I’m pretty much out to everyone from college, my parents, and all my high school friends. Extended family is a different story. I just haven’t had the need to come out to them.
A few months ago, I moved to Rice Lake, and I’m living with my grandma. I have a bunch of family in this area, and I really dont know many other people. I’m basically not out around here at all.
I got a text from a Wisconsin phone number about a half hour ago that said: “Hey sweetie u do know it is ok to be out and loud and proud! We support u!!”
I had no idea who it was, and I started thinking about who it could possibly be. Finally, I texted back and just asked who it was. It was one of my coworkers. I don’t care that she knows, but it made me think.
It made me think about how I’ve actually gone back into the closet in many ways since moving here. Most of the people I interact with on a daily basis don’t know. And as much as I say that it doesn’t matter, the fact that my mind started racing, wondering who had figured it out, it pisses me off. I haven’t felt that vulnerable or nervous for 3 years. It does matter. The people who “love” me don’t know who I am. I drive an hour to go to a gay bar so I can interact with other people. I do this a couple times a week. It’s not healthy. I’m not sure if I’m going to just go ahead and come out to everyone, but something has got to change. I hate living here, and it’s because I can’t be who I want to be who I am.
National LGBT Pride Month
National Coming Out Day
World AIDS Day
Stonewall Riots Anniversary
National Freedom to Marry Day
National LGBT Health Awareness Week
International Day Against Homophobia
International Pride Month
GLBT History Month
International Day of Tolerance
The list of important LGBT dates could go on and on. As you may or may not know, today was the National Day of Silence. When I was in high school, I knew a couple people each year that observed this day. They would wear a pin, make a t-shirt, or put duct tape over their mouths and spend the whole day in silence. The idea, of course, was to make people think about anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment and the silence that those things impose on members of the LGBT community. I did not identify as gay in high school, but I always felt like I should be involved; however, I never took that step.
Today, I took a vow of silence to recognize this day. I could only commit to 12 hours (8am to 8pm) due to some work conflicts. I’ve just ended my time in silence, and it has had a profound effect on me. I felt so many emotions and so many thoughts flew through my mind and the day went on. Of course, I couldn’t share any of these ideas with those around me, so I’ve come here to recount some of them.
First of all, I felt like my life had backed up a year, and I was crammed back in the closet. Despite the fact I was wearing a shirt that said, “LIKES BOYS” in HUGE print, this feeling of silence was so familiar. My silence before I came out (a little over a year ago) was profound, and I never realized it until I was able to break that silence. I kept a part of who I am silent, even to myself, for so long. I was afraid to even stand up as an ally, for fear of being labelled “gay.” Today, I could not lean over to my best friend and make a short comment about the guy that just passed by, I could not compliment a classmate on her gorgeous hair, and I couldn’t talk about the guys I hope to meet in Spain this summer. The thought that reoccurred most, however, was about the permanence of the silence. I knew that at 8pm today, I could call all my friends and tell them all the pointless things I thought of today. For so many people, that silence does not have a visible end. If you are reading this, and you have one of those heavy silences in your life, I urge you to do whatever you can to break it. It was the most freeing experiences of my life. Yes, there was a lot of stress and worry involved, but in the end, it was SO worth it.
Secondly, I realized all the thoughts, words, and personalities the general public misses when certain members are scared or bullied into silence. A classmate sitting next to me today misheard what our professor said. I had heard it, and I so desperately wanted to correct her, because I care about her, and I don’t want her to be misinformed. But I couldn’t. How applicable this thought is! Often the LGBT community is bullied into silence, and we cannot tell those we care about how misinformed they are, despite our longing to do just that.
Finally, I wanted to reflect on the power of silence and voice. Every day, we talk, and laugh, and sing, and cry, and smile, and frown. The people around us see this, and usually it is not given more than a passing thought. As I spent a day in silence today, almost everyone stopped and took a minute to figure out WHY I was not speaking. I think that stands as a testament to the quality of this day, and this concept. Of course, the silence of those who face it every day is much less noticeable, and that is why we need to use the power in our silence to bring theirs to light. Our voices are powerful as well. Those of us who can end our Day of Silence tonight have a responsibility to use our voices for good. I was recently at an LGBT Politics Panel Discussion, and the question was posed, “What will it take for the general public and lawmakers to finally accept LGBT rights as a normal concept?” One of the panelists replied, “As soon as everyone finds the one LGBT person in their life that they care about.”
People say to me, “why do you need to tell anyone you are gay, unless you are potentially interested in each other; why does anyone else need to know?”
THIS IS WHY!
Since I’ve come out, my parents have reconsidered their attitudes and beliefs. Friends have told me they never really cared about LGBT rights before I came out to them. THIS is the change we are looking for. So, this is my call to action; if you are at a place in your life where you can tell those around you, PLEASE do so. It WILL make a difference.
I also wanted to mention that there are still silences in my life. None of my extended family knows how I identify. I don’t know if they ever will. So I understand a silence that is just too hard to break. Hopefully, one day, I’ll be able to end that silence too.
Warning; this is long and kind of rambly, but you really should read it and help me figure this out… I will love you forever… 🙂
I fear that my following scenario may be difficult for me to articulate. However, I am looking for some advice, thoughts, or comments on my situation, so I will make my most valiant attempt at some form of coherency.
As you may know, I am mostly out of the closet. My extended family and some family friends are just about the only people who are not aware that I dig dudes. Notice the ‘just about’ in the last statement. There are a couple people who I may or may not have neglected to tell, and that may or may not have been intentional. To explain, I need to go back to high school…
During my junior year, a random girl in my Pre-Calc class and I became very good friends. We would knit together to pass the time as our worthless teacher lectured. (May I point out that I have deep respect for teachers; ‘worthless teacher’ was a title that was highly deserved…). Anyway, our friendship developed enough that she asked me to go to the prom with her, as friends. Hesitantly, I said yes. Through the process of planning the event, getting clothes that matched a dress I had never seen, and simply hanging out, I also got to know her family quite well. Her parents (and grandparents, and great-grandparents) absolutely loved me, as they usually do. Her mom joking decided that we were to get married. Not right away; she’d give us some time to get ‘dating other people’ out of our systems, but the wedding date was set for 7 years from our prom. Since then, she’s gotten engaged, had a baby, etc… It continues to be our joke. Here, I would like to clarify that there were never feelings beyond friendship between us, on either side. Today, she is one of my best friends, and I can truly say I love her.
She will assume the label ‘my friend’ for the rest of this post. If I use that phrase, it will refer to her.
Let’s focus on her mother for a minute. Basically, she’s one of my 3 mothers. I have my biological mother, who raised me. (She’s the one I’ve addressed several times in several different posts.) I also have 2 othermothers. They mean the world to me, and the relationship I have with each of them is free of the drama that comes from actual family/blood relation.
She will assume the label ‘my otherMother’ for the rest of this post. If I use that phrase, it will refer to her.
Finally, I need to introduce another character. My friend’s brother. Earlier, I mentioned how my friend’s parents received me. I did not, however, say a thing about her brother. He is younger than her by about 2 years, so she’s a year older than me, and he’s a year younger than me. He feels obligated to be very hard on any male figure that appears in his sister’s life, until he rules out any possibility of that person wanting a relationship with my friend. So, since I am, in fact, a male. I receive a similar treatment full of taunts, jests, pranks, and evil glances. This dynamic, over time faded into what I can only imagine would be a dynamic between brothers. He really has become a brother to me. I’m not sure if I’m the older brother or the younger, but I’m inclined to believe the latter. He means a lot to me, but since we are like brothers, we’ve never really had a heart-to-heart and discussed how much we really mean to each other.
He will assume the label ‘my otherBrother’ for the rest of this post. If I use that phrase, it will refer to him.
And finally, the last piece of background information you need; Before I figured myself out, and began this whole crazy ride that has been ‘coming out,’ we (the three aforementioned people and I) had a small inside joke that I was ‘their gay friend who wasn’t really gay.’ Basically because I loved show choir, hated sports, and my friend helped me go ALL OUT for gender-bender day senior year.
The above paragraph contains information important to the dynamic I am about to discuss. Please read it, even if you are skimming this post.
Okay. If you are still with me, God bless your little soul. My ramblings are starting to even lose me… But I PROMISE, there will be a point.
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned that there were a few people who I may not have come out to yet. That would be the three amazing people I just introduced to you. I didn’t make a conscious decision to keep it from them; it just never came up, I guess. I mean, I am out on facebook, but I’m sure they don’t creep on my profile, checking my ‘interested in’ section… So, there is a possibility they know, but I’m pretty sure they don’t.
FINALLY, I’VE GOTTEN TO THE POINT.
Yesterday, I posted a facebook status that said “I’m watching a film that contains a scene where Leo Decaprio makes out with Remus Lupin… My life may be complete…” Later on, my otherBrothercommented, “You’re so gay. Sorry, I tell it like I see it.” Which, I assume was both a response to my overtly gay status and a reference to our little joke.
That comment is what brought me to realize that none of them know. And I don’t feel right about that. However, I have been imagining the conversation with them. My otherBrother, my otherMother, and (since we share both a mother and a brother) my friend, who is basically a sister to me. It’s like coming out to my parents again, except that I have siblings. Also I keep imagining, “Hey I wanted to tell you something – I’ve told everybody else in the world, including a bunch of people on tumblr and wordpress who I’ve never men – but you just slipped my mind.”
Okay. I’m done. Do you have any thoughts? Can you ask questions if all the words above just launched you into confusion? Please! I will send you hugs and bonus points and cats and cake for your comments. I don’t know what kind of comments I’m looking for. I guess I’m most concerned about telling my big brother, because he’s my big brother. My mom and my sister will understand, probably. But I’m getting this weird cross of emotions between wanting to tell him that he-really-is-the-brother-I-never-had,-and-that-he-means-the-world-to-me and feeling that it’s about time he knows I like guys…
And, since this started out in letter form, despite that fact that I changed voices in my writing about 51 times:
Sincerely & with Love,
Homophobia and heteronormative attitudes are not genetic, but they are family traits nonetheless. This reality slapped me across the face this week, when I visited my uncle and his family. My mom’s brother, Paul is married to Judy. He is my godfather, as well, and we have always been very close. They have 4 children, ages 8, 6, 3, and 7 months. These kids should be blind to certain societal views, but those views that are frequently vocalized by their parents are already becoming the lens through which they see the world.
K. So. Today is NCOD. I changed my “Interested In” on facebook (which means I added it, because before, I just didn’t say anything). I also got to wear my Chris Colfer “Likes Boys” shirt! Which I love. So now, I’m pretty much completely out. Other than to my extended family, and I don’t really care if they ever do know… That opinion will probably change once I fall in love, but whatever 😛
My parents. What a can of worms I have opened. I know they need time to accept this, but it would be so much easier for me if they took that time themselves instead of saying all these things that get under my skin so badly. They recently sent me an email, and the following is an excerpt from it:
Since you have given Dad and me that letter, we have done a lot of thinking. It was very emotional at times. We have talked more to each other since that than we have in a long time. We didn’t know what to do or what to say so we wanted to go talk to a priest. Well couldn’t find one around that day so we just kept thinking and praying for ya.
Sunday night, I came out to my parents. I wrote them a letter, set it on the table, and told them to read it and said we’d talk whenever they were ready. About 40 minutes later, they called my downstairs. Their reactions were neither the best nor the worst I had envisioned. My mom seemed pretty okay with it; she wasn’t jumping up and down excited, but I think she pretty much knew. My dad, however, more or less said that I’m not mature enough to know this, and said I was confused. Regardless, they said they’d love me no matter what, etc… so I’d say it went better than it could have.
I just gave my parents a letter. It is how I chose to come out to them. I put it on the table, and told them to go read it, and to talk to me about it whenever they’re ready. I’m in my room upstairs now, and I’m fucking terrified. Read the rest of this entry
So, just a quick note… I was going through some papers last night, and found a mailing I received from HRC a while back that I had never opened. I opened it up, and found that it included an HRC sticker!!! I was super pumped, and as soon as it quits raining, and my car dries out, I will be adding it to my bumper 🙂 I’m pretty excited!!!
I am still here.
I’m just not sure if I want to be, or if I should be. I mentioned this before, but I still haven’t figured it out completely. I began this blog to chronicle my coming-out as a bisexual guy in the midwest. And now, I fulfill that really annoying stereotype that bisexuals are just people who haven’t figured out who they are yet, since I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I’m gay, and a bit biromantic.
Here’s the deal. I still firmly believe that bisexuality is a valid identity. Just not for me. I will still correct/argue with someone when they erase bisexuals. And, I still think I have things to write about regarding the journey I am on. It’s just going to be one big happy gay journey instead of one big happy bi journey.
So, I think I am going to keep writing here. It would be a pain to start a new blog, or change my URL, or whatever, so I think I’ll just leave it as is. So, you will still know me as bihidden. Which is confusing, I know. But whatever.
Since I will continue to be a presence here, I figured I should give you a bit of an update on where I am. I was nervous about coming out to a friend, and it went very well, she’s super supportive, etc… I went to my hometown for a week a while back, and came out to a couple friends, a former teacher, and a high school guidance counselor while I was there. I considered coming out to my parents, then my mom got in a bickering mood, so I didn’t. Came back here, accidentally played matchmaker for 2 of my friends, and now all of my close friends are in relationships, and I’m alone. But they aren’t being douches about it, and still find time to hang out with me, which is cool. So, that’s the basics.
If you really hate that I’m still writing this blog, I guess you can quit reading it. However, I REALLY don’t want you to do that. Maybe some day, I will have a problem, and you will be able to give me some really good advice, or something… It would be a shame to miss out on that.