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Is my brother trying to tell me something?

Begonia

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This story is so long and I'm not good with words, but here goes.

Is my brother gay and having a hard time telling me?

There are 4 of us in the family, and I'm the youngest. He's older than me by quite a few years. My Mom (now gone) and my sister have always felt that he's gay. None of us have asked, always thinking that if he is he will tell us. He's been married for years and has kids. I'm not too sure of the nature of their marriage, but they are still together.

Over the years he's made reference to homosexuality to me in stories and examples. Nothing negative, but the references seem to come out of nowhere. I respond neutrally. Today it happened again. My brother is well educated, and has always been considered gifted. He also has a history of mental illness so I've always had to be careful what I say. There are a lot of triggers with him, which is why I try to stay neutral.

Today while talking about something, he brought up why being gay has evolutionary advantages. I'd tell you his position on that but I'm not sure I fully understand it. He then went on to use the example of a family of X number of kids (same as ours) with this many boys and girls (same as ours) and why 1 of them being gay would give evolutionary advantages to the siblings. Now I don't really want to talk about his theories, as I didn't follow. My mind was too busy trying to figure out if I should flat out ask him or stay neutral, yet again.

Is it wrong to assume that if he is gay, that he should tell me, as opposed to my having to ask him?

His voice changes when he brings the topic up. He talks faster and more forcefully, perhaps because it is hard for him? Maybe I'm imagining things. There a lot of people that I would have gone there a long time ago but this brother is...fragile and explosive.
Anyway, I hope I've given enough info for some folks to give me some feedback.
 

missy

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Hi Begonia, from an outside perspective, not knowing anything but what you have shared here, I would ask him. That is, in a non threatening atmosphere and in as supportive a way as possible I would just ask him in as non threatening and as supportive an environment as possible.

Make it clear you are supportive and love him (as I know you will but just be obvious about that from the start) and just want him to be able to live free of lies for fear he will be rejected. His fragile state could definitely be exacerbated by him feeling the need to keep such a big secret from his loved ones.

To live as one is meant to live is to be able to live with some peace and contentment and I hope your brother will/is able to do that. I know he's lucky to have you as a sister and that you will provide him with the support and love he will need to get through this challenge if he is keeping this from his loved ones. (((Hugs))).
 

Polished

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I'd probably approach it in the same way he is approaching it with you. Don't make it particular to him - stick to it being a hypothetical. It's less threatening. Eg it's possible that person might be better off sharing he is gay with his family. I think the family of that person ought to be supportive etc. Whatever replies you think would suit him and this way there is no obligation to open up if he doesn't want to.
 

missy

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It might be a relief for Begonia's brother to have it just come out finally after all these years. After all he seems to be hinting more about it. Idk, secrets can be so painful and just letting it out could be cathartic.
 

momhappy

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Begonia|1458100674|4005968 said:
This story is so long and I'm not good with words, but here goes.

Is my brother gay and having a hard time telling me?

There are 4 of us in the family, and I'm the youngest. He's older than me by quite a few years. My Mom (now gone) and my sister have always felt that he's gay. None of us have asked, always thinking that if he is he will tell us. He's been married for years and has kids. I'm not too sure of the nature of their marriage, but they are still together.

Over the years he's made reference to homosexuality to me in stories and examples. Nothing negative, but the references seem to come out of nowhere. I respond neutrally. Today it happened again. My brother is well educated, and has always been considered gifted. He also has a history of mental illness so I've always had to be careful what I say. There are a lot of triggers with him, which is why I try to stay neutral.

Today while talking about something, he brought up why being gay has evolutionary advantages. I'd tell you his position on that but I'm not sure I fully understand it. He then went on to use the example of a family of X number of kids (same as ours) with this many boys and girls (same as ours) and why 1 of them being gay would give evolutionary advantages to the siblings. Now I don't really want to talk about his theories, as I didn't follow. My mind was too busy trying to figure out if I should flat out ask him or stay neutral, yet again.

Is it wrong to assume that if he is gay, that he should tell me, as opposed to my having to ask him?

His voice changes when he brings the topic up. He talks faster and more forcefully, perhaps because it is hard for him? Maybe I'm imagining things. There a lot of people that I would have gone there a long time ago but this brother is...fragile and explosive.
Anyway, I hope I've given enough info for some folks to give me some feedback.
Yes, actually, I think that it is wrong of you to assume that he should tell you. Just because you are siblings doesn't mean that you automatically have to share everything. It's his personal, private business and he will tell you when/if he's ready. I can understand why you'd be cautious around him (based on the part you posted about mental illness), so I think that if I were in your shoes, I'd keep open lines of communication, but I wouldn't push him on it until he was ready (and it sounds like you already do a good job with that).
 

tyty333

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I would also ask in a kind and supportive way..."Are you gay...you know I'm ok with it if you are. I love you no matter what" etc.
He may be trying to make sure that you are ready to hear and accept it. I have 2 brothers and neither of them have said
anything to me about this subject...I guess that doesnt really mean anything. It will be helpful to hear Kenny's opinion on this.
I don't know how to sound supportive without make it sound like it's something that might not be ok.

Could he possibly think that you are gay (none of my business)? Maybe it's his way of getting you to speak up?
 

marymm

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momhappy|1458129986|4006050 said:
Yes, actually, I think that it is wrong of you to assume that he should tell you. Just because you are siblings doesn't mean that you automatically have to share everything. It's his personal, private business and he will tell you when/if he's ready. I can understand why you'd be cautious around him (based on the part you posted about mental illness), so I think that if I were in your shoes, I'd keep open lines of communication, but I wouldn't push him on it until he was ready (and it sounds like you already do a good job with that).
I agree 100% with momhappy. I would not pose a direct question to him on the matter. However, if it were me, next time your brother raises the topic of homosexuality, during that conversation I would make it clear I am open and accepting to learning a loved one is homosexual (though I'd probably use the term "LBGT").

[OP - It is unclear from your post whether in fact you would be open and accepting to learn your brother is homosexual... if you would not be open and accepting, then of course do not use my script]
 

CJ2008

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Begonia,

I think he'll tell you if he wants to tell you and share it with you...

But you could put things out there that may make it clear to him that he COULD tell you because you'd accept it if he did...and so make it more inviting/more comfortable for him to open up if that's what he's been wanting to do.

"I think gay people should have the same rights as straight people"
"I think gay people can be just as productive/valuable members of society as straight people"

Things that you mean of course - but I'd find ways to say those things so he knows where you stand in case he's been thinking of sharing but has been unsure in any way how it would be received.
 

Cherokee1979

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momhappy|1458129986|4006050 said:
Begonia|1458100674|4005968 said:
This story is so long and I'm not good with words, but here goes.

Is my brother gay and having a hard time telling me?

There are 4 of us in the family, and I'm the youngest. He's older than me by quite a few years. My Mom (now gone) and my sister have always felt that he's gay. None of us have asked, always thinking that if he is he will tell us. He's been married for years and has kids. I'm not too sure of the nature of their marriage, but they are still together.

Over the years he's made reference to homosexuality to me in stories and examples. Nothing negative, but the references seem to come out of nowhere. I respond neutrally. Today it happened again. My brother is well educated, and has always been considered gifted. He also has a history of mental illness so I've always had to be careful what I say. There are a lot of triggers with him, which is why I try to stay neutral.

Today while talking about something, he brought up why being gay has evolutionary advantages. I'd tell you his position on that but I'm not sure I fully understand it. He then went on to use the example of a family of X number of kids (same as ours) with this many boys and girls (same as ours) and why 1 of them being gay would give evolutionary advantages to the siblings. Now I don't really want to talk about his theories, as I didn't follow. My mind was too busy trying to figure out if I should flat out ask him or stay neutral, yet again.

Is it wrong to assume that if he is gay, that he should tell me, as opposed to my having to ask him?

His voice changes when he brings the topic up. He talks faster and more forcefully, perhaps because it is hard for him? Maybe I'm imagining things. There a lot of people that I would have gone there a long time ago but this brother is...fragile and explosive.
Anyway, I hope I've given enough info for some folks to give me some feedback.
Yes, actually, I think that it is wrong of you to assume that he should tell you. Just because you are siblings doesn't mean that you automatically have to share everything. It's his personal, private business and he will tell you when/if he's ready. I can understand why you'd be cautious around him (based on the part you posted about mental illness), so I think that if I were in your shoes, I'd keep open lines of communication, but I wouldn't push him on it until he was ready (and it sounds like you already do a good job with that).
I totally agree with the above and have potentially some additional insight as a male, heterosexual. Though I am not gay, I find virtually all matters concerning human sexuality (and even animal sexuality and "sexual selection" a la Darwin) to be incredibly fascinating. I am somewhat of an intellectual (humbly), and like to express my opinions on myriad topics, particularly sexuality, without much thought, particularly in front of those with whom I feel comfortable (especially my girlfriend). In fact, I just recently expressed to her my pondering whether there might be some evolutionary mechanism, particularly in light of growing overpopulation and depletion of natural resources, involved in their being such a disproportionately high (compared to any other species, that is) percentage percentage of gay humans. I fully believe that for most gay people, it is indeed not a learned behavior, but inborn into them, just as much as heterosexuality is into me. I expressed this without really even being on the topic of human sexuality. I also have several gay friends, and am incredibly comfortable with gay men (as I enjoy MANY traditionally "non-masculine" pursuits such as interior decorating, jewelry, Downton and "chic lit", antiques, etc.). More than one woman has told me after entering into an intimate relationship with me, that they suspected I might be gay, including the mother of my child, when we were initially dating.

With all of this in mind, I think that for you to make such an assumption with your brother, who has presumably had sexual relations with a woman on many hundreds of occasions, would be highly misplaced. I am not criticizing or judging though. However, I do believe that to do so with someone who has not elicited your opinion, and who has a short fuse, would be a very bad idea. I've had people bring this up to me, as mentioned, but I find it hilarious and actually very much embrace and love my quirkiness I loathe "normal". Just my two cents.
 

Begonia

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First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I appreciate all of your feedback immensely!

Missy, dear girl, it's been too long.

Yes, I am completely open to his orientation. When I wrote that I stay neutral, that's not true now that I think about it. I try to be positive about being gay but haven't outright asked (hence the neutral comment). Often he seems almost homophobic about his comments but then goes on to hint that he is. Yesterday I talked about how we grew up in a different time when people didn't come out, so sometimes it's a bit of an adjustment for me. My heart is open but it's not second nature for me at times. I had a big discussion with my kids ( I told him this story) about how being around openly gay people is second nature to them and no big deal. It's interesting to see how just a couple of generations can move things along. I'm not great with words but in my mind and my heart, it's all good. And I told him so.

It's almost like he's stuck in another time when there wasn't acceptance. I hate to be so naive, but what's with the homophobic comments? What are the reasons for homophobia anyway? I may be from another generation but I don't get homophobia in general.
Is it fear?

Funny about wondering about me. I have super short hair and am kind of androgynous. People daily assume I am gay, but I'm not. It's just the outside stuff. Jeez, after menopause I sometimes wonder what I am. I think my last hormone died :lol:
 

Sky56

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I wouldn't ask him if he is gay because you say he is fragile and explosive. It all has to do with the particular person; if he was someone else with different traits, the question might be OK.
 

Begonia

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I appreciate all of the feedback I'm getting here.

Cherokee, your post came in after I'd posted so I've just read it. A lot of what you wrote resonated with me. Many of the males in my family are either 'men's men' (meaning traditional definition of masculinity) or like yourself, and have more varied hobbies and interests. Many of the males in my family are very nurturant as well and have made excellent parents because they have a fine balance of feminine and masculine traits. That's as defined by our culture and generation, not by me. As such, I don't jump to conclusions about sexual orientation. Heck, I'm mistaken for being gay almost daily and yet am comfortable in my sexuality. You just can't assume things based on what you think you see. I get that.

Whether he is gay (or bisexual) doesn't need to be answered by me. He's my big brother and I love him. The fact that he can be a real shit sometimes is more of a concern than his sexuality :lol:

I was wondering if he is trying to tell me and possibly frustrated that I wasn't 'getting it'. That's all.
 

rainwood

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Begonia

I'd approach this very, very delicately. Coming out is hard even in these more accepting times, and coming out if you're married and have kids is even harder because it could mean breaking up the family. And that's if other people in the family are generally accepting of gay people, which may not be true. So don't underestimate how hard this would be for your brother.

I also appreciate the notion that you should wait for him to tell you. That's the approach we took with my BIL for years until finally one evening when he and I were out and had way too many drinks, I just flat out asked and he said yes. It was hard for him because it was in much less accepting times on a variety of levels (the 80's, religious family, religious profession). He was relieved that someone had finally asked because he was so afraid of what people would think. His brother and I both gave him our unconditional support, and he eventually told his mom who was far less supportive but eventually came around somewhat grudgingly (it took decades).

On the other hand, my husband also had a cousin who was married with kids, and over the years, I eventually came to believe he was gay. But I didn't think it was my place to ask, and even after he got sick and I was pretty sure he was HIV positive, no one in the family ever said anything. And when he died of AIDS, nobody said anything then either. Denial ran very, very strong and I had to respect that the family needed to handle it in their own way.

If you decide you want to raise it, I'd suggest you come at it indirectly. If he starts another of those conversations, say "I get the feeling you're trying to tell me something. Am I right?" Then let him decide how to answer. And if he doesn't tell you, let it go. The time isn't right for him.
 

Cherokee1979

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Begonia|1458152330|4006197 said:
I appreciate all of the feedback I'm getting here.

Cherokee, your post came in after I'd posted so I've just read it. A lot of what you wrote resonated with me. Many of the males in my family are either 'men's men' (meaning traditional definition of masculinity) or like yourself, and have more varied hobbies and interests. Many of the males in my family are very nurturant as well and have made excellent parents because they have a fine balance of feminine and masculine traits. That's as defined by our culture and generation, not by me. As such, I don't jump to conclusions about sexual orientation. Heck, I'm mistaken for being gay almost daily and yet am comfortable in my sexuality. You just can't assume things based on what you think you see. I get that.

Whether he is gay (or bisexual) doesn't need to be answered by me. He's my big brother and I love him. The fact that he can be a real shit sometimes is more of a concern than his sexuality :lol:

I was wondering if he is trying to tell me and possibly frustrated that I wasn't 'getting it'. That's all.
I'm glad some of what I wrote resonated with you Begonia. :) I could totally understand from your initial post that you loved your brother and don't give a care as to his sexuality. And it is surely difficult to answer your question without having heard the tone of his voice and other subtelties in your conversation. I was just expressing my own personal experience, as I had recently just spoken on a topic seemingly most similar to the one raised by your brother.

As somewhat of an aside, I also recently expressed to my girlfriend that I find it odd as to how I, as a straight male, usually have a quite accurate guess as to when a male might be interested in me or gay, but I haven't ever had the foggiest "radar" when it comes to women, which certainly never helped this painfully single man! Maybe because females are more subtle, or just that they're not that into me. :wink2:
 

Lady_Disdain

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On the flip side.

Are you sure you don't have an observation bias? Because you already think he is gay, every time he mentions anything about homosexuality, it pings your radar. However, when he makes similar comments about other subjects, it doesn't really register. This is very normal all of us.
 

Begonia

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Lady Disdain - yes, I've asked myself the same thing. That's entirely possible. I think that also has a lot to do with my never having said anything to him when it comes up. Don't believe everything you think is something I remind myself often.

With my brother, there is just so much going on with him intellectually that it's hard to keep up. People who are related to gifted/high IQ/geniuses will probably understand. It's like the flight of the bumble bee...

Be careful for wishing that you had been born gifted. All too often it has a dark side from my experience. My dad was gifted too and lived a life of mental illness before committing suicide. Just saying.
 

missy

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Begonia|1458177069|4006458 said:
Lady Disdain - yes, I've asked myself the same thing. That's entirely possible. I think that also has a lot to do with my never having said anything to him when it comes up. Don't believe everything you think is something I remind myself often.

With my brother, there is just so much going on with him intellectually that it's hard to keep up. People who are related to gifted/high IQ/geniuses will probably understand. It's like the flight of the bumble bee...

Be careful for wishing that you had been born gifted. All too often it has a dark side from my experience. My dad was gifted too and lived a life of mental illness before committing suicide. Just saying.
Begonia, I couldn't agree more with what you have written. I have said this in the past and I feel the same way still. Being a genius (artistic, intellectual etc) is a heavy weight to bear and yes it often ruins the life of those born a genius. I am so sorry about your dad.

I also know that your brother is a fortunate man to have you in his life and no matter what you decide to do he knows he has your love and support and that's the main thing. Wishing the best for you and your family and sending more hugs your way.
 

Begonia

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Thanks Missy :))

And again, thanks everyone. You've been very helpful. Such a lot of wisdom here.
 

AGBF

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Hi, Begonia-

I know I am late to the thread, but I wasn't at all sure what i really thought was right. I just read the thread again. Today it had not only your query, but many thoughtful responses from forum members. It is so interesting-at least to me- when I see one poster pose a question of this nature and then see everyone else thinking of all its different aspects. As always, I thought every poster had something good to offer to the discussion. And I am still not sure which approach would be the best. (I failed to realize that my great-nephew, to whom I am very close, is gay!)

However, the response by Polished is probably closest to the approach I would take in your place. It was closest to the one that first crossed my mind when i read about your situation. Polished wrote:

Polished|1458128782|4006040 said:
I'd probably approach it in the same way he is approaching it with you. Don't make it particular to him - stick to it being a hypothetical. It's less threatening. Eg it's possible that person might be better off sharing he is gay with his family. I think the family of that person ought to be supportive etc. Whatever replies you think would suit him and this way there is no obligation to open up if he doesn't want to.
The reason I had automatically thought the same way Polished did was that is how one handles an issue when one has a child in play therapy.

You had said that your brother could be volatile and that he didn't want to discuss the topic in a straightforward way. Children do not want to discuss their problems in a straightforward way, either, much of the time. It is far too threatening. But, if one is a child therapist, as one plays with the child one can say that, "a lot of little boys" or "a lot of little girls" get angry with their mommies and daddies if such and such happens. When the therapist treats the child's situation as hypothetical, it is less threatening.

So that's my 2 cents. Good luck!

Deb :wavey:
 

december-fire

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I agree with AGBF (Deb), that a hypothetical approach is the best if your brother should raise the subject in the future.

I like to deal with most issues in a direct manner, however, a sibling's sexuality is no one's business. I can't imagine ever asking a person about personal matters such as their sexuality, salary, state of their marriage, etc. If a person wants to reveal such details, it should only be if they initiate the discussion. In my opinion, of course.

IF your brother is gay, the fact that he's married and has children would make the situation rather complex.

If he is gay and reveals that to you, wouldn't a natural question be 'now what?'.

Does his wife know, will he tell her, divorce her, tell the children?

I'd keep quiet, but make theoretical comments if appropriate, should he mention homosexuality in the future.
 

Begonia

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Thanks for the additional feedback!

With this individual, I think hypothetical is the way to go. That covers all my bases really: if he is, or isn't, and his fragile emotional state.
 
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