to have mentioned in conv that BIL is gay

(111 Posts)
MordecaiMargaret Sun 31-Mar-13 12:32:33

DH and I were over at new neighbour's house last night having a few glasses of wine.
We were talking about how our dc won't have as many cousins as we had. I have one sister and my H has one brother.
I said 'yeah, it doesn't look like ds will have any cousins because my sis doesn't want kids and H's bro is gay and doesn't want them either' and went on with the conversation . BIL has been out since he was 18, he's 40 now, it's not a secret at all.
When we came home my H said 'You outing my brother like that, wow'
He said it's not a secret but it's not for you to go talking about my family to anyone, I didn't think it was an issue to be kept hidden, it certainly isn't to BIL and I don't think he'd be annoyed at me for mentioning it.
My H and BIL aren't that close, BIL lives in another country and in fact, BIL and I speak more often, get on better than he and H does.
So as not to dripfeed, their mom didn't take the fact he was gay very well and even now won't tell a lot of her friends, his partner is Bil's 'housemate'

Anyway, wibu to have mentioned it, maybe I was being careless and should have thought before I spoke?

H is really, really pissed off with me, sulking & not talking, ignoring me.

N0tinmylife Sun 31-Mar-13 12:34:43

How odd. Is your DH ashamed of the fact his brother is gay? I can't see why he is reacting like this otherwise.

EostreChaoticResurrEggtion Sun 31-Mar-13 12:35:17

It sounds to me as if your H is ashamed of his brother being gay.

CandlestickOlder Sun 31-Mar-13 12:35:53

Is your H homophobic?

motherinferior Sun 31-Mar-13 12:36:31

Your DH and MIL are being ridiculously uptight. They do know your BIL can marry his 'housemate', right?

oldraver Sun 31-Mar-13 12:36:37

Has your DH shown any issue with this in the past as it sounds more like he is bothered for himself than your BIL ?

HoHoHoNoYouDont Sun 31-Mar-13 12:37:12

YABU because you could have just said BIL doesn't want kids. Whether he is gay or not has no bearing on that choice.

Your DH IBU for his 'outing' comment. Fair enough it's not your business to share but the whole 'outing' comment makes me think shame is attached to the comment somewhere.

Latara Sun 31-Mar-13 12:37:45

YANBU as long as your BIL wouldn't mind you discussing his sexuality with other people.

ThreeWheelsGood Sun 31-Mar-13 12:38:35

Yanbu by the way, totally fine to have mentioned it in that context like you did. Especially as he is out. Not sure what your DH took issue with, is he imagining BIL wanted to tell your neighbours himself?!

blueballoon79 Sun 31-Mar-13 12:38:46

I'd just ask your husband why it's a problem for people to know his brother is gay. Is he ashamed?

MusicalEndorphins Sun 31-Mar-13 12:40:48

I guess you could have just said your bil didn't want any children, without mentioning his sexual orientation?
It sounds like you just spoke a bit carelessly, but no harm has been done. Maybe apologuise and promise to not give out personal information about his family. I think he is over reacting.

toomuch2young Sun 31-Mar-13 12:42:17

Yanbu as long as bil wouldn't mind, sounds like he wouldn't and why would he?
However lots of gay people do have children so being gay isn't especially relevant to that conversation.
Your H sounds like he may have an issue with his bro being gay, or he may just be protecting his privacy, hard to say really.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 31-Mar-13 12:42:50

Well, it doesn't matter in that it is nothing to be ashamed of and he is acting like you have disclosed some Terrible Secret, which makes him a bit of an arse, tbh, but why was it necessary information? You simply said that your sister didn't want children. You didn't insert her sexuality. Whereas although the reason your brother won't have children is also that he doesn't want them, you inserted his sexuality.

I don't understand why you did that. It made sexuality something where it wasn't the point at all. "Neither my sister nor my husband's brother want children." was surely all that was needed.

pinkyredrose Sun 31-Mar-13 12:43:05

Your DH is being ridiculous, ignoriong you ffs! If you'd said BIL was a murderer he may have had reason to be upset.

There was no real need to mention that BIL is gay in the same way that you wouldn't have told anyone that he was heterosexual but at the same time what's the problem with people knowing he's gay?!

mmmuffins Sun 31-Mar-13 12:43:20

YANBU. Your BIL is out. His being gay should not be a dirty little secret that cannot pass anyone's lips.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 31-Mar-13 12:43:21

brother in law, I meant.

WileyRoadRunner Sun 31-Mar-13 12:44:34

My brother is gay. It is not something I would mention to people, just as I wouldn't mention that my BIL is straight.

I would be annoyed if my DH went around telling people.

I am not ashamed of my brother, I absolutely adore him. But him being gay is inconsequential to me, it is not something worthy of any more discussion than somebody being heterosexual.

mmmuffins Sun 31-Mar-13 12:45:51

I do think the mentioning he is gay is slightly relevant, because it means there will never be accidental children, in the way that their could be in the sister's heterosexual marriage.

mmmuffins Sun 31-Mar-13 12:46:41


MordecaiMargaret Sun 31-Mar-13 12:47:40

Hmmm, I don't think he's homophobic, but I do think it's an issue for him.

He's told me before that he didn't care BIL was gay but when he came out (H was 13) he was annoyed, felt he lost out on older brother he could talk to about girls etc. This was the 80's in USA and H said there was a lot about AIDS in the media etc and he didn't know what to think. Their parents had divorced and while the Dad was supportive, mother was not, although in regular contact now.

Do you think I overstepped the mark mentioning it? He's adamant I did. 'Why do you think it's your place to give away details about MY family?'

H is 8 years older than I, I have a lot of gay friends and don't think twice about it,unless of course they wanted me to keep it a secret - then I wouldn't say a thing, but BIL is out for ages and I've never been told to keep it quiet till now.

I honestly don't know

moonabove Sun 31-Mar-13 12:50:24

I think you were a bit insensitive just to throw it into conversation with relative strangers so I can see your dh point.

Why did you feel the need to mention that he is gay when you didn't feel the need to mention your sisters sexuality?

motherinferior Sun 31-Mar-13 12:54:26

It's this attitude to 'privacy' and 'sensitive personal information' that means being gay is still being treated like a slightly embarrassing secret even among people who say they have no problem with it.

My sister is an out lesbian parent and I mention that quite a lot, as it happens.

NomNomDePlum Sun 31-Mar-13 12:55:22

your dh is being unreasonable. if his brother is out, it's not a secret, and his (your dh's) trying to be 'private' about it is offensive.

your bil probably doesn't have children because he doesn't want them, though. being gay hasn't got much to do with it.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 31-Mar-13 12:55:43

My husband can be a bit like that. He operates on a need to know basis. he's a bit weird. grin

His two questions (to himself) are always
Does the person I am talking to need this information?
Do I have the right to disclose this information? (eg is it my information)

In this case, your husband would answer no to those two questions. No, the person did not need to know the sexuality of someone being talked about. and No, it was not your information to disclose. Someone else's sexuality, whatever it may be, is their information, not your husband's and not yours.

If it was relevant to the conversation, and you know your brother in law has no problem with it, then that's different.

But unless you were going to say well, my sister is straight and she doesn't have any plans to have children but she might have a contraceptive failure at some point in the future, or they might change their minds and my brother in law is gay so he can't physically have children with his partner and they don't really want children either but they might change their minds in the future...

grin which would be ridiculous, wouldn't it?

Then really and truly all that was needed in the context of the conversation you were having with near strangers was "Neither my sister nor my husband's brother want children."

N0tinmylife Sun 31-Mar-13 12:56:05

I do think being gay is relevant to him being less likely to have children. It is always going to be harder for a gay couple to have children, and therefore probably less likely. Its not as if they can just ditch the contraception and let nature take its course, and there will certainly never be an accidental pregnancy, which must account for a reasonable proportion of babies born to heterosexual couples. It was therefore directly relevant to the conversation, and a perfectly reasonable thing to say.

BruthasTortoise Sun 31-Mar-13 12:56:51

I think in the context of the conversation there was no need to mention BIL is gay just has you didn't mention your sister is straight. I don't think the fact he is gay was relevant to the conversation. However I don't believe your DH is objecting on the grounds of relevance, he is objecting because he sees his brother's sexuality as a dirty secret and for that reason alone he is definitely being unreasonable.

lysteddy Sun 31-Mar-13 12:57:12

I think yanbu but maybe because you said bil is gay and doesnt want children and you didnt say my sis is straight and doesnt want children thats why your H feels you sort of 'outed' his brother.

MordecaiMargaret Sun 31-Mar-13 12:57:19

Thanks for the perspective WileyRoadRunner, good to hear your side.

I think I was being careless, I had been talking about my sis earlier and how she didn't want kids and was really focused on her career and had decided she just wasn't a person who wanted to be a mother and I kind of was giving the reason BIL didn't want kids either. He's said he doesn't want to put he & his partner through the adoption process.

I realise now I didn't need to tell them he was gay but i thought it was relevant to the conversation and I didn't really think about it.

I rarely mention it at all, first time ever actually, not like I think of him as my gay BIL just my BIL who happens to be gay and something I thought was relevant came up.

motherinferior Sun 31-Mar-13 12:59:39

Actually in context you were being even more reasonable. Your DH really needs to stop being so closety about his out brother.

thezebrawearspurple Sun 31-Mar-13 12:59:52

Your husband is entitled to share only family information that he wants to with strangers (which is effectively what new neighbours are). I have friends who would be offended if I made a comment that revealed more about one of their family members than they wanted that person to know and I would be offended if someone mentioned similarly personal things about mine.

Just because your open about something doesn't mean you want other people broadcasting your business to strangers! I don't blame your husband for being annoyed. You also need to learn the difference between a secret and personal information. Job, income, relationship status, sexual orientation, weight, phone number etc are all personal information, it's perfectly acceptable for those who know us to know these things, it is not ok for others to share these details to the entire planet. Not gossiping about people is not 'keeping a shameful secret', it is basic manners and respect for others. Have some respect for your husbands (and bils) privacy.

lljkk Sun 31-Mar-13 13:00:22

Your DH is way over-reacting.

fertilityFTW Sun 31-Mar-13 13:00:39

Confused as to why it's assumed BIL does not want/will not have children. Many gay couples do.
So if you happen to know (through your friendship with BIL) that he doesn't want children, that does not necessarily relate to his sexual inclination I would think.

motherinferior Sun 31-Mar-13 13:02:59

BIL is OUT. He has a partner. Everyone in his life presumably knows he is gay. It is not 'private' info. It is perfectly normal info about a perfectly normal adult.

MordecaiMargaret Sun 31-Mar-13 13:04:40

Ok, I take your point zebrawearspurple but I wasn't gossiping.

Thank you all, I think I was thoughtless sharing something about my husband's family that he's sensitive about,
Because my BIL is very open about it to whomever we meet I assumed it was ok that I was too.

KobayashiMaru Sun 31-Mar-13 13:04:48

treating it as a personal secret is closetism.

BruthasTortoise Sun 31-Mar-13 13:04:49

If the conversation had been about extended family and you had mentioned your BIL's partner by name, clearly "outing" your BIL as having a male partner, do you think your DH would've been equally upset?

pinkyredrose Sun 31-Mar-13 13:05:52

Confused as to why it's assumed BIL does not want/will not have children

It isn't compulsary you know!

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sun 31-Mar-13 13:07:03

I think it was not your place to talk about your sister, actually. People always feel the need to comment on other people's business and why they do or don't want children. It just sounds horribly gossipy.

ChippingInIsEggceptional Sun 31-Mar-13 13:07:23

Mountain out of a molehill. Tell him to grow up and to have a look at why he's acting like a child about this.

...and no, YWNBU to have mentioned it. Your BIL is out whether his mother or his brother approve or not, so you can't 'out him' FGS.

It wasn't strictly necessary within the context of the situation, you could have said neither my sister or DH's brother want children etc BUT we all give 'filler' information in conversations. You might equally have said (if it were true) that 'My sisters DH has two children from a previous marriage and doesn't want anymore either'... yes, strictly not necessary to the conversation - but hell, if we all stuck to what was 'strictly necessary' in a conversation MN would be bereft of threads grin

diddl Sun 31-Mar-13 13:08:15

I don't think BIL being gay is relevant if he, like your sister actually doesn't want children.

I think your husband is being silly by sulking, but by & large I think he does have a point about just disclosing stuff to people you don't really know.

WinkyWinkola Sun 31-Mar-13 13:09:09

Would your bil have minded the neighbour knowing? If not then yanbu.

I'm sure the neighbour hasn't thought twice about it.

Your dh is being a pita over nothing.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 31-Mar-13 13:09:12

Your husband has nothing to be sensitive about and I wonder if he is homophobic and in some way ashamed of his brother. angry

However, I don't understand (and I am moving on to talking generally now. It is a general observation) why it seems to be that sexuality - if you are not hetrosexual - appears to need to be said whereas hetrosexuality never needs to be mentions. Straight - don't say anything, but gay - mention it. Why is that? My sister doesn't want kids. My brother in law is gay and doesn't want kids. Why not just my brother in law doesn't want kids? Why not my sister is straight and doesn't want kids?

StuntGirl Sun 31-Mar-13 13:10:30

Your husband is being ridiculous. Outing his brother? Did you point out he's been 'out' since the 80s?

I can see that his sexuality wasn'y directly relevant to the conversation, although I can also see why you did mention it, but I'm curious what conversation would have been Allowed to mention it. If they asked if he was married or seeing anyone are you allowed to 'out' him then or do you have to lie? How ridiculous.

It very much sounds like your husband is ashamed of his brother.

MordecaiMargaret Sun 31-Mar-13 13:11:18

Sorry to be unclear in original post.

I didn't mean BIL won't have kids because he's gay,

I said 'bil prob won't have kids because he's gay and he and his partner don't want to go through the adoption process'

Neighbours are new neighbours yes but not strangers, known them about 4 months and often in each others houses.

I will apologise to H later for being thoughtless. He has left to go out for the day presumably as he hasn't spoken to me since.

WileyRoadRunner Sun 31-Mar-13 13:13:40

treating it as a personal secret is closetism.

This ^ attitude really annoys me.

Personally, that is not the reason I don't announce my brother is gay, I talk about him and his partner. I don't treat it as a personal secret but I wouldn't disclose it to a new neighbour.

Perhaps it is because it isn't a big deal to me that I don't discuss it. It is just a tiny part of what my brother is about. There are so many other things that define him. Him being gay is low down on my list of thins i would describe him as. that doesnt mean I am trying to keep him in the closet!

OP YANBU as such but I say that my brother and his partner do not want children. Because that is the truth. Whether the fact he is gay is why he doesn't want children I don't. I can understand why your husband may have thought it inappropriate to divulge the why and wherefores of somebody being unlikely to have children but that may be down to the fact that he is just a more guarded person as opposed to any sense of embarrassment.

motherinferior Sun 31-Mar-13 13:13:49

I wouldn't apologise.

Actually I don't even think you should have mentioned your sister doesn't want kids either. Her choice and your BILs choice not to have children is nothing to do with your neighbours at all. In your shoes I would have just said they don't have children and left it at that. I would be pretty pissed off if my brother was gossiping about my future intentions with people who are strangers to me. It could well come back and bite you on the backside as gossip so often does.

MordecaiMargaret Sun 31-Mar-13 13:24:43

Wiley, thanks again for your perspective, honestly, to me, Bil's sexuality is just a tiny part of him too.

This really is the first time I've mentioned it like this to anyone who didn't know in the 10 years H and I have been together.

BIL lives in US so if we talk about them it's 'bil and partner' and its never a big thing.

Tbh, I shouldn't have said anything about my sis or my Bil's reason for not wanting kids. I just didn't think twice because they'd both say it to anyone.

I don't think he'd mind me saying it, he's very open and often tells me never to let ds think being gay should be hidden.

I will apologise to H for being thoughtless but not for letting someone know his bro is gay

MordecaiMargaret Sun 31-Mar-13 13:26:17

It wasn't gossiping

WeAreEternal Sun 31-Mar-13 13:26:38

My brother and my best friend are both gay.

In general life their sexuality it completely irrelevant. I don't converse about it unless it is relevant to a conversation, and in your case it was.
Your BIL isn't ashamed so you have no reason to hide it, but it sounds like your DH has some personal issues with his brothers sexuality, probably caused by his mother.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 31-Mar-13 13:30:03

Can I ask - in all seriousness and not being arsy, but just because I don't understand the reasoning and I want to.

Why it was relevant for the bil but not for the sister?

Why the reason needed to be or reasonable to be or understandable to be given for him, but just 'she doesn't want kids' was enough for the sister?

Why not he doesn't want kids. She doesn't want kids.
he doesn't want kids because...
she doesn't want kids because...

Again, not trying to fight, it's just that I don't understand. It is clear that for many people there is a reason to give information for one that it would not be considered necessary to give for the other, but I don't get why that is.

WileyRoadRunner Sun 31-Mar-13 13:30:53

Yes, perhaps your DH was just caught off guard by the turn in conversation and just felt uncomfortable about the intimate details being divulged as opposed to being ashamed about his brother's sexuality.

I think it is a difficult thing. My dad is sometimes obviously uncomfortable with my brother's sexuality. It doesn't mean he is homophobic or even that he is ashamed/embarrassed by it. He loves my brother to bits too.

Perhaps it's more that you need to be aware that your DH is uncomfortable with having that conversation outside of his immediate family/friendship group. Doesn't mean it has to be a secret bit perhaps just that some sensitivity should be employed!

moonabove Sun 31-Mar-13 13:31:28

Ah well if you've never mentioned it in that way before then you must have caught your H unexpectedly and hit a nerve that perhaps even he didn't realise was still there?

I think it's wrong of him to punish you by not speaking though.

MordecaiMargaret Sun 31-Mar-13 13:43:47

Hecsy, I didn't put in original post but mentioned up thread that I did give reasons about my sis too.

I actually do realise now I shouldn't have been giving personal info about either of them.

I said ds prob won't have cousins because sis has said she'd rather have her work and doesn't see herself ever being a mom and BIL is gay and doesn't want to go through the adoption process.

I thought it relevant, nobody batted an eyelid and we moved on.

I think you're right Wiley, while BIL is fine with everyone knowing, H considers it personal information and I shouldn't have spoken so carelessly about his or my sis' situation

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 31-Mar-13 13:46:59

ah, missed that. ta. Just too much information generally then? grin

I live with someone for whom even your choice of cereal is a closely guarded secret wink so the idea of someone not wanting to disclose unnecessary information about a third party doesn't seem unusual to me.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Sun 31-Mar-13 14:41:46

I think something you said in passing has been used by your DH as a stick to beat you with as he's uncomfortable with his brother's sexuality. In the context that you describe, you were with neighbours/friends, having a general chit chat, saying that his brother was gay was neither here nor there to me. It's like he's picked up that tiny bit of the conversation and is now using it to have a go at you. The sulking would worry me - what kind of man sulks because his wife said something he wasn't comfortable with (though had never indicated she couldn't talk about this issue before)?

A relative of mine is gay and if it came up somehow, it wouldn't be an issue to mention it. Equally, it wouldn't be an issue not to mention it IYSWIM.

You mentioned America earlier. Is your DH American? From what I have seen living here (and this is only my experience), people can be more closed minded about homosexuality, particularly if they're quite religious - could this be a factor at all?

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 31-Mar-13 15:10:37

From Homophobe to controlling bastard in three pages.

Absolutely brilliant

Bue Sun 31-Mar-13 15:46:55

I'm surprised that some people really can't see (or refuse to see) how being a gay man is relevant to not having children. I know many gay men. Of all the ones who have been out since a young age (ie not in a relationship with a woman/married previously) not a single one has a child. Yes having children is possible but it is very, very rare. OTOH many of the lesbians I know have children, even the ones who have been out since a young age.

FWIW DH's brother is gay too and won't ever have children, it just isn't for him. I would have mentioned it in the same context as the OP and I don't think DH would have a problem with that.

WMittens Sun 31-Mar-13 16:26:08

I don't think your husband is ashamed that his brother is gay as has been suggested; however, he may be jealous that you and his brother get on better than he and his brother.

complexnumber Sun 31-Mar-13 16:32:37

Personally I think you are way out of order to be discussing someone's sexuality behind their back.

The fact that he may be out is irrelevant, it's not for you to throw it around.

His brother may have a lot of very personal reasons why he does not want this to be a topic of discussion round a dinner table, it certainly does not imply he is ashamed or homophobic.


pinkyredrose Sun 31-Mar-13 16:35:43

Personally I think you are way out of order to be discussing someone's sexuality behind their back.

Oh for Gods sake. It's not like she was discussing his criminal record or medical history. Why is it way out of order to mention that someone is gay? confused

Its out of order to discuss whether people want children or not and their reasons behind that choice though. Surely that isn't information for the general public to sit and chat about?

complexnumber Sun 31-Mar-13 16:38:41

Maybe... just maybe he might consider that to be his business to discuss.

mummytime Sun 31-Mar-13 16:40:42

I agree, there is nothing wrong with mentioning someone is gay, anymore that asking about someone getting married or having a baby (so presumably straight).

scottishtablet Sun 31-Mar-13 16:43:57

I can understand why he is pissed off.

ChippingInIsEggceptional Sun 31-Mar-13 16:49:03

For the love of god. Why don't we just rule out conversation all together - that would make life easier wouldn't it hmm Some of these comments are just fucking ridiculous.

Mordecai - there is NO reason whatsoever for you to apologise to your DH. He is being an utter knob and should be grovelling to YOU when he comes home. YOU did nothing wrong, he on the other hand has acted like a complete and utter twat.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 31-Mar-13 16:57:35

In the context of the conversation I fail to see the problem. DSis doesnt want children so I would assume is in charge of that decision for herself. DBiL is gay and doesnt want children therefore he is highly unlikely to be presented with an unplanned child by his partner (unless my knowledge of biology is even more woeful than I realised).

Given some of the posts on this thread I am starting to wonder if all conversations will need to be preceded by a form filling exercise detailing what topics can and cannot be discussed.

sarahtigh Sun 31-Mar-13 17:04:29

i can understand your Dh,

my DH is very private he does not like me saying to my friends oh DH had the flu all last week, or talking about his mother not being well, I would think nothing of this normally but I do not mention Dh having colds etc now as he does not like it he has no brothers/sisters but I suspect like your Dh if he did he would also expect me not to say whether they were gay/ straight, unemployed/self employed religious/non-religious etc

some people just think sexuality is always private and hate those questionnaires that ask amongst other things whether you consider yourself gay/ straight/bi on the basis that no-one should be asking this questions; not that one or more of the options is better/worse than the other

scottishtablet Sun 31-Mar-13 17:10:56

I personally don't understand why the conversation was taking place at all; I'd be really pissed off if my sister had been telling her new next door neighbours that I did or didn't want children.

theskyonasnowynight Sun 31-Mar-13 17:14:26

I agree that considering sexuality as "a private matter" is a form of closetism (unless the person is very private, isn't out etc). Heterosexuality isn't a private matter, and the only reason why it usually isn't made explicit in the sort of convo that the OP describes re her sister is that it is most people's default assumption. Even where it isn't the default assumption it is usually established by the kind of casual signifiers which nobody considers private (eg referrencing a husband or a boyfriend in passing. Indeed, before civil partnerships wearing a wedding ring would normally have been a signifier).

One of the key factors in people accepting homosexuality is whether they know an openly gay or lesbian person who "normalises" it for them. Another way of normalising it is by accepting it as no more a private thing about someone (subject to the caveats above) than their preference for steak over chicken or cycling over walking. This doesn't mean its right to gossip about someone, discuss their sex lives or talk about their sexuality salaciously, just accept that mentioning it may not be "relevant" but its no more "wrong or personal" than to say "my sister doesn't want kids because she loves hard work and travel".

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 31-Mar-13 17:16:48

Whether the conversation was appropriate is one point.

What I dont get is why the OP's DH thinks that he owns the right to decide what can or cannot be said about another person. If he had objected to the conversation as a whole then I could see his point. Deciding that he 'owns' the knowledge that his DB is gay is just a bit weird.

Hugglepuff Sun 31-Mar-13 17:22:47

My ds is gay and she is quite clear that she does not like it coming up in general discussion with people she does not know - which is absolutely fine, she is very comfortable in who she is, but is quite right in thinking that she does not want to be part of other people's gossip.
Did you point out that your ds is heterosexual and does not want children ? If not then your bil's sexuality isn't relevant either.

StuntGirl Sun 31-Mar-13 17:27:09

Goodness, really? I don't want children. If it ever came up in conversation and a friend or family member told anyone I didn't want kids I couldn't care less. Why is it such personal information? confused

StuntGirl Sun 31-Mar-13 17:31:04

Of course if someone has made it clear they don't want it discussing thats one thing. But neither the sister or the brother have. Its hardly a state secret!

Hugglepuff Sun 31-Mar-13 17:43:14

That's exactly what I mean StuntGirl.
If bil is really cool about his sexuality then chat away.
I really wish my ds were less shy- but she is really private - and i know that i would step in if i thought people were gossiping about her.
That doesn't make me uncomfortable with her sexuality - it is because i love her to bits and have always looked out for her since we were tiny.

AfricanExport Sun 31-Mar-13 17:44:50

I think you hubby may be homophobic and embarrassed about his brothers sexuality.

My sisters is gay and couldn't care who knows. I definitely don't think it's something we have to keep quiet about like it's some dirty secret.


Wishiwasanheiress Sun 31-Mar-13 17:51:43

Bil has been out since 18 and he's 40 now? Shut the f....ront door! Ur dh is embarrassed. Hardly can be anything else.

No u are resoundly not bu.

Trinpy Sun 31-Mar-13 17:56:40

I agree with StuntGirl and everyone else who has said similar - generally, I wouldn't think its too personal to mention that someone doesn't want kids, unless that person particularly wants to keep it a secret.

Wrt the relevance of the gay comment - BIL is gay and unlikely to have kids because of the fact he is gay. Occasionaly this comes up in conversation and I do tend to say 'its unlikely BIL will have children because he is gay'. However, BIL would like kids, so I don't know if I would mention his sexuality if the main reason for him not having children was that he simply didn't want any. I do see the relevance though.

I think your dh was BU to have an issue with his brother's sexuality being dropped into conversation. But, if you really did give such detailed explanations of why your sis and BIL won't have children, then you are also BU, and a bit strange

Yikes, I told my neighbour that my sister was marrying a man.
Now she knows her sexuality hmm.

Having said that, I think you did give out quite a lot of info to someone who you don't know that well. Are you generally a details person? Some people find that stories don't make sense without lots of detail - I'm the opposite, it drives me insane when people feel the need to give me all the background information.

scottishtablet Sun 31-Mar-13 18:23:43

Yes, I would be cross. I mean, 'my sister (or BIL) don't want children'- fine, no problem. But to go into the specifics I find very gossipy and odd, especially with a couple you've only know for four months.

Vicky2011 Sun 31-Mar-13 18:49:19

I find the extent of your DH's reaction to this more worrying than his general opinion. I suspect, deep within himself, your DH would rather that his brother wasn't gay, for the reason you described - he felt that he had lost something growing up and it's highly likely that the dynamic between two brothers of different sexuality would be different than if the same two individuals were both straight, or both gay for that matter.

So basically I think there probably is some deep-seated homophobia behind this but nothing overt and quite possibly not even conscious. However, the way he has treated you since the incident and the going out for the day without saying anything is completely out of order and makes me think that he may have more of an issue than he dare admit. Unless controlling, passive aggressive behaviour is his normal modus operandi?

FierceBadIggi Sun 31-Mar-13 19:49:00


complexnumber Sun 31-Mar-13 20:01:29

maybe he cares for his brother in a way that you are too stupid to see.

NomNomDePlum Sun 31-Mar-13 20:37:24

complexnumber - eh? treating his brother's life like a mucky little secret is an affectionate gesture?

pinkyredrose Sun 31-Mar-13 21:20:20

maybe he cares for his brother in a way that you are too stupid to see.

complexnumber wtf? Care to elaborate because I don't know what you mean?

FierceBadIggi Sun 31-Mar-13 21:40:46

Sounds like he cares for his brother in a quiet, embarrassed, don't-frighten-the-horses kind of way. Not sure how he feels for his wife, other than wanting to make her feel bad over nothing.

GreenEggsAndNichts Sun 31-Mar-13 21:49:14

YANBU. His reaction implies that being homosexual is something shocking or embarrassing which should only be revealed to a very few people. Which leads me to believe he still has issues with his brother being gay.

Now, the problem with discussing having children etc is that it is an intrinsically personal conversation. Reasons for wanting children, or not wanting, or being able to have them physically, or not having a partner or being homosexual etc, it's all quite personal, imo. That's the only thing I can think which would excuse his reaction. Would he feel the same way if you'd revealed say, that his brother was unable to father children (in a hetero relationship)? If he would then I think he wasn't BU for being upset; he's just a private person.

Hope this makes sense.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 31-Mar-13 21:58:51

Maybe the DH is upset because his DB wants children and will never have them.

FakeHotCrossLobsters Sun 31-Mar-13 22:30:18

"H is really, really pissed off with me, sulking & not talking, ignoring me."

"He has left to go out for the day presumably as he hasn't spoken to me since."

This is your bigger problem OP. This sulking and ignoring you to punish you for speaking about something that is "not your place" to discuss.

Would your BIL have told the neighbours the same thing if he had been there? Maybe it's something they didn't 'need' to know but I don't think you were wrong to tell them as part of a discussion if it's something your BIL would discuss openly.

We are often asked if we will have another child or if DS will be an only child. As it happens, he is not an only child but our first two babies, his siblings, both died and pregnancy is not straightforward for me. Having another child would not be easy as I am prone to problems in second and third Trimester. I will sometimes explain this to people but sometimes I do decide that they don't need to know. Usually it depends on how and where they ask.

But if my brother or SIL, or DH's brothers and sister and their partners, told one of their friends about us to explain why DS is an 'only' child I wouldn't feel it wasn't their place.

TiggyD Sun 31-Mar-13 22:33:58

YANBU. Your husband has an issue with his bro being gay.

complexnumber Mon 01-Apr-13 18:58:50

I would be so upset if my sibling's sexuality was being discussed over someone else's dinner party.

What's not to get?

motherinferior Mon 01-Apr-13 19:17:17

It wasn't being discussed. It was mentioned. Quite a lot of people know I live with a bloke. I do not get huffy if this is mentioned. Same difference.

motherinferior Mon 01-Apr-13 19:20:29

Come to that I quite often mention the fact my sister is a lesbian (and has two children). It is not exactly a big secret. If I don't mention the fact that her sons' other parent is a woman they assume she is straight which she doesn't particularly want them to assume as she doesn't consider her choice of partner something that should be kept a discreet secret.

GreenEggsAndNichts Mon 01-Apr-13 19:24:48

yes. The point here is that the DH is upset that his brother's homosexuality has come up. We speak of sexuality all the time. If OP had said "DH's brother and his wife have decided not to have children", I suspect the DH wouldn't have blinked. It's "DH's brother and his husband decided not to adopt children" and that made him upset.

And that's the problem. Homosexuality is being treated as if it's something we don't disclose in the course of a normal conversation.

I suspect these people she mentioned it to couldn't care less.

complexnumber Mon 01-Apr-13 19:27:27

It's certainly not 'the same difference'
The op stated;

"Anyway, wibu to have mentioned it, maybe I was being careless and should have thought before I spoke?"

Which, to me, means it was brought to the wider discussion.

Either she told everyone about her DB's sexuality or she didn't.

She did without consent, so she is certainly being unreasonable.

FierceBadIggi Mon 01-Apr-13 19:42:43

The only reason you disagree with the 'same difference' example used Complex is because you think sexual orientation is ok to mention if it is heterosexual (my brother's wife went to Borneo) but not if homosexual. Or if someone asked you if dcs had any cousins, would your reply be to say "I can't possibly make any comment as it would reveal something about their sexuality? Madness.

FierceBadIggi Mon 01-Apr-13 19:46:55

I wouldn't mention someone being gay if it was to, for example, their boss, in case they turned out to be homophobic. But OP's BIL is in a different continent and unlikely to experience any prejudice from the neighbours..

I would say, quite casually to anyone at all really 'my SIL's husband' or 'my sister's husband' - thereby 'revealing' their sexuality.
To you, sexuality isn't an issue, or a secret. That's why you didn't think twice about it.
'Revealing' someone is gay is only 'a bad' or even notable thing if being gay is also a 'bad' thing. To you, and to all decent people, it is morally neutral. Frankly, this reflects well on you imo.

Theicingontop Mon 01-Apr-13 19:54:31

I had a similar problem with my brother. I was at my mother's house with 3yo DS, and my younger brother was there with his new boyfriend. DS asked who 'the man' was, and I said, that's Uncle N's boyfriend.

Older brother gives me a lift home and has a catsbumface about me telling DS that he was younger brother's boyfriend. "You could have just told him his name, didn't have to point out their relationship to one another"


I think when you tiptoe around someone's sexuality, if they're fine and open about it, it's just insulting. It is the way it is, and if someone has a problem about it, it's their issue.

motherinferior Mon 01-Apr-13 19:55:30

<wotcher harpsi>

<hey MI looks like I'm back in town LITTLE HAS CHANGED>

WilsonFrickett Mon 01-Apr-13 19:57:55

Well my 2p worth is that you shouldn't really speculate on why anyone may/may not want children. But the fact you 'leaked' that your DBil was gay in that context which is fine imo. It is perceived to be more difficult for gay people to adopt, so once you'd gone down the path of discussing their reasons for not having children, it was perfectly relevant to mention it. The question is, should you have been talking about something so personal in the first place?

But FWIW my DH is very private and would have said something like 'FFS Wilson you don't have to tell everyone you meet everything you know' and left it at that. Your DP's reaction is OTT and leads me to think he doesn't want people to know his DB's sexuality. Too hard to say from the info given if that's because he's ashamed of it, or if he thinks it should be private.

Pandemoniaa Mon 01-Apr-13 20:01:02

Your dh's decision to sulk and ignore you is completely U and very childish.

However, I can understand why suddenly dropping the fact that your BIL is gay into a conversation with your neighbours may have come as a shock to him if your DH is a fairly private person. It's not a question of homophobia, more a question of how much personal information is appropriate to share in a given context.

FarelyKnuts Mon 01-Apr-13 20:05:53

Unless you are "outing" someone who is not out, does it actually matter. As many above have pointed out, society "reveals" sexuality ALL THE TIME!! My DH, DW etc etc. As long as you are straight of course, no one bats an eyelid. It is presumed unless told otherwise. Why should it be, in this supposedly enlightened times of equality (haha) that we live in, a problem to reference a same sex relationship the same way?
As a lesbian with a child I am constantly presumed straight and constantly having to bloody well out myself because of this inherent assumption when I actually give not even a single shit if the whole world knows I am a lesbian nor do I care if the neighbours/my brother/ friends talk about me and mention my sexuality, even more so when I am not there and will never hear of the conversation anyway.

RubyGates Mon 01-Apr-13 20:10:53

How would your DH have reacted if you'd said "BIL and his partner Fred have decided that they don't want children"?

Because I think that's what I'd have said in the situation. Because it sugests that BIL isn't a control freak and has made a unilateral decision about whether to have children or not.

I don't think that in the context YWBU

complexnumber Mon 01-Apr-13 20:22:36

"The only reason you disagree with the 'same difference' example used Complex is because you think sexual orientation is ok to mention if it is heterosexual"

Absolute bollocks.

I just think people, regardless of their sexuality and/or differences have a right to chose who to disclose to.

And it is not up to the partners or siblings of others to chat about these things around dinner tablesl

motherinferior Mon 01-Apr-13 20:25:43

So I assume you keep your partner's gender a tight secret?

motherinferior Mon 01-Apr-13 20:26:46

Because I do mention Mr Inferior from time to time.

Same difference, like wot I said.

aurynne Mon 01-Apr-13 20:39:23

There was no NEED to mention your BIL is gay, but there is also nothing wrong with it either, so why all the fuss for mentioning it?

The OP did not mention her sister is straight because the majority of people are straight and, rightly or not, it is the assumed position. Would any of you (and I am referring to straight people) have a problem with anyone mentioning you're straight?

I am sure the OP's BIL would laugh out this ridiculous argument...

FierceBadIggi Mon 01-Apr-13 21:03:10

Seriously Complex, if someone asks you about your siblings you wouldn't say "well my brother Jim lives nearby with his wife and kids, and my sister moved to Australia with her boyfriend".?? You would think it too personal to say that? I think you are not being truthful/thinking this through. You would come across as very strange if you refused to reveal that kind of info to friends at a dinner party.

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