Surf It: Now That They Know

The process of coming out can be traumatic--especially for the straight folks involved. While there's already plenty of sites devoted to the queer side of the closet door, there's also a new breed of sites popping up in Internet nooks these day: sites that answer questions and quell fears about queers, as well as provide support for those on the receiving end of the
coming-out news.

Heteros might learn a thing or two at the site "Homosexuality: Common Questions & Statements Addressed" ( 1348/), a plain-English compendium of Homo 101. Here you'll find answers to common questions (What causes homosexuality? Can it be cured? Doesn't the Bible condemn it? Are homosexuals miserable, lonely people?) and some interesting points to ponder (If the purpose of the Defense of Marriage Act is to protect the sanctity of marriage, why not outlaw divorce?). Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays are on the Web at www.pflag. org, providing coverage of recent events (for example, the Religious Right's recent ad campaign) and membership information. A remarkable service is provided by Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere, a.k.a. COLAGE (www., where kids can join the organization, get on mailing lists or simply learn more about what it means to be the son or daughter of a GLBT person. They can even start their own chapter. The Straight Spouse Network ( ~ssn/index.html) offers support for "heterosexual women and men, formerly or currently partnered with gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered mates."

But it's the home pages of real people that seem to offer the most compelling stories when you're coming to terms with someone's newly announced queerness. Some sites ( Horsemom2/CB.html, and www.angelfire. com/co/lesmom/index.html) contain the tales of mothers as they discuss the coming out of their son and daughter, respectively. And "Get Out!" (members.theglobe. com/kendal%5fnyc/welcome.html) relates real and often heart-wrenching coming-out stories (readers are invited to submit their own). The COLAGE site offers links to home pages of kids like Sol (, who lives in Wisconsin with her lesbian moms, or Matt and Sean (, who live in Colorado with their gay dads. It's these sites which show that love, in its myriad forms, is ultimately what makes a family. If you're thinking of coming out to someone, you could do worse than introduce them to people who've been there and done that.

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