Friday, October 11, 2019

Coming Out

logo_ncod_lgToday has been designated as National Coming Out Day.

2019 marks the 43th anniversary of my coming out to my family. They took it well; we now joke that Mom turned to Dad and said “Ha! You owe me five bucks.”

But every day is a coming out in some small way for me even though I know my co-workers and friends and even people who don’t know me but who read my blog, my plays, or my Facebook page know I’m gay. (If you didn’t already know, well, hey, guess what…) I don’t make a big deal out of it; I don’t have a rainbow sticker on my car, I don’t announce it to people when I meet them, and I don’t think I fit into the cultural stereotypes that seem to be a part of our society’s identifiers as gay; for instance, I usually buy my clothes at the next aisle over from auto parts, and the only reason I know show tunes is because I’m a theatre scholar; it comes with the job. Cultural stereotypes work if you own them. As one of my characters in my novel “Small Town Boys” says when someone finds out he’s gay: “Yeah, I know.”

I am still getting used to being out in some way or another. I have unfriended people I’ve known all my life who said they were sad to hear I am gay, and I am sure there are people who say things and call me names behind my back. Well, they would probably do it if I wasn’t gay; people who find nits to pick are looking for them.

What I hope for with this day is that people who are afraid of coming out will take some comfort and assurance by seeing others say it. It may not prompt them to come out; each of us must do it in our own way and at our own level, but even if they never do they may know that they are never alone. We’re a tribe and we support each other even when we don’t know you because we really do.

5 barks and woofs on “Coming Out

  1. The story you tell about coming out to us, your parents, isn’t entirely accurate. I’m not sure I exchanged thoughts with your father at that time – or have we really fretted over it all since. You are who you are as are your siblings – all different and all dear to us. What I do remember is a day when a “friend” of your brother’s from Antioch college whispered in my ear “he’s gay you know”. I dealt him a cold look and walked away. I sat with you on the back steps to go into it with you. You said “well I’m pretty sure I am, but I’m consulting someone at college to be sure.” That was nonsense, of course. You knew who you were and had been for years. It was your parents who simply ignored the “gay” behavior as though it didn’t matter. Which it didn’t. I have friends who took their son to a psychiatrist in Texas to analyze him. A funny twist happened when the mother was told flatly that she was an alcoholic and should get help before she killed herself. Gay doesn’t matter – if only uptight parents would accept their son or daughter with love and compassion. Life is hard enough without being judged for who you are.

  2. Telling my family I was getting married to my same-sex partner for some reason was like coming out all over again…..and then a nephew, who I no longer speak to, responded by asking “so which one’s the woman?”

  3. Thank you for this. I’ve come out to my parents and 1 cousin of mine. A handful of acquaintances know my sex life because I don’t see the need to hide something like that from people who i don’t already have a very close relationship to. In May of 2017 I brought my first Macbook Pro, (On Credit) and my old group of (friends) went on my computer and unconsciously on you Youtube search history they saw “how to hide my gayness”. Everyone laughed it off and acted like it was no big deal. The following day I received 25-30 phone calls and text messages from people that i’ve grown up with and made friends with throughout the recent years. Asking if the news they were hearing was true or not. Thanks for outing me Will, Even though i wasn’t comfortable enough to come out to him myself, he felt comfortable enough to tell everyone i knew my deepest darkest secret. Since then, I’ve come out to my parents and a cousin of mine. The only people that care that I am alive. I have a half sibling that has outted me to all my family simply to put me on blast. Her karma will come one day, so will williams.

Speak!