We’re coming up to October 11th, which is (apparently) national coming out day for those of you in the US, so I thought it’d be appropriate to share some thoughts about coming out.
There’s a lot of pressure on LGBTQIA+ people to come out as soon as possible, which is kind of a weird thing. We’re sort of fed this idea that if we don’t, we’re lying to everyone around us or something. We’re fed the idea that coming out of the closet is the bravest, most important step on our journeys. Which is pretty toxic, when you think about it.
Some people can’t come out. Perhaps they’re in an environment where revealing this part of their identity could be dangerous for them. Perhaps they’re just not ready or are still figuring things out. Perhaps, for whatever reason, they just don’t want to. That’s cool. If that’s you, you’re not any less valid or any less queer.
I mean, announcing our sexual orientations isn’t something we owe to the world. We don’t have to warn people. “Watch out, ma’am, shield your children’s eyes, flaming homosexual coming through!” If the world wasn’t so heteronormative, if we weren’t assumed straight until proven otherwise, to begin with, it wouldn’t even be necessary.
It’s something I feel we should only do if we want to.
For me, I wanted to. I staggered the process by telling one of my immediate family members at a time. I told my mum first, because I was distraught over being in love with a straight girl, and I wanted her to comfort me so I needed her to know the whole story. I told my dad a couple of days later, and he just said that he’d kind of guessed. I told my brother in the car on the way to go and get takeout. He took it in stride and immediately commenced joking about how I wouldn’t want a jumbo sausage from the fish and chip shop, then. It was a pretty stressful week. I didn’t get a lot of sleep and I felt kind of sick and like there was this pressure in my throat because I couldn’t necessarily find the right words or the right moment. I’m still glad I did it, though.
Maybe there aren’t right words or a right moment. To be honest, it was very clumsily done. Not at all eloquent or dramatic or poignant. Kind of anti-climactic, actually. But that’s cool. I don’t owe anyone eloquence, drama or poignancy. It’s my life, my orientation, my choice. Not a soap opera or an after-school special.
I’m still not entirely out. Some of my family, those I’m not entirely sure would understand just yet, still don’t know. I don’t intend on changing that any time soon. As far as I’m concerned, they’ll figure it out once I bring a girl home, and if they have something to say about that, then that is a bridge we’ll cross when we get there.
Safe to say, this coming out day is going to pass without any dramatic announcements from me.
What about you? How did you come out, if you have? Do you plan to utilize the day to do it? How do you feel about coming out as a process?