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‘My sister outed me as gay to my homophobic dad’

‘My sister outed me as gay to my homophobic dad’

Caribbean people celebrating Toronto Pride 2009

Andrew Joseph (not his real name), 26, is originally from a small island in the Caribbean known as Trinidad and Tobago.

Growing up, he confided in his sister about his sexuality when he was 17 years old. But he never thought she’d use it against him.

When Andrew was 20, he developed a crush on a boy, but his sister wasn’t happy.

During this time, gay sex was illegal in Trindad and Tobago – punishable by life in jail. The country only overturned the colonial-era gay sex ban earlier this year.

Trinidad and Tobago celebrate the ruling
The Trinidad and Tobago gay sex decriminalization celebrations brought many to tears. | Photo: Facebook/CNC3 Television

Andrew explained what happened next.

My sister was “worried” that I was crushing for someone who she didn’t approve of,’ he said. ‘To “save” me, she outed me to my parents without telling me.

‘I found out not more than a hour later when they came to pick me up after my crush’s brilliant performance in a production of Hairspray,’ he said. 

Dad tells gay son he’ll suffer ‘a sad lonely death’

As soon as Andrew saw his dad waiting in the car for him, his dad said: ‘Get in the car, Andrew.’

What ensued was an ‘Oscar-worthy screaming scene in front of the theatre’ and in front of countless strangers.

Andrew explained: ‘Then getting into the car covered in tears only for the shaming to continue – being lectured by my father about the fatal dangers that lay ahead of me. That I was on a dark road with a sad lonely death waiting for me at the end.’

Andrew said his relationship with his dad has been strained ever since.

‘My mother has never ever brought my sexuality up again, and she never questioned why I didn’t have my “friends” stay in the guest room,’ he said. ‘Silver lining I suppose.’

Trinidad and Tobago decision to decriminalize gay sex
Trinidad and Tobago decision to decriminalize gay sex. | Photo: trinijayjay / Instagram

But his sister’s outing of Andrew’s sexuality didn’t stop there.

Andrew said: ‘She outed me in casual conversation to my brothers, to neighbors, to friends of mine, to friends of hers. And she did this over and over.

‘Then one day she really out-did herself when she outed me in a crowded bank in the midst of what started off as a minor argument.

‘She then continued to out me to all those within earshot as I stormed off shamefully towards my car in the basement car park, which seemed to be a thousand miles away,’ he said.

My sister thought outing me would ‘save me’

Whenever Andrew brought up his sister’s carelessness in outing him, she denied its seriousness.

He said: ‘She outed me, over and over and over again. And then verbally abused me time and time again when I objected to this.’

Andrew continued: ‘My sister thought outing me to my parents would save me because they’d be able to seize control of a life I was “clearly determined to fuck up.”‘

Caribbean people celebrating Pride
Photo: fax2copy / Flickr

It’s actually classified as a form of emotional abuse called coercive control.

He’s since moved to London and said this ‘sad chapter has come to an end’. He now works as a guide for a London museum.

He said: ‘I would have preferred anything else other than being outed against my will.

‘Because of the abuse I have an overwhelming sense of skepticism that invades into every aspect of my daily life,’ he said.

The Trinidad and Tobago government recently challenged the decriminalization of gay sex. But the court upheld the ruling last month.

Attitudes to homosexuality vary, but a 2010 survey found only 15.4% of the country’s population supported same-sex marriage.

 

Need help?

If you are experiencing any signs of domestic abuse, remember – you’re not alone.

Are you in the US? Contact The Anti-Violence Project hotline: 1-212-714-1141.

Are you in the UK? Contact Galop, who run the National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428

Or see our list of global support services for LGBTI people, in alphabetical order.

If you want to share your story of domestic abuse, please contact James Besanvalle or Joe Morgan.