About a month ago, I wrote about my personal experience with sexuality (which can be found here). I never would have expected it to receive so much love and understanding from you all. There were zero- ZERO!- comments that I’d received that were in any form hateful, homophobic, or harmful. I just want to thank you all for liking the post and responding so kindly in the comments section. You are awesome. ❤
That being said, I would like to offer a slightly different post on sexuality today; as you can tell from the title, I will be trying to “answer” the age-old question for all individuals questioning whether they should come out- in the sense of coming out to themselves (meaning, admitting to themselves their sexuality) or to family, friends, and the community.
I put “answer” in quotations because I am not here to give a “yes” or “no” response. Rather, I am trying to offer you all, who may or may not be struggling with your sexuality and revealing it to others, a personal perspective on coming out. In other words, I will give you my experience of coming out, and from there leave it open-ended for you to decide what you want to do (or not).
Let us begin:
As I had *briefly* mentioned in “My Sexuality” post, I discovered that I was not heterosexual when I was seventeen. I consider my sexuality to be fluid, for I am attracted to women and, to a lesser extent, men. I do not label myself as anything- lesbian, bisexual, etc. I like this autonomy of being “unlabeled,” and so I have settled with that.
I have come out, but not completely. What do I mean by that? Basically, I have admitted to myself that I am sexually fluid (although much more desiring of women than men), and have came out to my closest friends and my sister. I came out to them almost two years ago. They were all pretty much cool with it, even though it might of surprised them a little. Our relationship has barely changed from this fact, and for that I am relieved. They’re keepers, for sure. 🙂
Now here is where it gets complicated: when I came out to them, I told them that I was bisexual. Not sexually fluid. Why did I choose to say that? A couple of reasons: 1) I didn’t really fully understand back then that I was labeling myself, by calling myself “bisexual;” I wanted to believe that I liked women and men equally, but now I know that that is not true. 2) It was easier to say; people generally know what “bisexual” is, but are less certain of “sexually fluid.” It would take much more words to explain what I mean by being sexually fluid, and it might get messy. So I chose to keep it simple for them, even though it meant simplifying (and not really in a good way) my identity.
I have not come out to my parents. I am choosing not to do so, not because they are homophobic or not accepting of “deviant” sexualities, but rather not make them uncomfortable with me. It’s hard to explain, but let me say that they are…not at ease with gay, lesbian, or transgender people. For instance, whenever we are watching television together and an otherwise flamboyant man OR a “manly-like” woman is featured, my parents, especially my dad, would ask, “Is he gay? Is she lesbian?” And they would have this…tone in their voice that betrays any kind of neutrality. They are curious, which is fine, but judging from the way they convey their questions, it seems that they find LGBTQA people fascinating, as if they were someone to ogle at. I know that they are older and that they probably didn’t grow up with a lot of LBGTQA discussion, but it still really irritates me that they are at once hyper-curious and uncomfortable with encountering them. As if they can’t lead normal lives, either. They were already uncomfortable with me getting a tattoo last year; I don’t want to rock the boat. If they were to ever ask me about my love life (which I really hope isn’t any time soon), I’ll just evade the question. Especially if I’m in a romantic relationship with a woman.
Once again, I emphasize: my parents are NOT homophobic or intolerant of LGBTQA people. Simply put, they are just not comfortable with them. It doesn’t hinder them from talking to them in social settings (i.e. work, parties, etc.), but deep down, they are just not accustomed to it.
I would also like to offer two “coming out” stories from a few people–friends, acquaintances, co-workers– who I know. Of course, I will keep them anonymous, so that nothing gets leaked out or anything.
One of my female friends, who I have known since my junior year of high school, is a lesbian. Interestingly enough, I did not know that she liked girls until I had graduated from high school. A little surprising, but it didn’t affect anything from our friendship. In any case, she did not come out to her parents, both of whom are traditional Filipino immigrants. I am not sure if she came out to them later, but about two years ago, she broke off from her family, dropped out of college, and moved in with her girlfriend; from what she told me afterwards, she was struggling: her mom was constantly angry at her, taking out her wrath on her (she also mentioned that her mom suffered some mental illness, so maybe that’s why), and she couldn’t stand it. At that time, she was also living in a small town (which probably would not have been accepting of LGBTQA individuals), and so it would have been difficult if she had come out. In any case, I think she’s happier now; I saw her a few months ago, and she seems fine; she and her girlfriend definitely look happy together. It’s a happy ending, I suppose.
Besides my friend, I know of two guys–a classmate of mine and the other a co-worker–who are gay. They have not come out to their parents, even though they have so to friends and classmates at the university. Once again, I believe that their parents are traditional, and so I can understand why they choose not to reveal to them their sexuality. It is a tough thing to hide something so important from loved ones, and so I can relate. My guy classmate has even told me that his brother is also gay, and that they are both keeping it under wraps from their family. Again, it’s like walking on eggshells: one has to avoid bringing up sexuality at all in the household, evading questions about one’s love life (“Do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend?”) and stuff like that.
So, back to the big question: “should you come out?” I believe that it depends on you, your circumstances and awareness of how others might react. It can be a relief if you were to come out; you won’t have to hide it anymore. At the same time, though, it might be better not to come out to those who may not be as accepting: it can be done to protect yourself, as well as those individuals. I don’t have a definite answer, but I hope that after reading this *long!* post, you have a better idea of what to do if you are thinking or planning to come out.
To conclude: you are loved, regardless of your sexuality. Take care.
– The Finicky Cynic
TL;DR I just stumbled upon the Youtube video, “Twins Come Out to Dad,” and oh man…it hit me. Emotionally, I mean. Really inspiring stuff. Check it out when you can; I didn’t know how apt it was for this post. 🙂