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 Coming Out

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annissarh



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PostSubject: Re: Coming Out   Sat Dec 28, 2013 10:03 pm

Mr. Mike wrote:
This is a thread for us to talk about our "coming out" thoughts, feelings and experiences.

My experience has been that "coming out" isn't something you do once and for all. It happens over and over and over again throughout your life in different ways because you're constantly meeting new people and, unless you've told them or other people have told them, generally people assume you are "straight". That isn't always the case, of course, but "generally" it is true.

The first part of coming out is "coming out to yourself," which means accepting your sexuality. That is usually a process that begins at some point in your life and I'm assuming you wouldn't be here on this forum unless you've already begun that process. Thing is, the process of accepting yourself, which includes your sexuality but may not be limited to it, can go on for a lifetime.

The second part has to do with coming out to friends and family. How "out" are you to yourself and others? How "out" can you be or do you want to be with others? There is no hard and fast rule here -- although there may be common themes, every situation is unique, different and everyone has to decide for themselves what is "safe" and what isn't. Lets face it, coming out can sometimes be both traumatic and dangerous. In any case, it is usually (but not always) difficult.

Because I'm so old I've gone through a lot of "coming out" at different times in different ways both to myself and others. I've talked about some of this before.

I knew I was into other boys from a very early age. I've written about some of my experiences, at least enough to 'tease' some of you. :p But the fact is, even though I was somewhat sexually active even as a pre-teen, I was not yet "out" either to myself or others. At that time I didn't think of myself as "gay" or "queer" -- the queer word was used but "gay" hadn't been invented yet or was unknown to reference sexual preference where I grew up. I knew by the way guys used "queer," "fag," "faggot" and other words that socially it was NOT OK to be that way BUT, I also knew that other boys, at least where I grew up DID play around with one another sexually, even into their teen years (and sometimes even after they started dating girls). So -- what I learned was, this was something that needed to be kept secret, hidden. You could do it, but you couldn't talk about it.

That created a kind of inner conflict. I didn't feel very sure of myself any way but having this secret made me feel even worse about myself. And the older I got, the more difficult it became for me.

For one thing one of the things I discovered at about age 12 was it wasn't just "playing around," at least not for me. I fell in love with another boy, Keith. I remember every detail of the moment it happened and I also remember that it scared the shit out of me. I wanted very much to play around with him sexually and he was very much apart of my masturbatory fantasies. We even slept over at one another's houses a few times -- but I was too chicken to make any moves on him. The fact that I loved him only made matters worse -- I really didn't know what to do with that. The whole thing just scared the crap out of me.

About that time I started going to another school for a couple years and then came back to the original school. Then one day (age 14) in PE class when all the other guys and the coach had left, Keith came up to me and made a solid pass at me. I don't remember what we'd been talking about but we were both in our PE shorts and tanks and he walked up to me and put his arms around me and started rubbing his crotch against mine, pushing me backwards until I was up against the coach's desk. Now, of course, the RATIONAL thing would have been to return the advance -- but I didn't. I just FROZE. It completely terrified me. I was in shock! Keith kissed me on the lips but I didn't do anything -- I just stood there totally freaked out and didn't respond to his advances in anyway. Within a few moments my lack of response began to freak HIM out and he lurched away from me and ran out of the room.

Now the sane thing would have been to talk with him about this at some later time but I never did. We were both embarrassed and not very sophisticated. Neither of us had any idea how to talk about this stuff so, although we had to see one another regularly because we were in the same classes at school and although I had one hell of a crush on him, we didn't even become "friends," really. We weren't hostile to one another but we kept our distance.

About this time, too, it became almost "obligatory" to have a "girl friend." I was pretty naïve in a lot of ways but the older I got the more depressed about the whole thing I was becoming. My girl friend's name was Della. She started the whole thing -- to be honest I didn't like her all that much and she wasn't at all attractive to me but she was obviously attracted TO me. We would hang out together some and I was always nervous around her but she probably thought that was cute. We tried making out a few times but I just couldn't get into it -- and that is what scared me most!

By the age of 15 or so I was VERY depressed. I knew I had no interest in girls at all but I also knew it was NOT safe to admit that to anyone so I had to pretend to be something I wasn't and I feared this was going to go on all my life. What misery!

When I was 16, though, my parents started to live in a different state and I went to a different high school -- a much bigger school and culturally very different. This was good for me as it enabled me to sort of 'start over' and reinvent myself. No one knew me or knew anything about me and, for the most part, I intended to keep it that way. I became a 'loner'. I did have a few 'guy' friends but none that were 'close' and any sexual escapades I had happened during the summers when my parents and I returned to the home state.

During this time I did develop a relationship with a "girl friend," named Ann. Unlike Della, I really liked Ann. She was attractive, intelligent, witty, funny -- and her family had money. I actually enjoyed making out with her (I remember one time under the grand piano in the family room of her home). We had a lot in common and continued to be boy-friend/girl-friend up into our first year of college. I went to school in Chicago and she went to a private college further north in Lake Forest. It was there, in her dorm room, that I had sex with a girl for the first time -- we were both virgins. During this time I was also having sex with guys in Chicago but that is a whole other story! I was still very depressed a lot of the time and felt very confused because although I knew I was "gay" I hadn't really come out to anyone except a few other gay guys I'd met. At some point (don't remember exactly when) I finally told Ann that I was gay. I'd already told her even when we were still in high school that I liked boys and had conflicting feelings so this didn't come as a total surprise. So, I guess Ann was really the first person I'd 'sort of' come out to -- although I was still very much 'coming out' to myself. When I made it more definite in freshman year of college she took it fairly well. We continued to be friends and I even still hear from her every once in a while -- but I haven't seen her for over 40 years.

My problem was I didn't feel comfortable about myself and about "gay" culture. In a lot of ways I was still very homophobic. I know that may sound weird but it is true -- and continued to be true for a very long time. With a few exceptions, I mostly felt like an "outsider." I just didn't fit in with any group. I was getting to know more gay guys but most of them, to me, seemed really 'fucked up' in one way or another. I didn't like that there was so much emphasis on sex. I didn't like the 'cliquishness' of it and the 'games' they played with one another (often picking on one-another and making them feel bad about themselves). All this just made me more depressed, confused and even suicidal.

After living in Chicago for a few years I went back to live with my parents. That was THE most hellacious period of my life. I was definitely NOT out to my family. The rural home was not a safe social environment. During this time I also fell in love with a 17 year old straight boy -- and that nearly drove me nuts. I was having sexual encounters and did even have sex with him once -- but it only 'freaked' him out and destroyed our relationship (another long story).

After that I moved to Milwaukee where I lived with a guy and his girl friend. The guy, Bob, had been a school chum of mine in college and we'd been sexual with one another several times. He considered himself bisexual and he was mostly fine with that. I moved in with him and his girl friend (who he eventually married) and not only did Bob and I sometimes have sex alone together, we sometimes had three ways with his girl friend (who knew about Bob's sexuality). During the time I lived with them they eventually got married and we stopped having 3-ways but I did still have sex with Bob occasionally. What was more interesting is that his girl friend and I became very good friends and would actually stay home together when Bob would go out looking to pick up guys! It was kind of funny, actually. One of them he brought home, Paul, and the four of us became friends. I know this must all sound very weird -- but this is all in the context of 'coming out' not only to others but one's self.

I still felt very confused. I still didn't like the gay 'scene' at all. I mostly kept to myself. Worse, I found myself mostly attracted to 'straight' guys and that was very frustrating. I couldn't seem to find a gay guy that I not only found attractive but that I actually liked and who also liked me. Very frustrating.

When I moved to California my intention was to not be 'gay'. I met and fell in love with a beautiful young woman and we lived together for 10 years. I think I've told some of this story before so I won't go into detail. Suffice it to say she knew I was gay and I was very 'out' to most people. The Bay Area where I live it didn't (and still doesn't for the most part) have the same level of prejudice against gays as most of the rest of the country does. So, even though I was living with a woman, I said I was gay (not bi) and most people, especially our friends, found that very confusing. But at least I had a lover! That was the weird and beautiful thing about it. We actually loved one another and I hadn't found that with a man! Mindy, my partner, wanted me to explore my sexuality more -- she would even take me to the Castro area and try to get me to 'loosen up' -- but I just couldn't deal with it. (This fact, by the way, is probably why I remain HIV- -- I wasn't sexually active with other men during the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic.)

After 10 years, though, and lots of therapy, and after the AIDS crisis was forcing the gay community to reassess itself on a lot of levels, it was time for me to really and finally "come out". Mindy and I separated (very difficult for us both -- we still remain best friends to this day) and I began going to gay-men's groups and meeting other gay men. Within a couple years I met my first gay male lover, David, and we became partners. (David died of a brain tumor in 1997.)

All this to say that "coming out" can be a very long and complicated process. But, of course, it is different for everyone. I don't make a big deal out of it. I'm just gay, my way. Anyone who needs to know, knows. Either because I tell them or they figure it out on their own. I'm OK with myself the way I am -- but it took a long time to get here!

So --- that's my story. What's yours?


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what about.....Keith  Sad 
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ems

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PostSubject: Re: Coming Out   Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:03 am

Mike is no longer with us.

That is not to say that he's dead or something, we don't know about that but, he just doesn't hang with us anymore.
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PostSubject: Re: Coming Out   Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:10 am

its true. we've gone through many members, some have are still here, others who eventually left.

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PostSubject: Re: Coming Out   Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:59 pm

Kell wrote:
its true. we've gone through many members, some have are still here, others who eventually left.
and some who always come back in the end

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PostSubject: Re: Coming Out   Tue Dec 31, 2013 12:16 am

the end? the end is not near my friend.

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PostSubject: Re: Coming Out   Sat Oct 04, 2014 1:42 pm

so since the newest noah & jaden question pulls the topic of coming out/being outed into the spotlight a bit, i wanna know what u guys think personally

if u know someone who is gay/bi, etc. but in the closet about it & u KNOW that their lives will benefit once they begin being open about it, would u consider outing them?

now i dont mean something like what jordan did in a previous travis & connor chapter where it was very public. i mean let it quietly slip to maybe ur best friend or someone else u might trust in. and would it matter if the person was a total asshole?

is it EVER ok to out somebody?

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painservedcold



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PostSubject: Re: Coming Out   Sun Oct 05, 2014 3:09 am

Kell wrote:
so since the newest noah & jaden question pulls the topic of coming out/being outed into the spotlight a bit, i wanna know what u guys think personally

if u know someone who is gay/bi, etc. but in the closet about it & u KNOW that their lives will benefit once they begin being open about it, would u consider outing them?

now i dont mean something like what jordan did in a previous travis & connor chapter where it was very public. i mean let it quietly slip to maybe ur best friend or someone else u might trust in. and would it matter if the person was a total asshole?

is it EVER ok to out somebody?

I don't think it's ever okay to out someone because it's a violation of their privacy. You're basically saying to them that you know best and that you're going to take one of the more private parts of a person's life and advertise it to the whole world on their behalf.

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PostSubject: Re: Coming Out   Sun Oct 05, 2014 3:16 am

what if u told ur best friend, whos just somebody over the internet? what if u KNEW that telling someone far far away who will never have an impact on their life would do nothing?

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PostSubject: Re: Coming Out   Sun Oct 05, 2014 3:37 am

Kell wrote:
what if u told ur best friend, whos just somebody over the internet? what if u KNEW that telling someone far far away who will never have an impact on their life would do nothing?

I only tell you about people coming out after they've done so in real life :p

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PostSubject: Re: Coming Out   Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:26 am

No. Not okay. Ever. Especially in this day and age when anyone can send practically anyone in the world a message and creep the fuck out of them.
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PostSubject: Re: Coming Out   Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:45 pm

"... I was/ am in kinda the same position. Recently I found out that a person that I know is gay and I've obv not told anyone about it and I've not spoken to said-person about it either. As far as I know, this person is comfortable with being gay and has come out to a few people as well, but, I still feel like he's leading a double life and I wonder if he's happy (if he's leading a double life). So, I kinda understand Jaden's struggle about his morals and principles being compromised if he outs west."

- you, regarding the newest noah & jaden chapter lol

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PostSubject: Re: Coming Out   Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:27 am

Let me rephrase that. I've not told anyone WHO that person is haha.
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PostSubject: Re: Coming Out   Fri Oct 10, 2014 10:19 pm

touche

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PostSubject: Re: Coming Out   Tue Oct 21, 2014 12:10 am

I have very clear memories of my failed attempts to come out, if 'attempts' is the right word. For months or even years after I had reached a point of certainty on my sexuality, there would be times when a conversation with a friend or a family member turned in the right direction, or didn't, or simply fell silent, when I would think about doing it. I could feel the words right down in my throat, felt it bulging out as my vocal cords strained to hold back the air that wanted to rush forth. I'd be sat there, my whole body taut, every muscle strained, nothing in my head but an endless cycle of "I could do it. Should I do it? I shouldn't do it. Say it! What if you're wrong? What if they hate you? But they won't. Will they?" In fact, I didn't really 'come out' myself to any of my immediate family. My mum straight up asked me and then helped me tell my dad, then she outed me at the dinner table to my siblings, which is one of the funniest things I've ever sat through. Fortunately I was in the right place at that point.

I have experienced almost no incidences of homophobia directed at myself with any malicious intent in my life. My parents made it clear from a very early age that they would love me regardless of my sexuality, that who I loved or lusted over didn't matter as long as I was a good person and my actions weren't hurting anyone. I went to a school where bullying was dealt with efficiently and a culture of tolerance and respect was imbued in everyone. I live in a society where intolerance doesn't touch my daily life. I am incredibly lucky. Yet I still felt like that for a significant portion of my existence. I still feel different and I still feel lonely sometimes, because we are still outsiders in a culture that presumes and normalises heterosexuality. I still feel a twinge of anxiety when it comes up in conversation and I have to say "Boyfriend, actually" when relating a story about my ex, or "I'm more into dudes" when someone asks me what kind of girls I like. I would still feel uncomfortable to find out anyone other than a friend had announced my sexuality to someone I didn't know.

If I'd told my mum that I wasn't gay, if I hadn't been ready, she would've backed right the fuck off. If I had told my mum but asked her not to tell my dad, it would've been incredibly hard for her but she would've done exactly that. When someone tells you they're gay, that's the line you take, because if someone comes out to you, especially someone who's deep in the closet, they are trusting you not only to accept them and to care about them but to know how to handle what, for you, is a huge secret about who you are that you've been keeping since before you were even sure yourself.

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PostSubject: Re: Coming Out   Tue Oct 21, 2014 12:17 am

very nicely put alex, as always Smile

thats how i always saw it too; if someone has come out to u, they clearly felt that ur trustworthy enough as a human being to NOT judge them for it but also to keep it a secret. youve been told for a REASON, dont fuck up ur trust with that person.

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