To Come Out or To Not Come Out… That is the Question

As requested by an individual who commented on this blog, here is a post dedicated to answering the question: should I, or should I not come out? Before I begin, let me make it clear – just because I am gay does not mean I can control what other gay people do, or the outcomes of their actions. This is simply my two cents on the somewhat sensitive subject matter. Heck, if you’re straight, you should try coming out too! You might earn a few blank stares, but at least it won’t be because you’re so ugly you turn people to stone like me. In fact, I think it is a worthy endeavor, because you would be forcing yourself into the shoes of those who have to announce their sexualities.

Let me reiterate that this is an umbrella post designed to give a general idea of whether one should come out or not. There are many factors that play into a decision like this, even if the decision shouldn’t be a big one at all. Please don’t hesitate to comment or message me with individual concerns or questions, or to suggest that I write about anything else – related to homosexuality or unrelated to homosexuality.

An easy way to structure this would be to split up my post into pros and cons. I’ll start with the cons, because everyone knows that seeing the rainbow is worth standing in the rain.

No, I did not throw in this random comic just because I had no other picture to post. Okay, maybe a little. But it relates, I swear!

Safety. That is my main concern when I hear that someone is coming out, or has come out. As wrong as it is, being gay can place people in precarious positions when it comes to their well-beings. If someone has strict parents who are extremely close-minded and cannot tolerate the thought of a gay person living in their home, he or she may get kicked out (or worse) if he or she were to come out. If you go to a super religious school that is unaccepting and intolerant, you may face physical or emotional danger in regard to bullying. I’m not saying that these things will happen if you come out, but they are possibilities that you should take into account.

Also, coming out can be unnecessary. It’s great to be open about your sexuality, but if you feel like your friends and family are already aware and telling them won’t bring any benefits, maybe it would be better to just be nonchalant about it. This is how I feel like when I’m around my father – I know he couldn’t care less whether I am gay or not, so I don’t feel like adding to the amount of stress he has on his shoulders by telling him.

Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely not a proponent of people pushing themselves inside the closet. Those are just a couple of the negative repercussions people could take into consideration when making their decision.

Zach Wahls and his family! If you haven’t already seen it, search for his speech on Youtube – it is so inspiring. Image via zachwahls.com.

There are a myriad of positives that can come out of coming out. The obvious one is that you won’t have to hide your sexuality from society – once again, society should already be in a state in which you don’t have to hide your sexuality, but, it’s a nice little plus anyway. It’s a nice feeling, knowing that you are comfortable enough with yourself and comfortable enough with your surroundings to be open about being gay. This is especially true if you’ve hidden it, as I’m sure everyone can relate to how wonderful it feels to let go of a lie and to start living the truth.

You can also develop a strong sense of trust and bonding if you come out to people. For example, I remember telling one of my friends and she literally stated that she felt like I could trust her more. Which is true – letting people know that you’re gay can be seen as a milestone in a relationship, as it conveys the message that you believe they are compassionate enough to accept your sexuality in the first place.

On a slightly joking and slightly serious note, telling people that you’re gay could clear up some confusion regarding romantic relationships. Unlike me, with my plethora of fictional characters, I’m sure there are those who are gay who have received attention of the romantic nature from the opposite gender. Coming out would communicate to them that you aren’t interested, and it would let the gender that you are interested in know about your preferences.

Bringing it into the big picture, if every single person in the entire world who was gay was forced to be open about their sexuality, I think things may be a little easier. Perhaps tougher at first, as there would be a copious amount of conflict, but eventually easier because no one would be able to hide and everyone would have to fight for their rights. Thus, it would be harder to repress the sheer number of those refusing to be second class citizens. In an ideal world, no one would have to be repressed, but sometimes, there’s nothing you can do about it when your safety is concerned – just try to break free from your chains and find a place that will grant you your safety.

I’ll end this post on a personal note. For me, my only concern when it came to coming out was my mom. Technically, she is still my concern – I am absolutely horrified by the thought of her knowing about my sexuality. However, I am completely comfortable with my sexuality. Even though I may face bullying or something like it when school starts again in September, I don’t really care what others think of me (haters gonna hate) and I have my close friends to back me up. They are indeed what caused me to come out, as I know that I have no need to worry, with them by my side.

Oh, and I may be interested in someone. But that is for another post… look, over to your left, a distraction!

Thoughts? Did I leave anything out? Any personal experiences about coming out or having friends or family coming out? I hope this post can help!

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20 Comments

Filed under Personal, Society

20 responses to “To Come Out or To Not Come Out… That is the Question

  1. Another great post! Definitely some valid points; ultimately it’s the person’s decision whether or not they think their sexuality is something that others should be notified about. And excuse me Thomas:
    “Oh, and I may be interested in someone. But that is for another post…”
    ASDJHEWBD WHAT IS THIS? You can’t just leave that there like that!
    I expect all details >_>

  2. Chatter Master

    I don’t “like” that you have to think about all of these things. But I like that you are not afraid to and that you do so with such thought and consideration.

  3. fairyjerbear

    An excellent post. With all the pressure to come out it is good that you dealt with the negatives as well as the positives. I have dealt with the problems that arise when coming out to family backfire. I spent several years running a street outreach program. Granted things were worse back then but when you see teens living on the street turning tricks or dealing drugs to survive it isn’t the kind of thing people warn about. Others may get shipped off to dubious mental health facilities because parents can’t cope. So be sure it’s safe and if you’re not sure ask yourself how you would survive if you got thrown out on the street. Studies still show that a lot of homeless youth are LGBT. We need to do more to bring that number down.
    All that being said if you’ve got your parents on your side or their comments indicate they would be and you’ve got support at school then coming out can be wonderful. The more youth who can come out the more aware your community will be and the safer it’ll be for the next person coming out. Think of it like a rainbow glazed slippery slide to happiness!

    • fairyjerbear, the input from a person who has experience in a position that deals with those who suffer from the negative consequences of coming out is appreciated! It is horrible that things like turning tricks or being sent off to spurious mental health facilities, and it must be even more horrible to witness it first hand (or to be the person actually in the situation). I have read several statistics about homeless youth and the correlation between homeless teens and LGBT teens – I do not remember the exact number off the top of my mind, but the amount of LGBT teens on the street was a surprising one.

      “… a rainbow glazed slippery slide to happiness!” I couldn’t have put it better myself. We must work toward a day in which it will be completely safe to reveal one’s sexuality and oneself!

  4. Elaine

    Absolutely love what you said about straight people attempting to come out as well – it just emphasizes how heterosexuality is still treated as “the norm” when in reality people are, it seems, only just beginning to realize that’s not the case. As for the rest of it, I have to agree that it’s all pros and cons, and the only person who can determine what’s right in any situation is the one actually living it. It’d be nice to say everyone should be open, and I think I’ve said before that I hate that we live in a world where honesty can be reason for legitimate safety concerns, but such is society.

    I think the one thing I feel it’s important to add is that coming out can be a really, really huge deal when anyone does decide to go for it, and definitely requires all the thought that you obviously put into this post. But for some, a lot of emphasis can be placed on sexuality unnecessarily – in a frightening world of propaganda and The Media, capitals necessary, it’s as if almost everything depends on who you’re attracted to, but there is so much more to life than that. Sometimes, there’s all this pressure to come out, when you don’t even know what the heck you are or what the heck you like. With me, at least, it’s been a discovery of the fluid nature of sexuality, and how I’m not yet comfortable putting a label on that – and a significant part of that journey has been learning that that’s okay, too! If anyone is stressing over that, it’s really important to note that we are allowed to just /be/.

    Another excellent post, and ohmygod, one day I will learn how to limit my replies to one sentence /is momentarily distracted but NOT FOR LONG I SEE RIGHT THROUGH YOUR TRICKERY ;D Good on you, mate; crossing fingers that everything goes well for you in that vein!

    • I see what you mean. The media does make a big deal about who is dating who, celebrity couples, how to make relationships work, etc. so I can see how that would affect people and place a disproportionate amount of prominence on sexuality. Sometimes I feel like people feel the need to show their support of gays by forcing it to be a bigger issue than it is at inopportune times. Obviously gay rights deserves its place in politics and in the media because that’s the only way conditions can become better for gays, but sexuality in itself, while an intriguing concept and one I would love to take a course on, should not always be the focal point of one’s attention.

      Elaine, never feel the need to limit yourself to one sentence. I will pay you per word you produce. Just kidding, that would be bribery. Thank you for reading and commenting and contributing your usually deep thoughts. (:

  5. Andreas

    It’s a great post! I liked it! It’s great that you’ve decided to come out. And yeah, I totally agree that parents will always be the biggest obstacle, but it’s good to know you have your friends who will always be there for you. I truly hoped that, in the future, Asians will have no problem accepting their friends or relatives or anyone that they loved, coming out from the closet. It’s wonderful to know that America is free and despite all the bullying or anything it, it’s a lot easier to come out there compared to Asian countries, IMO.

    P.S: I’m so looking forward to the post about the fact that you might be interested in someone… 🙂

    • Yes, I’m glad I was able to utilize this blog as a stepping stone in accepting my sexuality too. Asians countries (and countries in the East in general) do have it tough, though I did read an article about Vietnam becoming more accepting recently, which surprised me… in a good way.

      Ha, well, we’ll see if it is ever posted! Thanks for reading and commenting, as always.

  6. Oh, and I may be interested in someone.

    You know Sam Roth doesn’t actually exist, right? 😀

  7. panda1

    I had just been reading another one of your posts about U-Kiss’s Kevin Woo’s abs, and now I find myself on this page. I have never visited your blog before today, but I started reading this post, and I just have to comment (again). What’s amazing about this post is that you emphasize your humanity with your personal conflicts- ie, coming out, being accepted by your mom and the rest of society, etc. And you not only accept your sexuality, you embrace it. In short, you are very inspiring. For once, I am glad my desire to Google k-pop idols has led me somewhere. Good luck!

    • Thank you panda1! I’m also glad that your search for information/pictures regarding Kevin Woo’s abs led you to reading this post and connecting with what I’ve written. Many people have inspired me, so I’m glad that I am capable of doing the same. Thanks again for taking the time to read and to comment!

  8. RabidBunnyD

    I haven’t commented in a while (FOR SHAME) but I’ve been taking a much needed summer to myself, rebuilding my relationship with my baby (which is a cat, by the way, I’m not an unwed mother, thank god).

    I had to explain to my mother WHY the gay-marriage debate was SO important to me, and not because I’m a closeted lesbian or bisexual (trust me, no) but because everyone deserves the right to love and be loved by whoever loves them. Government should have no say in that relationship. When I made the argument to her, she still didn’t quite get it, so I had to tell her “Look, I love my boyfriend. We’ve been together nearly 2 years now, and I don’t see an end in sight. Not too long ago, our relationship would have also been frowned upon, and illegal, because we’re an interracial couple, as would his parents. Somebody fought for my right to love him and I owe my happiness to them. To me this is the same thing. If I have kids one day, and they turn out to be gay, how would I feel knowing I didn’t fight for their rights to love like mine were fought for?” I think at that point she finally got it, but I still have some apprehension about the rest of my family, so I tend to avoid the topic so I don’t make family functions unpleasant.

    I found my loved one because I was finally able to be entirely myself, and didn’t have to hide all the weird facets of my personality that friend zoned me in the past (omg, girls can be friend zoned? Why yes, yes they can.) and he accepted them all, along with the new ones he discovered later, and loves me for every single one of them. And it makes me angry every single day knowing that there are people out there who, for the reasons you mentioned, can’t just be themselves because it could actually put their lives in danger, all because of some stupid bigotry that we should really have moved past by now.

    As for you, I really hope one day you can graduate from college, move out into a life without all the stress, and not have to worry about it all quite so much. You’re sure as hell not ugly :P, and from what I can tell from conversations in the past, you’re sweet, and smart, and have a lot of compassion. Hell, you’re definitely a lot stronger than I am, since I’m fairly sure I couldn’t endure the life you live with your mother and still smile and find something to be happy about. Sometimes I wish you went to school down here, because I know you would fit in with the crazy group of friends I have, and not a single one would treat you any differently… Well maybe a few, but intolerant people don’t last very long in our group, so they’d either adapt or get kicked out.

    Anyway, on a slightly more humorous note, I had pretty much already figured this much out way back. My boyfriend gave me funny looks for having so many personal conversations with another guy online. Told him there was no need to get all jealous because you were a bigger fanboy of sexy Asian male popstars than I am. 😄

    • I’ve missed your comments so much! I understand, we all need some time to ourselves. I recently went on a cruise and devoured eight books there. It was quite relaxing.

      What you told your mother was spot on! Beautifully presented. Beautiful. It clearly shows how unnecessary government restrictions are in interracial or gay marriage. They shouldn’t even attempt to legislate love.

      I’m so glad you were able to find your boyfriend because you were able to be yourself, and I’m even more glad that you’re able to appreciate that and fight for others to find their loved ones as well. To be honest I wasn’t exactly sure what “friend zoning” was until I Googled it, just now… hm.

      Ha ha ha about the “not ugly” comment. Thanks for trying to make me feel better. (: I look forward to the day in which I am able to escape the confines of my home, and I’m working hard to make that happen right now – I’m starting my college applications, so, it’s coming soon! A major part of what has helped me in these past few years with my mom and other issues was this blog, believe it or not, and the people who support me, like you.

      Yes, I believe most people could have discerned my sexuality due to my ardent fanboying of Asian male popstars. Once again I am so glad to hear from you and I see that you commented on another post too, so I will move on to that one now! (:

      • RabidBunnyD

        College, to me, is the best step for getting out of your childhood home. I don’t come from a bad home necessarily, though there were some uncomfortable years, but being in College allows me to feel more independent. At first, I was terrified. My first semester of college I went home every SINGLE weekend (only about 45 min from my home so). Even when we got a foot of snow and it looked like I would be stuck there, I still found a way. Now being home for long periods of time drives me crazy. I think College will be great for you, and I’m sure you can get into a great one. As hard as your mother is on you, you do great with your grades. I did… okay 😄 tbh, I could have done much better, but I’m happy with where I am. Hopefully you’ll be happy wherever you go too.

        • I’ve heard similar stories in which people tend to come home more often at the beginning of their college experience but their visits decrease as the years go on and the semesters pass. Judging from your college experience, I am looking forward to it a lot! This summer I went to a university to study and take courses, just like an actual college atmosphere – it was the best month of my life, and it made me look forward to the real college life even more. I am beginning to work diligently on my applications, so keep your fingers crossed for me! (:

  9. Ron

    I would like to offer my two cents worth if I may. I am not gay, and know absolutely nothing about the topic which makes me totally unqualified to adivse, comment or to even have a fully rational opinion on the topic. I have no idea of what it feels like or does not feel like that is a highly individual thing. For that matter, how can we really prove that any two people preceive color in the same way? What I see as blue may very well be perceived by another person the way I see orange. There is no way to prove or disprove. We all agree upon what is green, blue, yellow etc. because somebody in our childhood made a great effort to point to the color and repeated the name of the color over and over again until we got it right. So then, how can one person truly experience anothe person’s feelings, other than making assumptions about them?

    Now for my two cents worth. My exposure to the gay community has been the same as many other non gay individuals, mainly through the news media and entertainment. While the news media is always the first to scream hate crime,—phobic or injustice in thick black lettered headlines they also are the same ones who will sensationalize the topic by printing a front page picture or news video of the most outlandish, stereotypical dress or behaviour. Movies and television will often portray gay men as sensitive, effeminate artistic individuals, and gay women masculine, body builders making a point of bussying themselves with typically male occupations-truck driver, construction, bouncer etc. Unfortunately, we are fed this nonsense, it is in fact propaganda. There is not enough information for one to form a rational opinion with, and so stereotypes, hatred, intollerance brew in places where it need not.

    So, then why is my opinion important??
    I have known a total of 5 people who are gay. More correctly I have known 5 out of all the people I know are gay. One was an employee, two were ministers at our church, one a technical consultant, one a partner of one of the ministers. Know something?? It made absolutely no difference to me. They did the jobs they were supposed to do very well. BTW I did meet with one outside of business over coffee..Why?? He was interested in solar energy, something I have dabbled with. Why is this important?

    I am one of the persons, yes, one of those awful 1 percenters. Wealthy, powerful, self employed. Also Christian and very conservative. Know what else? I do not care one iota about anybodies sexual orientation. NO, that is not some facade of tollerance that I may be accused of putting forth, while I plot with my cohorts how to impose our desires on the world. It is therefore important because you may actually work for me, and my view on the topic is actually shared by a lot more people in this world than you may think. Fewer and fewer people cling on to old prejudices. I can not speak for everybody. But I do speak for myself. One day somebody may answer a help wanted add we have placed. When you come see me for an interview, all I care about is if you are qualified to do the job and will commit yourself to it. Excell at the job and you get—- MORE MONEY perhaps if we expand a PROMOTION. That is all. There are no boxes to check or lines to fill in regarding one’s sexual orientation on the application form. It is not an issue. Bring your partner to the party. Your new co-workers also will not make an issue of it..

    In the end, it is a highly sensitive, personal issue for each individual to deal with and make the ultimate decision. The decision should not be based upon how others will perceive you, or what you think other expect of you. And unfortunately, still not without its risks.

    • Wow, okay, there is so much in this one comment – it deserves its own post, ha ha!

      First off, I love how you concede that you may not be able to completely understand any other person. This is very true. However, I also love how you bring in your experience with the five gay people you know. I’ve read articles about how people who know gay people personally are way more likely to be accepting of gays in general – and that may have also influenced you. The media does portray this stereotypical image of gays, and yet there are those who are able to see past that either on their own somehow or by knowing someone actually is gay and doesn’t abide by those stereotypes.

      Also, I agree with everything you said about how you view gay people. And by view gay people, I mean, how you don’t care about their sexuality at all. Even though you say you are Christian and very conservative, you do not possess the narrow-mindedness that a lot of people think Christians and conservatives have. In the work place, work should be the one important thing – not personal drama, not ethnicity, not sexuality. Jobs are jobs, and the quintessential thing is that employees fulfill their duties well or above average. What you stated in your comment is exactly how things should be. There should be no discrimination within the workplace based on attributes that don’t even affect work performance.

      Thank you for this great comment. If anyone claims that all Christians or conservatives are anti-gay or bigots, I now have something I can refer to. It is unfortunate that coming out is such a big issue and even a risk to some, but hopefully more and more people will gain knowledge regarding gays and how they are human beings just like everyone else.

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