Most people who identify somewhere on the LGBT spectrum have had, or will have, a coming out story. Some are happy, some are sad, some are painful, some are funny, some are surprising. The point is, no matter what it is we all have one, regardless of how long or short it is.
I have my own, but I’m not going to go into it here because honestly that’s not what I want to talk about today, plus it’s kind of long and convoluted and will probably take up an entire blog post on its own. However, now I’ve gone off on a tangent. Everyone has a coming out story, and if you openly identify as LGBT then it’s more than likely that at some point you’ll end up discussing your own coming story.
Honestly, it seems like it’s a favourite topic of conversation whenever a large group of LGBT people get together. Somehow the conversation at some point will more than likely end up drifting there and you’ll either offer up your own story, or someone will ask you about it directly.
Now usually when people ask you about your coming out story they’re really asking about two pretty key moments:
- That moment when you first came to terms with your own sexuality
- That moment when you first told those people closest to you
These moments don’t always occur at the same time, in fact they rarely do, and more often than not they’re made up of a series of events, often spanning months or even years. I know in my own story I pull together a number of specific events that span over a decade in total.
One of the things they don’t often tell you about coming out is that you very rarely come out just the once. You very rarely tell everyone in your life in one go and then never have to tell anyone ever again. Unless perhaps you make a Facebook post and pin it to the top of your profile. The thing is that throughout your life you meet new people, you end up in new situations, and every time you have to work out exactly how you’re going broach the subject, if at all.
A lot of the time the situation can be pretty easy to navigate, simply because the situation is one where you really don’t need to talk about your personal life anyway. A prime example of this is the fact that I’m a cub leader, and whilst other leaders may be aware, I don’t discuss it with the kids I work with or their parents, just because discussing any relationships I had wouldn’t be appropriate and has no bearing on my skills as a leader. It’s just not relevant.
It’s slightly different situation, for example, when you start a new job or make a new friend. You know that eventually the subject of relationships, dating, and ex’s will probably be brought up at some point. And whilst it’s 2018 and most people I’ve met don’t give a shit, there are still people that have some pretty strong opinions about LGBT people in general. Therefore, I usually tend to avoid broaching the subject directly until I’ve managed to get a feel for the attitudes of people around me.
Eventually however, either from a nosy colleague or an inquisitive child, you get the ‘do you have a boyfriend?’ or the ‘are you seeing anyone?’ question. Then you have to figure out how you’re going to answer that question. At the moment my answer to those types of questions is simple, I’ve been single for so long it’s almost painful, so my answer is just simply ‘No, I’m not with anyone at the moment, and no I’m not looking either.’ If I want to expand on that then it’s up to me, and up to if I feel comfortable with expanding, or if I feel it’s appropriate too.
I’ve almost fully resigned myself to the fact that I’ll quite possibly spend the rest of my life ‘coming out’ at some point or another. However, there are some places that I go where I don’t have to come out, where I know that no one will give a damn at all, in fact the assumption is usually made that most people there fall somewhere on the LGBT spectrum. Places where you don’t have to even think to filter what you say based on how you think someone will react.
Those times are refreshing. They are places where you can be yourself truly without giving it a second thought. It gives me hope that maybe someday we will all just be able to be, without having to second guess ourselves every time we come out. That coming out wont be a thing at all, because no one will care at all, other than to be supportive and happy for you.