Friday, July 18, 2008

Trapped in the Closet

Sometimes I wonder what's keeping me from coming out. There are so many things I can't wait to do once I take that step. I want to make my friends really uncomfortable when I talk about how badly I'd like to make out with them. Yes, I am so ready for that.

Obviously coming out to my parents is still a touchy issue (I'm debating whether I should break the news on my deathbed or theirs). But why haven't I come out to my friends? They're mostly liberal so it's not like I'm going to be tied to the back of their pickup and dragged along I-95 for twenty miles. Oh wait, I remember now.

The one thing I fear the most about coming out is when the reactions go something like this:

"Yeah ___ is gay, but he's still really cool."

What does being gay have to do with being cool . As if the two are mutually exclusive and if you can overcome that, well then you're something special. I am not "cool" in spite of my homosexuality. Being gay has nothing to do with it.

"I'm still your friend."

Did I run over your dog? Me being gay doesn't hurt you in any way. Why is the state of our friendship even a question?

But even worse is when it goes something like this:

"You know I'll always accept you."

That wouldn't make me feel better; that would just make me feel like a Visa card. In my opinion, this typical reaction seems altogether unfitting (not to mention callous). I am gay, and I told you because I don't want you to be surprised when you catch me in bed with Lance Bass. But to think that I need your approval to love who I love seems awfully self-absorbed and pretentious. I never understood why so many gay guys desperately seek acceptance from the people they come out to. I like to think that we are strong enough to stand by who we are no matter what other people choose to accept.

And worst of all, guys who come out immediately become, "the gay friend." All of a sudden, everyone assumes that you'd love to go shopping, are dying to see Mamma Mia, and are interested in meeting all the other gays on the entire planet. But that's really not true (at least in my case). After I'm out, I'll still be the same me. But to everyone else, I'll go from being just a regular guy to the guy who loves cock. And for the rest of my life, I will inevitably have "gay" attached to my name like some sort of unwanted epithet. "That's the gay guy who hates Madonna, how novel!" "That's the gay guy who loves A&F, how typical..."

What I'm really trying to say is that being gay doesn't define me. But if I come out, it probably will. And I'm certainly not ready for that.


dpstam said...

most people don't understand that being gay doesn't define the person. it's only a very small part of them.

very thought provoking post.

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Aek said...

While I wince at those responses too, I do understand where they're coming from. It is, after all, incredibly awkward to tell someone you're not straight and equally awkward for them to say it's all okay.

In my few experiences, it's been almost anti-climatic. One of my friends simply said, "I'm glad you told me, I value our friendship." Another denied it being true. And the last was like, "I'm here for you, you know that, no matter how much an ass I am." And after all that, it was never mentioned again or anything.

I think the key is that as long as you're still yourself, as long as you don't "act" different, it'll quickly fade into the back of people's minds. That, or I managed to carve out my own category amongst my friends (which is somewhat true . . . they even gave me a theme song that makes no sense).

Rambunctious WhipperSnapper said...

I hate it when people do the whole "accepting" thing to. I mean the only acceptance I want is mine. Right?

And the whole gay friend thing, so true. Suddenly you're being called for recommendations for wedding decorations!! I mean WTF!!

Though it didn't change anything with one of my friends who I am out to. We still have our beer drinking nights as we use to. But then everyone is not like that.

p.s. Sorry for the long comment!!

Hish said...

A lot of what you say is true, but I think you're being a bit harsh in regard to the potential reactions from friends.

Sure, you may not be too impressed by words like "I'll always accept you," but to others it may mean the world to them. Not everyone can be as secure as you, you know. Others may also have extremely close relationships with people who could hurt them a great deal if they face rejection.

There is no need to be combative or have some sort of 'all or nothing at all' attitude; whatever they may say is meant to reassure you that their opinion of you has not changed. Isn't that what you'd want?

If they're already giving a positive reaction, I don't see a need to be angry over the words they use or how they choose to express it.

As for the gay label; I completely agree. I have been introduced as 'my gay friend' a number of times before, which can be uncomfortable. But it doesn't mean you have to live up to the label. I would think that the people around you are capable of understanding that people are complex, not one-dimensional.

Tim said...

I struggled with the same thing but in truth, you don't have control over what other people think and until you realize that their perception of you matters less than the damage you are doing to your life staying in the closet and the time you are wasting. You will find any excuse not to come out.
Take the step just tell what gossipy friend and let nature take it's course. they will protect you from the stares at first and give your friends time to think of nice things to say when you do tell them directly.

Aaron said...

Dude, I have the exact same thoughts about coming out. I know it's gotta happen but there's no reason why it should be a big deal to everyone, even though it inevitably will be.

steevo said...

Listen up, hunnies!

Any positive, even awkward, response to you announcing your gayness is progress in this homophobic world.

Their reassurance that u r still a friend, will love you "anyway", etc. is their awkward effort to be nice based on their understanding of the homophobia rampant in our culture, but still getting better.

Str8 friends who seem to "patronize" you just lack experience with the situation YOU have created.

My dad, bleeding heart liberal civil rights activist forever, [He sometimes seems tedious and preachy even to me, ffs!] tells the story of when he was very young seeing the first commercial on TV (3 networks..that's it) with black folks in it. Gleem toothpaste. Mom, dad, kids, Gleem is wonderful!

He said it made the nightly news and all the front pages. Was a BFD! Not bad, just notable.

So relax, dudes, accept what they say and educate them later about how they can be more appropriate in what they say next time.

And if they say, "Oh, ewwww," cold cock them and move on. LOL [like the pun?]

steevo in cali