I’m coming out
I want the world to know
There’s a new me coming out
And I just had to live, and I wanna give
I’m completely positive
I think this time around I am gonna do it
Like you never knew it, ooh, I’ll make it through
The time has come for me to break out of this shell
I have to shout that I am coming out
I’ve got to show the world
All that I wanna be and all my abilities
There’s so much more to me
Somehow, I have to make them just understand
I got it well in hand and, oh, how I’ve planned
I’m spreadin’ love, there is no need to fear
I’m coming out
– Lyrics/excerpts from the Diana Ross’s 1980 song, I’m Coming Out from the album, Diana (written by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers)
Today is National Coming Out Day (NCOD) sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). In fact, according to HRC, today, October 11, 2013, is the 25th anniversary of National Coming Out Day! Wow. 1988. It’s hard to believe it’s been that many years for this event!
The National Coming Out Day theme this year is “Coming Out Still Matters”. You can learn more about it here. Another article about NCOD is here. The annual National Coming Out Day event is so designated to allow people to celebrate coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (including those who are pansexual and asexual) or those persons who simply want to announce that they are an ally of LGBT people.
While I don’t feel anyone has to “come out”, or has to “come out of the closet” (a term I’ve always hated) or has to reveal their sexual orientation, or that one should be dragged, made or forced out of the so-called ‘”closet”, there are however many people who either want to come out (which is fine) or who strongly feel that they should come out (which is also fine) to certain people in their lives whom they have come to have great respect and love for and/or to whom they might feel a genuine closeness.
Coming Out is Risky –
Revealing any sexual orientation other the assumed “norm” of being heterosexual (straight) is a very risky thing for that person who may be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. It is risky if that person happens to live and/or work in a city or state where being anything but heterosexual can mean a loss of employment, or loss of rank or position on some civic organization (i.e. Boy Scouts of America), community committee, a service board or excommunication from a religious organization. It is risky if that person’s family and/or neighborhood community has uneducated, close-minded, bigoted and/or strict religious (and hypocritical) views about homosexuality, bisexuality or transgenderism. It is risky if that person works or attends a school where there are co-workers and/or co-students who also carry the same or similar views as that of the person’s own family. It is risky if that person is led to bring some serious harm or danger to him/herself due to the emotional and psychological stresses of having been shunned by the people whose love, trust and respect that person thought was true and intact. Yes, telling someone that you are anything but heterosexual is not always as glorious as it seems as many people – young and old who have revealed their sexual orientation, have been learning. Many young teens have taken their own lives over the years because they came out and found that they lost the most important thing they thought they could always count on: their family’s love. My heart is sadden thinking of the number of people now gone from this world because they were rejected by others based solely on their sexual orientation. Before I continue on with this article I need to first post a link for the It Gets Better Project. Check it out. Pass the link on. You might help someone in need. The It Gets Better Project, like the Human Rights Campaign, has help, support and resources for those people who may be considering doing certain self-harming things after they were bold to take the risk to reveal their sexual identity but when they did it, only got rejection in return. Click the photo or this name: It Gets Better and know that you, that young person or any person of any age, has a wealth of support out there!
Now dear reader, I’m here to tell you that in spite of all the past naysayers, the dissenters, the haters, and those whom you and I are bound to encounter, remember that we have made the bold declaring statement – either privately or publicly that we shall be ourselves. That in itself should be – and can be very liberating! There are still a few important people in my life who don’t yet know that I’m bisexual…but… all things in their own time. I will eventually tell those people when I feel the time is right or they will find out by reading articles in this blog. Note that I said “important people in my life“. That means exactly that and it implies I don’t give a damn about what some other people might say or think of me – be they family, friend, foe or some schmuck with whom I work and/or associate and likely couldn’t give two shits about. I suggest that you – who may be planning to tell someone of your own sexuality (for reasons of your own – not because someone said you should), adopt the same attitude. Word.
So, when your best friend, a most trusted co-worker, a fellow church member or a classmate; perhaps one of your parents (yes, it happens), a sibling or some other family relative, a casual friend or even a Facebook friend tells you of their “other-than-assumed-they-were-straight” sexual orientation, please: don’t be a dick or a prude or a major asshole and suddenly look at them cross-eyed as though that person no longer existed. He or she is the same person he/she was mere seconds before speaking the words that revealed to you their sexual orientation.
The best thing you can do at that point is to simply say something like the following:
- “And? So what?”
- “That’s kool. It’s not a thing to me on how you like to get down. We’re still kool!”
- “I kinda suspected as much but figured that was YOUR business and has nothing to do with ME or our relationship (or friendship).”
- “Thank you for sharing that very personal information, my friend. I still love and respect you. I know that could not have been easy for you to do. The important thing is for YOU to be accepting of yourself, content and happy.”
You get the idea.
If you have genuine respect and/or love for that person, I’m sure you can think of other positive and supportive things to say, considering that he or she who just shared such personal information probably had a difficult time deciding whether to tell you at all. That person is trusting you not to trip out or treat him or her any differently than you have before. And trust me; that person might likely be watching you for a while to see if things change between the two of you – or with others to whom that same information was shared. My advice: Don’t make it a big deal. Try to remember that being a decent human (that is, being one with great content of character) carries far more weight that any emotional, physical or sexual attraction one might have towards his/her own gender.
Some important things to consider:
- Bear in mind that a person who “comes out” to you does NOT mean that person now wants to “wear his/her sexuality on his sleeve or forehead” or that they always want you to label them sexually (we hate labels!), or that from now on you should start thinking of them only as being “gay”, “lesbian”, “bisexual”, “pansexual”, “asexual” or “transgender”. People are so much more than a sexual label or entity!
- Forget about that person’s sexuality whenever you converse and/or carry on whatever relationship – casual or professional you might have. Carry on just as you have done before. Don’t allow things to change to the negative as a result of you learning that person’s sexual orientation.
- He or she did not lie to you. Okay…let me rephrase that: It may be very UNLIKELY that the person ever lied to you about his or her sexuality – especially if you never directly asked about it and you just assumed that he or she was straight! Personally, I do not subscribe to that bullshit “lie by omission” nonsense!! Fuck that! I say: Consider the person and the situation before jumping to any ideas, suppositions or assumptions, conclusions or judgments! I am not yet aware of any law or religious mandate that says a person has to disclose his or her sexual orientation to people. Try to consider the world we live in AND the erroneous assumption held by general society that “everyone is heterosexual… until a person says otherwise”.
- There is no need to fear that person will now be looking to make some kind of sexual advances or “pass” towards you. Chances of that happening are extremely unlikely. Coming out simply doesn’t work that way! Trust me. If any gay, lesbian or bisexual person was attracted to you, the pass at you would probably have happened long before he/she told you about their sexuality. Get real and get over yourself.
- Remember that before “the great revelation”, many of those same people were living very discreet sexual lives. It’s very likely that most of them will want to continue doing that – except this time, they can express themselves a bit more openly and freely, particularly in general conversation with you or in your presence. Many of the code words and metaphors that were used in front of you with another LGBT family member yesterday can today cease being used. Whichever the case, respect their privacy.
One last thing to think about:
The average person does not go around consistently thinking someone they know is heterosexual. I have to believe that most people walking the planet simply don’t do that. Certainly the average LGBT person isn’t going around wondering who is straight or gay. If you happen to hear that someone is or might be gay. lesbian, bisexual or transgender, please don’t start looking at that person and begin thinking or saying dumb shit like:
- “Oh-oh! Here comes Bob. He’s gay. I’d better watch how I talk to him so he doesn’t get any faggoty ideas towards me. Fuckin’ homo!”
- “Sharon is nice and all but I hear she likes chicks, not dicks. What a dyke and a complete waste of good pussy.”
- “Fuck that bisexual bullshit. Andy’s still a homo if he likes to fuck dudes. That ain’t cool that he fucks chicks too! That’s how that AIDS shit got started! And I thought he was cool until he told me he was bi. Now I know he’s going to Hell!
You see, ignorant comments like the examples above were things I’ve heard said to or about LGBT people! That kind of shit is fucked up! Stop it already! Treat everyone the way YOU would like to be thought about and treated. Ditch the damn labels and the fuck-up ignorant rumors, gossip and/or stereotypes and whatever you might THINK you know about certain things regarding any same-sex sexual orientation, attraction or activity – be it about: homosexuality, bisexuality, pansexuality, asexuality or transgenderism. Get educated and try talking to and listening to someone other than yourself. You just might learn something and come to appreciate a thing or two about other people with whom you share this planet!
Check it: We are all human and, while sexuality is a huge part of our existence, as individuals we are still – as I just stated, more than sexual entities. Each of us should be respected, treated and judged solely by the content of our character and never by who we sleep with.
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