorced so I thought it would work to my benefit. That maybe calling them separately wouldn’t be so bad, but boy did I get that mixed up. They’d already talked to each other plenty by the time I got to one of them. Quite possibly the most they’ve talked since 2004. Surprisingly, my conservative, Catholic mother was the most level headed in the matter, but I give thanks to the shock that probably tamed her. I assumed my father, being the alcohol enthusiast he is, would be a little lenient in his rage. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Whether it’s your mom or dad, you’ll never know how they’ll react to such jaw-dropping news. Unless of course, they’ve straight up told you they’d be cool with you doing porn. In that case, you’re off the hook. Congrats!

Say you’re very much on the hook. There’s bound to be a little, if not a lot of chaotic cursing, screaming, and the potential threat of not being allowed home ever again. Having fun yet?

At this point, let them scream. Treat this as a newborn baby. Let them scream as much as they want because in the end it’ll tire them out and they’ll be fast asleep. Not quite the same for adults, but you get the idea. Once their pent up anger is expelled, they’ll soon be able to have a mature conversation with you.

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In the moment when your parents are raging and screaming, do not try to argue with them. It’ll only be adding fuel to the fire. Simply acknowledge that you understand how they’re feeling and you’re sorry for causing any grief to them.

Step 7

Explaining how you never meant to hurt anyone. Express your acknowledgment of their emotions to validate them. This shows you’re actively listening and aware of your actions affect now.

This leads us to the final step.

Step 8

Reaching and maintaining a neutral level of conversation without yelling. This is where we, as an adult, take responsibility for our actions and in a mature way, explain what we did and why we did it. The real question on your family’s mind is -Why? Until you answer that, you won’t be able to progress past this conversation. When you take the time to explain your ‘why’ without saying ‘I’m right-you’re wrong’, you open up a conversation for your opposing family to see it from your point of view.

This mutual field can only be reached once the yelling and panic subside, they’ve tired themselves out, and you’ve explained your side of the situation so they understand your reasoning, so please don’t jump right into this one.

As time goes on, the moment fades, and you’ll all move on with your lives. Whether you plan to pursue the industry or quit cold turkey, that decision ultimately lies with you. You’ve battled coming out of two closets now, so it’s safe to say there’s nothing you can’t handle. You’re the judge now if you continue in this line of work and stay open with your family about your business. If so, be mature and honest. You know their true reactions and how it’ll affect them.

Whether it’s to get a jumpstart in the economy, pay off debt, or try your passion in film, remember to breathe and take it one inch at a time. Handle each situation as neutrally as possible, while also being professional, not argumentative. Our friends and family love us and want nothing but the best for us. They want us happy. They want us safe. Show them that you are exactly that. Happy in life and safely making your dreams come true. After all, you’re not a serial killer.

Noah Bernard is a registered Nurse and gay health & lifestyle coach, with a passion for nutrition and fitness. Based in Phoenix, AZ, he helps gay men find ways to stay mentally, physically, and sexually fit. For more on Noah and his work check out his site or follow him on Twitter.

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