October 11th is National Coming Out Day in the United States and seven other countries.
I am very happy to for the most part live an open life in which I do not have to hide my true self from the majority of the people with whom I interact. There are still some areas of my life in which I do not yet feel comfortable being a completely out person. That will either change or those people will not be very important in my life.
It isn’t the lies or the cover-ups that make me hate the closeted life, it’s the loss of vital relationships as a result of the required social distance and the constant feeling that if the truth were known, then it may change how a person interacts with me. The biggest mistake of my life was not coming out to my aunt when I was younger. My aunt and I have a closer relationship than I have with anyone else in my family. Until I was 11 I spent every summer, every winter break and every spring break with her. Before I attended school I spent as much time with her as I could. When I was 11 one of my second cousins was born and my aunt had to adapt to her additional familial role (grandmother). The following year my sexual feelings began to emerge and I felt as though I could no longer spend as much time with her or be myself around her. I pushed away from her pretty hard, and kept her at a distance for a while. By the time I had become comfortable enough with myself to be around her and not feel like I would have to hide myself (about 18) I had begun my relationship with Chris and by then I was spending more time with him and not leaving much free time open for others. As a result of those changes I lost the closeness of the relationship that I had with my aunt. I regret it. She is the person that could have been my closest ally when I was going through difficult times in my life, but instead because of social pressures and a feeling placed on me by media and other forces I felt like I wouldn’t be accepted. I hate the closet, it shouldn’t have to exist.
Coming out is a very important process. You can hide from those that care about you and wonder if they would accept you, or you can come out and know for certain. It doesn’t have to be all at once or even a direct statement, just be yourself and let come what comes. I can only think of a few situations under which I have directly stated “I’m gay”. Most of those were in high school when I felt an obligation to tell my best friends who I was, I guess in that part of life it makes sense, especially if you are in need of support in your social environment. Since then most of my “coming out” has been through expressed attractions. The easiest way to come out has been through Chris, its so much easier to say in a statement “… my boyfriend…” than it is to directly say “I’m gay”. In situations where I have come out, it has for the most part been very comfortable and not a dramatic announcement. If you go into something like that thinking its going to be a big deal, then the situation will probably find a way to be like that.
I consider myself to be gay, I am attracted to men, and I have a multitude of fetishes and other assorted paraphilia. I do not consider myself to be abnormal and at this point in my life, I embrace who I am.