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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

LGBTQ jellies, would you care to share something of your experience and hope about coming out?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (25804 points ) October 25th, 2011

I have a good friend who’s much younger than me, and he’s struggling with coming out.

He knows my story.

I thought if some of you would share some of the good points of your stores along with the painful parts, too, then I would have one more resource I could point him to.

Just in case you don’t know my story, I’ll briefly share some of it here:

I grew up in a rabidly fundamentalist Christian home and learned from a young age to hate everything about homosexuality especially myself. I was told as a teenager in the late 70s that if I ever came out of the closet, I’d be kicked out of the house onto the streets of the little Southern town where I was raised.

I did grow up, got married hoping it would cure me, and had three wonderful children. All the while, I drank unbelievable amounts of alcohol.

When I was 35, it all crashed, and I admitted to my wife that I was gay and came out to the rest of my family shortly afterwards. I came out at work, and now I live completely out of the closet. I’ve been out for about 13 years now, and I can’t explain the freedom I feel. My children love me for exactly who I am. I am happy when I look in the mirror, and I’m sober.

That’s it in a nutshell.

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11 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I’m not out. I probably never will be, but I don’t feel like it causes me any conflicting emotions not to be. There are some people who know, but at this point I’m comfortable leaving it at that. There have been times when I’ve considered being candid, and I would expect most of the people in my life to not even bat an eye, I just think a fear of rejection holds me back from just doing it.
I remember being in my late teens, maybe 18 or 19, and my (secret) girlfriend at the time gave me a really short haircut. I always thought my parents were very accepting and reasonable people, but my mother saw my hair and told me I looked “like a dyke” and threw me out of the house. Every time I consider telling someone new, I think of that. I ultimately ended up really hurting that girl, even though I cared very deeply for her, and she packed up and left town as a result. During that trip she was hit by a drunk driver which resulted in traumatic brain injury and left her quadriplegic. I’m not saying that I blame myself for the accident, but I would be lying if I said that the impact of that series of events doesn’t influence my personal fears of being open about my sexuality.
However, in all fairness, unlike someone who is attracted to one specific gender, my choice to be relatively quiet about it doesn’t stop me from being with the person I love, who happens to be a man. I am happily married, and so the effect on my love life is relatively insignificant at this point. If that were to change in the future, and I found myself in a position where I would need to be more honest in order to be with the person I love, I think I have learned a lesson from the younger version of myself. I also know that although there are people who may not accept it, there are plenty who would be supportive and loving, and I take comfort in that.

Brian1946's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf

“I always thought my parents were very accepting and reasonable people, but my mother saw my hair and told me I looked “like a dyke” and threw me out of the house.”

What an ahole your mother was. What kind of relationship do you have with her now?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Brian1946 we’re okay. My mom has a drinking problem. That’s definitely not the worst she’s said to my in my lifetime, and it wasn’t the only time she threw me out with virtually no reason. We’ve had a rocky relationship over the years, she has her issues, but I have learned how to keep her at arm’s length while still loving her.

whitetigress's avatar

Take your friend to San Francisco. Or come try out San Diego for a vacation. You’ll meet tons of gay people here, especially in Hillcrest. But come on a Monday night, its 80s night and 1$ wells drinks at the Brass Rail in Hillcrest. Maybe he’ll discover what kind of people he likes to be around. It’s strange, I’m not gay, but I feel more comfortable in a gay town rather than a straight town. I can’t explain it there’s just something in the air over there :D

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Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’m straight, so I may be out of line, but he can’t live a lie. He’ll be in torment the entire time. NYS just legalized gay marriage. Supposedly, it was going to be the end of the world. Guess what, no big deal.

downtide's avatar

I came out as trans at work and in my public life just over a year ago (previously I was out only to my oartner and a small handful of close friends). The response has been almost entirely positive – the only person who’s not taking it well is my elderly father, which I expected anyway.

On the whole though, people have been amazing. I’ve worked in the same company for 9 years and without fault, everyone switched to my male name and male pronouns without batting an eyelid. In the beginning I did have a few people say how “brave” they thought I was, which did make me feel uncomfortable. But I know they meant it in a positive way so I took it in the spirit in which it was intended.

Coming out as a transman has also entailed coming out publically as a bi man in a gay relationship, as my husband and I are staying together. Previously I’ve not been out about being bi – being seen as a woman in a “straight” relationship there wasn’t any need to do so. Coming out as bi has been totally a non-event; all the attention is on being trans.

tinyfaery's avatar

My own coming out story is so boring I won’t even talk about it. No one even batted an eye

The one thing I can say is hiding who you are is more of a psychological mind fuck then anything anyone can say to you. Having that stress lifted will help you deal with anything that comes at you as a result of coming out.

LezboPirate's avatar

I had to give it two tries. I tried tell my step mom and she went crazy and sat in front of my bedroom door to make sure that I wouldn’t sneak out and go do “gay things.” Eventually she went back to her room and I decided to go to the restroom. As soon as I opened my door she came running out to see what I was doing. So I told her that I wasn’t really gay, I must have just been confused.

So, I moved in with my Dad instead. (Should probably mention that they were going through a divorce at the time.) My girlfriend came with me and we shared a room. One day we were..doing the things that we did..and my Dad walked in on us. He just started laughing. I was like “Dad! GET OUT!” He’s was all “What? It’s okay. I don’t care lolololololololololololololololololololol!” And then..since my Dad was okay with it I decided it would be okay if everyone else knew.

So I told my Mom. All she said was “You know I’m a Jehovah’s Witness, don’t you?” And it was smooth sailing from there. My step mom is even cool with it now. And she apologized for reacting the way she did. Good stuff, that.

Kayak8's avatar

I came out about 30 years ago. Initially, my mom didn’t take it well, but since I have been gay longer than whatever she thought I was, she has come around. My brother is also gay and my baby sister has provided grandchildren. She is very cool and making sure that her kids are cool as well.

I have been out in every professional job I have ever had and expected people to adjust (they always have). I am just myself and folks seem to be able to deal with the fact that I am real rather than pretending to be something I am not. Many of my staff are gay and we are all comfortable in our workplace. My team of about 30 folks, knows that diversity is to be embraced on our team, so we have straight, gay, bi, black, white, hispanic, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Athiest, foreign-born all getting on famously. We make it clear that acceptance of the person is important and to learn about the ways we are different and similar is encouraged. We all celebrate new babies (without regard for the relationship of the parental units), we mourn our losses (kids, parents, etc.), and support and encourage each other.

likipie's avatar

I tried to come out to my parents and they thought it was just a faze. I’m bi and I told them so, but they just couldn’t (or wouldn’t) get it. I’m a believer in God and Christianity so I struggle a lot with the way I feel. It’s not easy coming out to people (especially if you can’t even face it yourself) and not everyone’s going to understand or accept it. I think if your friend really feels like he needs to come out and tell people about his sexuality then he should go for it. It won’t be easy but once he does, he won’t have to again. But if he’s not sure he wants to come out then he doesn’t really have to. I mean, he doesn’t have to lie about it but if no one brings it up then he doesn’t have to say anything about it. I wish him the best of luck and hope that if he does decide to come out that everyone around him will be understanding and accepting of him just as they were before.

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