Battleland

On Coming Out, Part 1

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For those of you who follow my Twitter feed, you may recall something I tweeted a few weeks back after coming out to my brother. In case you missed it, it went something like this: “Just outed myself to my brother. His response… ‘Did you say hobo, or homo?’ There’s nothing to do in that scenario but laugh.”

I’ve learned there are different techniques in coming out to people. Chances are it’s going to be an awkward conversation, but approaching the subject lightheartedly will usually relieve some of that awkward tension. Since both of us are somewhat self-proclaimed beer snobs, I thought having a drink or two at our aunt’s bar would lighten the atmosphere.

There is a drawback to drinking when carrying on such a delicate conversation. Lets just say my word choice was slightly less calculated than those of a sober Officer X. The result? “You know your brother’s a big old homo, right?”

Yup, my words were somewhat less than elegant, but it was short, to the point, and with little awkward build-up. The result was priceless and a good memory two brothers can look back on and laugh at years down the road.

In the conversation that ensued, he said it explained a lot, he’s not terribly surprised, and that he guesses he will stop teasing me for being such a snazzy dresser. Now that he knows, the pressure to carry on the family name lies with him (which doesn’t sound so dire if you don’t know the man, but I tell you he is almost as hopeless with the opposite sex as I am). In the long run I think being honest and not hiding from him will make us closer.

My big brother’s support means the world to me. Sometimes it’s hard to keep the strength in our relationship since neither of us live in close proximity to each other or our parents. Our phone conversations had become somewhat superficial, due to this inclination I had to still keep my guard up around him. Luckily, I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

When I first mentioned to my family I was interested in joining the military, he supported me the most. Our parents had their reservations, but he was behind me 100%. He was in the audience when I commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. He flew out to the middle of nowhere to see my graduation from pilot training and always gets excited when I send him pictures of the places I visit while on the job. I’m lucky to have a man like him as my brother.

- Officer X is a young, gay military officer who is currently serving on active duty despite the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on open service. He is a pilot and regularly flies throughout the world both in and out of combat. His views are his alone and do not reflect the opinions of the U.S. military, its branches, or any organization. Follow him on Twitter @TIMEOfficerX or email him TIMEOfficerX@gmail.com

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