“I’m an undergrad English student who just got published for the first time (yay!) and I’ll be starting work on my capstone thesis next semester (although I’ve already started reading and outlining and stuff like that). My family is currently very supportive and thrilled for me- also yay! Problem is, I’m not sure if that will continue once they actually read the paper in question…I hold some rather… radical opinions on gender, sexuality, and the politics thereof, which is what I’m writing about, and my writing makes that VERY clear…once the journal is published and they get to actually read what I wrote, things could get very awkward very fast. It sucks, because otherwise I’m very close with my family, and I want to be able to share the biggest step so far in my academic and professional life without screwing things up permanently. Any suggestions?”
I love this problem. There's something ever-so academic about saying "Screw you" to your upbringing when you find whatever it is that fuels that light inside you. People who get PhDs and other exhausting degrees in obscure elements of human history, science, or half-lost literature have a deep desire, a burning, a figurative I WANT TO LOVE WHAT IS MINE that no childhood can adequately compensate for.
I think is this why academics are so often fairly lacking in the social department.
But the thing is, we are one of very few species who returns home periodically to talk to those who gave birth to us. According to my sources (Animal Planet, mostly), most mammals give birth to a tiny cutie, prevent it from dying in the first 1/3 of its life, and then kick it out as it grows large enough to be a rival. There are no animal family reunions worthy of Uncle Ted's racist jokes. Maybe you stick around for the social ladder-climbing. I don't know. But my point is this: when we grow up, we need to be able to own our experiences.
Your experiences have led you to a very clear sense of moral compass. You feel the world around you is flawed; many of us feel this way. Everyone goes about fixing those flaws in their own way. Some by joining peace corps, some by publishing works in journals, others by boozing it up (Bubba) or just being baffled (Hiram).
This is the thing. If you know in the core of your being that this situation will not bode well for your familial relationships, then you need to shield it from them. Avoid giving them the journal name. Explain it's super boring and full of jargon. Tell them lies about publications being delayed. (Those are very believable lies).
Ultimately, there is a point in everyone's adult life when you realize parts of who you are can never be revealed to your family. No one wants to hear about that sex thing that you love so much. The Netflixing that keeps you sane is not something you advertise. And the very good work you are doing to express some much-needed though might be one of those things that you can't share with family.
And that's fine. Sharing is overrated. Especially with family. Take your career, tell family it's business, and ride that wave to publishing stardom.
(If you care: Source)