When Did You Come Out?
If you’re over 40 you might have come out at a time when you had to fit in as the “acceptable” gay. So you came out, but you still had to fit in!
As gay men we have lived lives of not always speaking our truth, of withholding who we are from others, and subsequently feeling shame for doing so. But when you unbox your hidden, suppressed truths, you give them life, and yourself freedom.
This is where change begins, with awareness of our closeted truths, of held back secret dreams and desires.
You can be out, but not expressing your complete identity. You’re out, but you’ve boxed yourself in to conform to social norms.
You may have lovely things like a house, a partner, a quality car, and fashionable clothes and accessories.
You may enjoy the finer things in life like the freedom to travel, to eat out at nice restaurants, to contribute or volunteer for charitable causes.
You might even have adopted the perfectly straight lifestyle and got married.
These things make you feel comfortable and secure. Possessions, a great career and a high income are worthwhile endeavours. Money allows more freedom of choice.
But deeper comfort — contentment — comes from being all that you are, and fully accepted by others without prejudice. When you experience acceptance from your peers and family, for who you are as an out and proud gay man, you are being authentically validated.
Things Don’t Bring You Happiness.
Self-expression leads to change and personal growth, to self actualization, as well as happiness and joy. When you have to hold back your authentic self — your gayness, or your queer identity — what else do you have to keep boxed in and locked away?
As gay men I believe we have a responsibility to come out of the shadows. No more, “That nice gay man down the street“, or “That nice gay couple.“
Fuck Being Nice!
Nice is simply another word to describe something normal, acceptable, conforming, and acceptable.
I’m not advocating being mean, disrespectful, or a horrible person! When we are “nice” it also means we are fitting in, not messing with the status quo.
Are You Tired Of Holding Back Your Queerness?
Imagine never having to worry about,
“Am I being too gay?”
Is this too gay? Seriously? What the fuck is that for a question?
And yes, I have asked myself the same fucking question and I felt like SHIT for even considering if my actions were too gay.
This is called internalized homophobia, and it’s exactly what heteronormative society WANTS us to feel.
When we feel ashamed of who we are we hide our truth, our gifts, our talents, and we hold back our voice.
Just take a moment and let that last thought sink in…
Change Is Disruption. Being Openly Queer Is Disruptive.
As a gay man you have insights and empathy as a result of having grown up in the closet.
You had to suppress your truth and deal with the shame of being different. You didn’t deserve to feel shame, but even if you grew up in a loving home, society at large reinforced that you were damaged and out of the ordinary.
Just like our community has taken back words like fag and queer, let me suggest that we are NOT ordinary.
We are NOT like the norm.
We don’t have to conform if we don’t want to.
We Are Extraordinary, Fabulous Individuals!
Imagine how you would feel if you were free to be all you ever wanted to be, to explore what you wanted to do when you came out, but chose not to out of fear.
Maybe you wanted to pursue a career or a calling, but you didn’t because you were afraid you’d be made fun of and labeled as gay.
I wanted to take gymnastics or try ballet, but I was too afraid and lacking in courage to say what I wanted. I grew up in a time when the kids at high school thought those athletic pursuits were only for fags.
What’s Your Coming Out Story?
What’s your unrealized dream or desire that you’ve never spoken about, or never pursued out of fear for your safety, or for wanting acceptance?
Photo by Melvin Thambi on Unsplash