Continuing our quarterly discussion around sexuality and coming out we’re going to be focusing directly on coming out this month. For the first post of the month, we’ll take a look at it from a few different perspectives.
What is Coming Out?
When we talk about coming out we usually mean telling people about our sexuality. But, it’s about more than that. After all, there are other things we keep locked in that closet.
To better understand what your deeper coming out journey might look like, consider these questions. What do you keep from other people? It can be things like a fetish, but also anything that you find embarrassing. If you have a hobby that isn’t considered “masculine” are you hiding it? What else are you keeping under wraps that could use a “coming out”?
Why Do We Hide?
Most queer men awaken to their difference around seven years old. Long before they understand sexuality. We just know there’s something about us that isn’t the same as other boys. We start to hide our true selves from other people. As we reach puberty we become aware of what’s really going on. We start to actively hide our attraction to other boys. That need to be “normal” spreads way beyond our sexuality.
We hide interests that may be perceived as less masculine. I know someone who hid music and participated in sports so he would be perceived as straight. Whatever it looked like for you, hiding became an important coping mechanism. What other things might you still be hiding? Coming out is bigger than who we love. It’s about who we really are.
Dealing with Family Traditions.
You probably enjoy most of your family’s traditions. But, there may be some that don’t resonate with you. They may love hockey but you don’t. They may be business professionals while you’re a creative. It can be challenging to have yet another thing that sets you apart from your loved ones.
Many of us are so desperate for acceptance form our families that we’re willing to do too much to get it. It’s perfectly okay to join in simply so we can spend time with people we love. However, when you start to feel obligated, or even resentful, then you need to take a step back and consider whether you’ve gone too far.
Drifting Away from Your Friends.
Coming out can be hard on your friend group. Sometimes the people we thought we could count on don’t deal well. That’s just homophobia. It’s something they need to work on, not you.
But, a big life change can shift a lot of things. Most of us are more interested in spending time with a new love interest than with our friends. Friendships suffer a bit. It happens to everyone, regardless of their sexuality.
Exploring your new world when you come out is understandable. What parts of your new life do you hide from your friends? How about your new people, are you hiding anything from them?. Part of experiencing freedom is being open about what you’re interested in and exploring it. Being honest gives all your friendships an opportunity to grow deeper and be more authentic. That’s always a good thing.
As you consider coming out, try to be more open about every aspect of who you are. Finding the love and respect you deserve, just for being you, is the reason you came out in the first place.