It’s nearing the end of June, and just like last year, I decided to write a post about my own personal experience with coming out, self-acceptance and fighting stigma to celebrate Pride month.
So last year I gave you guys the story or how I came to realize I was queer and how I melodramatically came out to my parents. That’s why this year I’ll be talking about the lesser known facts about coming out.
Anyway, so what most people do not tell you about coming out is the very inconvenient truth of…
You never stop coming out.
It just gets easier and less significant in your life the more you do it. Which also means there’s still a lot of anxiety involved after coming out. Because you don’t simply come out once and then you’re done for life and can live happily, openly, ever after.
Nope, it’s an on goingprocess and it doesn’t truly get easy until you’ve come out in ALL areas of life at least once. From close family and friends, colleagues, casual acquaintances to complete strangers.
And I know you might be thinking, why on earth do I need to “come out” to strangers, my colleagues or casual acquaintances? Wellyou don’t have to, but you will naturally find yourself dodging certain conversation topics or using theminstead of himor her.
And I don’t mean coming out by suspiciously setting the person aside to “confess” your secret. I just mean, not hiding yourselfthrough everyday interactions. To never feel the need to conceal who you are or ever have a little voice at the back of your head telling you to censor yourself.
That took some time for me to achieve. Even after coming out to friends and family, I still felt like I had to conceal this part of me when meeting new people. I was still worried about how people would react and the potential consequences to my life if the reaction was bad.
I remember how my whole body got stopped in its tracks one time during my first few months in Uni. I was making new friends, as does everyone in university. And this particular group seemed alright, I was enjoying my time with them, getting to know each person more and more.
Until one day, one of them mentioned how anti-gay they were and how disgusted he found non-heterosexuals to be. The two other people agreed and the topic casually drifted to something else.
I remember those quick 2 minutes (it couldn’t have been more than 5 minutes) very clearly. And I also remember what I proceeded to do.
I didn’t say anything, brushed it off and drifted apart from that group of people. Would I behave differently if it happened to me now?
For the most part, yes.
But I wish I could say I don’t have these worries anymore, but I still do. Not as much, nowhere near as much, but it’s still there. It shows up when I travel,because I’m more aware of the different levels of LGBTQ+ acceptance around the world and if I am traveling with my girlfriend then I do have it at the back of my head.
Should I, or can I hold her hand in public? Do we need to book a room with two beds? Are just some things on my mind when I travel.
Does it mean I feel stigmatised in life? Does it mean that I’m not out and proud?
Maybe for some peoplethey would say yes, but for me, the answer is no.
And that’s why I’m writing this post. I want to let anyone who is reading this to know it DOES get easier and life DOES get better. But coming out and what it means to come out is your own personal journey.
Don’t ever let anyone else tell you whether you’re out and proud or notbecause you’ve done something, or haven’t done something. Only YOU will ever know if you’re happy in your own skin and proud of who you are as a person.
And that’s an ever changing process, for everyone.