Coming out is hard to do, we all know that. Choosing the opportune moment to tell your loved ones about a sexuality that’s been kept secret for years as you nervously watch them turn over your words, I just can’t imagine. And I applaud every homosexual, bisexual and transgender for doing so.
I don’t have a coming-out story. I’m fortunate to have parents who accept me and support me as long as I’m happy and safe.
I do, however, have a few stories about friends coming out of the closet and then being shoved right back into it.
I went to high school in a little town that was about 97 percent Conservative, white, Christians. The remaining three percent of us were merely decorating our hand baskets to hell. Anyone who didn’t belong in the land of cookie-cutter allotments with tanning beds and swimming pools knew it.
In about 2007, a new freshman arrived in my choir class. He flitted about, flirting with the girls the first day. He plopped down on my lap and told me all about his boyfriend a couple days later. The boys who took choir just to get an easy art A made fun of him relentlessly and eventually he left the choir class.
By 2010, that boy was identifying himself as a girl. She wore heels and skirts, makeup and wigs. She knew who her friends were and stuck with them when the administration would say her shirt was too low-cut or her skirt was too short in a sea of 3-inch cleavages. High school wasn’t the easiest of times, but she’s doing what she wants in the gender she wants to be.
She made waves, while others quietly tried fit in.
One of my very best friends didn’t see a reason to come out. He wouldn’t be expected to announce his sexuality if he’d been straight, so why should he tell the world he’s gay?
When I first met my friend, he had a girlfriend. He tried to find pleasure in kissing her, being with her, but something just didn’t feel right.
He asked me one day if I thought his mother would understand a shirt that said “LGBTerrific” because he wasn’t sure she knew yet.
But one day, his mother made one too many comments about his future wife when he announced to her that he would be the wife.
Another friend I met when he was a quiet freshman with phenomenal writing skills. He wrote a column for the school paper. His columns became more and more sassy, but he took a little longer to get there.
He never really “came out,” but told us he was 70 percent gay and 30 percent straight or the other way around depending on the day. He still hasn’t told his parents, but he’s away at college and “sluttin’ it up,” he tells me.
A few miles east of that small town is an even smaller town. That’s where my ex was from. When she told her mom that she had a girlfriend, her mom told her that she was confused and that she would grow out of the phase soon. This led to the two girls breaking up and not talking for years. Her brother didn’t react well to the news, either, telling her she was sick.
Afraid of what her mom would do or say, she has dated guys publicly, but kept the girls secret.
Her family members are the the only ones who don’t know about her lesbian tendencies. She desperately wants to tell them, but cannot lose their financial and emotional support.
So, no, I never had to officially “come out” to my parents. I told them about my life and they listened. I knew they would accept that, but these four who stuck their necks out to proclaim their sexualities didn’t.
I hope one day coming out won’t be necessary, but right now it is. Anyone who has even thought about the someone of the same gender sexually needs to be honest about it. Being a little gay is perfectly natural.
Show homophobes everywhere that we’re everywhere and hopefully someday that will be okay.