Well, I’m out.
Everywhere. Work, friends, family, the neighbors. The checkers at Kroger. I don’t think I keep it a secret at all.
Now, of course, that doesn’t mean it‘s easy, nor that it’s been easy. I struggled with coming out when I was younger like almost gay person struggled. I remember specifically the day my mother asked if I was gay. Well, I wasn’t ready to say Yes, so I almost shouted No, and then left my parent’s home. I didn’t come back for a few months because I was angry and hurt and ashamed.
I had no idea what they would think or say or do, but I was ashamed that I hadn’t said Yes that day. I was angry that my mother had to ask; I was hurt that I couldn’t be honest.
So, why couldn’t I have said Yes that day?
Simply put, I wasn’t ready. And you–and I’m talking to you–need to come out when you’re damned good and ready. But when you do, and it will take time coming out to everyone, you will feel the weight lifted. You will feel like you should have done it long ago.
Yes, even if your friends turn their backs. You’ll find new friends.
And, yes, even if your family turns their backs. That can be hard, feeling your family pull away. But then you can create your own, new family. Gay people often create their own families–if their biological ones aren’t quite so accepting, so open–and you’ll get to make the family of your dreams, who will love you, and better still, like you, for simply being you.
It does get better. And it gets easier.
And the more of us that are out, the less afraid people will be.
I remember when Carlos and I first moved to Smallville. I was worried about small town South Carolina because I’d lived in Miami and California before that, and it was easiER, not easy, to come out in places where there are more liberal thinkers.
So, when someone asked why I had moved to Smallville from Miami, I jokingly asked, Have you ever been to Miami? Then I muttered something about hurricanes causing me–I didn’t say us–to move, and that was partly true. But I felt that same old sense of shame creeping over me again, whenever i would say me instead of we; and I didn’t want to go back to that, no matter how small the town.
So, the next time someone asked what brought me to South Carolina, I simply said, My partner got a job offer up here and we were ready to move away from hurricanes.
Imagine my surprise, when the next thing I heard was: Oh, what does he do?
It’s simple. I was out again.
And it does make things easier. There isn’t that pause before you answer, so you can form a non-gender-specific response. It’s still Carlos and I. There isn’t that awkward moment when someone asks what your wife does, and I say, Well, my husband works for…..
It does get better. It does get easier.
So, if you aren’t out, come out. If you’re ready. If you aren’t ready, that’s okay, but I can guarantee you that it’s fine to be gay.
in fact, it’s downright fabulous.