I’ve been out openly as a homosexual since my teenage years. I was lucky enough that I didn’t have to fear my family taking it poorly. I didn’t think they’d abandon me or kick me out, the worse I thought was that it would make things slightly uncomfortable for some of us.
I came out to my Sister-In-Law first. I don’t know why it felt like the one to tell, but it did at the time. I had already started coming out to a few of my friends at school and they all took it very well. In fact a few of them seemed almost elated to finally have a gay friend.
When I told my Sister-in-Law I couldn’t bare to say it out loud so I wrote it down on the inside of a paper book cover and showed it to her. Three words “I like boys”. She promised me she wouldn’t tell anybody. I almost wished she would so that I wouldn’t have to. She was a woman of her word though and never told anyone not even my brother. A few months later I told my Mother and the rest of my family one at a time. It was mostly met with jokey humor because I was still young and couldn’t possibly be sure. My mom even asked if I was a virgin still, I told her I was, and she replied “Well, if you’re not getting any then you don’t know anything.” It wasn’t angry, defensive, or rude she really just said it matter of factly.
All of my family has been accepting of it, some of my distant relative may not be enthused by it, but they certainly accept it. My favorite is when someone asks me “How is your…friend… doing?” and I always laugh because they aren’t trying to be mean they are trying to be accepting in their own way despite how difficult it is for them. I have so much respect for that.
Looking back on my life I’ve never really had to say “I’m Gay” I often just allude to it. I will say things like “I like men” or “I play for the other time” I really can’t think of many times in my life when I’ve said those two words. I’ve come out to a lot of friends, relatives, strangers and even residents and I don’t think it’s often that I put it as bluntly as “I’m gay”.
At first it seemed like such an unfair task. Why should I have to come out? Why can’t everybody come out? Wouldn’t it be interesting if by the time you’re 15 it’s expected that you tell you family your preference?
Mom, I think I’m Straight.
Dad, I’m Bisexual.
Aunty Jo, I think you should know that I’m an Asexual.
It would be cool if nobody had to come out, or if everybody had to come out. OK new rule is at your sweet 16 you cut the cake and it’s a gender reveal cake. If it’s blue inside you like boys, if it’s pink you like girls. Checkered cake is bi. Maybe yellow cake can be for asexual and we can just plan cakes for everyone’s preference.
Maybe it doesn’t matter though, maybe it only carries the weight we assign.
There are a lot of us that have to come out though, it’s just not about our sexuality. Some people need to come out about a disease. That fear of opening yourself, of labeling yourself as being something or having something that will forever change how people look at you.
That’s what coming out is. It’s exposing yourself to the people around you.
Maybe your coming out is announcing that you’ve got Diabetes, or you were just diagnosed with Leukemia. Maybe you keep it to yourself at first and then you slowly let your family know. Some of you might call a big family meeting and announce it to everyone all at once.
Maybe your closet is an affair you’re having and you want to let your spouse know. Your closet could be the fact that you’re moving far away or that you’re getting married. We all have these things that we feel we have to announce because it’s part of us.
I constantly have to come out over and over again.
I have anxiety.
I suffer depression.
I never went to college.
I don’t have a drivers license yet.
I work in a Nursing Home that’s not very… five star.
Always afraid of how people will react to what you have to say and how they will forever see you as somebody different. It’s scary being vulnerable but as you get older you have this “Fuck it” mentality. There becomes this strength in coming out. You find yourself less concerned about how people react because you’ve already found yourself and your worth.
I’m gay. No it’s not up for discussion and I’m not looking for advice on how to fix it, I’m just letting you know as a courtesy to you. I want to be myself around you. That’s what coming out is. That’s letting the person know that you’re trying to show your true self to them. They should be thankful and appreciative that you love and trust them so much as to show your real self to them.
I found myself reading Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli and I’m getting to the point where he’s finally coming out as gay to his friends and family. It’s a big event to him. He says something in the novel that inspired me to start this post.
I guess I’ll remember this moment for the rest of your life.
It’s true. I think I remember almost every time I’ve had to come out. To a family member, or a friend, to a customer, or a resident. It’s always been something filled with so much dread and anxiety that it sticks itself to your brain forever. You become filled with these announcements of coming out.
The point is, do it anyway. Be yourself at any costs because there will always be somebody in the world who loves you for exactly who you’re supposed to be. Let your children feel like they can be anyone and tell you anything. Let your friends know that you support them and will always be around to help them think things through.
So whatever it is that you keep deep down inside, don’t worry there will always be people that will accept you the way you are. Always strive to better yourself, but never change who you are.