A Conversation for Advice on Coming Out
Andy Barber Started conversation Feb 16, 2002
I had a varied response to coming out, some people took it well. I got a kind of 'we already knew' response. Others, well walked away into the sunset and were never heard of again. But then, who wants friends like that anyway.
My advice on coming out is
- make sure you are comfortable with your homosexuality first. You can't expect people to understand and accept you for who you are, if you don't accept it yourself.
- 'Test the water'. Sometimes, just dropping hints to a friend/relative is enough to start the ball rolling.
- Be ready for questions. Your friends/relatives are likely to be curious and may need more information to help them understand.
- Be prepared for a bad reaction. Unfortunately, not everyone takes the news well. Make sure you are emotionally prepared for that. It probably will not come to that, but it's best to consider a 'worse case scenerio' and work out how to deal with the emotions involved with that before the event.
- You may lose a friend. In some people their views are so deep rooted on homosexuality that nothing you say or do will reassure them. However, you must remember that it's their problem, not yours!
- Your friends/relatives may suspect already. It's possible that they have wanted to raise the subject but have been unsure of how to approach it. By 'coming out' it gives an opportunity to discuss the matter openly.
I hope this helps anyone who may be thinking about 'coming out'
Inanna has a theory - it could be bunnies. Posted Feb 16, 2002
I'll second and third what Andy says. (And very good points by the way)
And add - that even if you do lose friends (I did when I came out - my two closest female friends decided that they didn't want to know me any more.) It hurts like hell at the time. But, in the end, the pain of staying closeted is deeper, lasts for longer, and damages you more.
Being able to live openly as a lesbian or a gay man is worth it for the peace of mind alone.
Most large cities will have coming out support groups, which can be a real help too - hearing others' stories and seeing other people who've gone through it can be a real morale booster.
Kind of like these conversations really.
As an additional 'extra baggage', I'm also a Christian as well as lesbian. Anyone who wants to talk more about that, I'm more than happy to share my own journey to reconcile the two... feel free to start a new thread, or drop by my own page, or whatever.
Z Posted Feb 18, 2002
I just wanted to make this thread a bit more positive, I have never had a bad reaction to coming out either in my previous extistence as a lesbian and my current one as transgendered. With the small exception of my 86 year old grandmother. I think I can second that with the experience of most of my housemates (three all of whom are gay).
Sea Change Posted Feb 20, 2002
Keep in mind, this is posted by someone who jumps into pools instead of climbing the steps and acclimatizing to the water temperature first.
You needn't come out to everyone at once, but:
I have never understood the 'be comfortable with being gay first' tenet that so many recommend. The main way to do that, in my life experience, is not through books or videos. It is simply to go out and BE gay. How can you ever do that, if you are in the closet? Slip yourself into a huge gay pride crowd, dress real butch (if you are a guy, or as femmeas you please if you are a girl) and gawk as if you don't belong. We don't mind. Really! Sneak yourself into a club or a church (yes, there are some Christian ones) next. In LA there are gay hiking, bicycling, running (and other sporting) atheist christian budhist groups.
Joining a coming out group can be helpful to your feelings, and make you feel not alone, but it isn't very good at figuring out what is actually going on, because most of the folk there don't know much either. (at least, this is true in LA) I would suggest, once you are comfortable going to this group, join and listen, but do not talk in, a general interest (gay/lesbian/transgender or bisexual, as it pleases you) group. Then take this info back to the coming out group, and work with it.
Andy Barber Posted Feb 20, 2002
The 'be comfortable' bit. Allow me to clarify what I see that as meaning. I spent about 4 years struggling with the 'am I gay or not' question. I simply wasn't comfortable about being me and doing something not considered the 'norm' (whatever that is, I think it's the 2.4 children, mortgage and car).
So what I'm getting at, is maybe more be comfortable with who you and what you are. ie accept it. And for some people that can be the hardest part. Accepting themselves that they are in someway different to what society seems to expect from people. I think it's difficult for someone who is confused to suddenly throw themselves at the pool, instead of testing the water and doing in gradual.
But hey, if the both feet first approach worked for you, great!! But not everyone has that degree of confidence.
Hx2 Posted Feb 20, 2002
Ah, but then again a friend of mine did the "I'm going to tell everyone. Now." at 1 a.m. on New Year's Day this year - he phoned as many people as he could, yelling loudly "I'm gay!" and then putting the phone down.
That worked too!
Shame for me, as I didn't have the chance to actually speak to him one-to-one at the time.
He did drop a couple of hints, but would always deny being gay.
I suppose that's one way of going in at the deep end...
Sea Change Posted Feb 23, 2002
Ah, Mr Barber, I have misunderstood, and I apologize.
Did you consider 'coming out' even though you weren't really sure if you wanted to fit into any particular box yet? I find this fascinating. I was a virgin for 3 decades, presuming that I had never met the right woman (I loved my old hand me down junker car, and had no intention of owning any property), but it never occurred to me that I might be gay, or that I might need to tell people I might be.
In my trawls through gay life, I have only met a few folk like this. Most are clinging strongly to the idea that they are just who they are and just happen to like what they like, and they are not 'The Gay'. (no matter how much they'd obviously and desperately like you to take the first move to get in their pants, so it is not them actually responsible for what they are doing, but that is a different can of worms) The whole idea of 'coming out' doesn't even compute to them.
Andy Barber Posted Feb 23, 2002
I think I strongly realised that I was gay..but it wasn't something I wanted to face up to. If that make sense!
However, I would say that I'm happier now for having 'come out' then to live the lies that I was living. I lost track of the names of 'girlfriends' I supposedly had. Or at least told people I had when they asked me. Saying that, I guess it's really up to the individual to decide when they are ready and how they will come out of the closet.
Some people explode out of it, others peer round the door to see what's out there
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