Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Coming Out

I have decided to come out as a gay man. There you have it. Are you shocked? I have seen five decades plus and this is the first time I have officially come out.

I have never really found the need to come out. If you read my brief profile blurb, it says I am gay. I expect saying it there has saved a lot botheration. That is pretty well the extent of me coming out. How can I come out when I have never been in?

As I age and the hormones don't race like they used to, and what a relief that is, this coming out business for gay men puzzles me. In gay media I constantly hear tales of teenagers stressing about coming out. I don't get the point of it.

At some point in my life, R appeared to my family. They accepted him. At some point the Bone Doctor appeared in Sister's life, and she too was accepted. (I recall writing to Mother saying that I hoped Bone Doctor would be accepted as R was. Mother never mentioned the letter or replied and she hasn't accepted Bone Doctor as well as she did R. Perhaps more about personalities).

I suppose most of my readers are of a certain age and have children or may, or have a while ago. Modern thinking is perhaps that you ask them? Once you know, you can smooth a path for them, make them comfortable in their sexuality, educate them about STDs, tell them that it does not matter. Hey son/daughter, you can even have children now.

Forget it. At the age of 16 and if you have brung them up right, they are close to being an adult. Just let them work things out for themselves. God forbid that they have to decide anything at that age. They don't have to come out and you don't have to second guess them.

Maybe it does not apply to all, but I expect many parents fear for their teenage children because they remember what they were like at that age. Of course it was different back then and there weren't the dangers that are around today. I can't agree. I think it was more dangerous back then.

All they need to know is that they have your love and support, wherever their path takes them. Society really needs to remove a lot of pressure from teenagers in many areas and recognise that teenagers are now much more worldly and educated in the ways of life. But they are still teenagers.

(this post could do with a good polish, but I am over it)

16 comments:

  1. Parents play a big role here. Several of my friends have raised their young kids without forced conceptions of how boys and girls should behave. If a little boy wants to wear a dress like their bigger sister then so be it. They are free to be who they are and what they want and they have done so from a very young age. That's healthy not only for sexual identity but also life in general i think.

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  2. I suppose I have never really come out; not 'formally' anyway.

    I knew I was gay from a very young age, before I even understood exactly what sex is, and whilst I have never proclaimed the fact I don't deny it either if asked.

    Just as heteros don't introduce themselves as 'Hello, my name is XXX and I'm a hetero...' I don't introduce myself as 'Victor, and I'm a homo...'.

    Most of my friends know - well, either that or they are extraordinarily unobservant - and sadly with both parents deceased I now have no family members to come out to.

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  3. Hello Andrew:
    We are fortunate that our own lives are enriched with the companionship of many gay friends both of our ages, and much younger too, whose friendship we delight in.

    As far as we are aware they have never had a problem with 'coming out' as an identifiable issue, but rather have been, and continue to be, themselves - just that. Let the world make of it what it will, as it has to with us all straight or gay.

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  4. I don't see the need for people to formally come out. By the time they decide to do this everyone who knows them will already know anyway, so what's the point? all of my kids have my full love and support no matter what road they travel in life. Although I do wish that "black sheep" would give up the booze, at least a bit.

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  5. Hello, Andrew. Not sure I've ever left you a comment before but I agree with you. I've come out, I guess, but without fanfare. Since Walt and I have been a couple for 28+ years now, well... I guess that's it then. Glad to know you.

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  6. Welcome out of the cupboard :)

    I agree that adolescent children need to know that they have their parents' love and support, wherever their path takes them. But 16 being nearly an adult? Heavens above no....16 year olds are often immature, irresponsible children whose view of Long Term means "next Saturday night".

    There is a very good reason why 16 year olds cannot sign contracts, get married or have tattoos without their parents' consent.

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  7. AdRad, I do agree with you about forced conceptions, up to a point. I would not go to the extent that a boy wears a dress down the street, unless he really really had to, ie does not fit into either role or the one of his born gender well. Bit out of my expertise.

    Victor, it never ceases to amaze me how unobservant some people are. Excuse me, can I just hit you over the head with my sexuality so that you shut about girls. Always tempting to start talking about guys in a similar manner.

    J&L, I am pleased to hear you have many friends, gay or straight. We seem to have less and less, which kind of suits us, but I wonder at times that we aren't too dependent on each other.

    River, that is pretty well the case, or it was. Now some are coming out at 14 and the more it is talked about, the more they will feel the pressure to. I just don't get the need to announce it to the world at such a young age.

    Thanks Ken. Been reading your blogs for quite a while and always entertaining and interesting. Might it depend very much on parents and if they are suspicious, a talk must happen and the teen must tell all. I guess that is my real point. A parent initiated discussion might not be the best thing to do.

    Hels, it was rather a generalisation, perhaps one more accurate years ago when teens would marry and have children and they were generally brought up to be more independent and had responsibilities. I was pretty well out on my own by the age of 16 and fended for myself. My choice. Some are quite mature at 16, but it seems less so now.

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  8. I think people feel the need to come out when they live in places where it is difficult to be gay. I just moved from California to a small town in Oklahoma and the other day heard some people making fun of gay people. I was shocked. I've never heard gay people talked badly about before, but then this is on the fringes of the world. I suspect there are gay people here who don't ever come out publicly. It's sad and stupid.

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  9. Hi Linda. Yes, it can be very different in the country, here too. And who wants a repeat of a Matthew Shepard. But, the more gay people become visible, the harder it will be for extreme types to go against the status quo. Here twenty years ago you could get away with calling a footballer on the field a black c***. Not now. Not just is it not tolerated by players and administration, the general public won't tolerate it. This is spreading out into the county and it won't be long before it is not the done thing, even among the roughest country types.

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  10. You're gay?!!

    Dammit, you've kept that well hidden.

    Levity aside - spot on observations.

    We walked a friend (whose daughter came out in her twenties) through tricky stuff. Only tricky in terms of it challenged parental assumptions and expectations.

    All happy and sorted now. Now no big deal.

    Basically it came down to (dammit I suspect I'm gonna sound trite)you don't lose love and respect for your kids because of the choices they make - or have no choice.

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  11. Daniele Iezzi6:52 pm

    *like*

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  12. Mystery isn't a bad thing, but people like labels I suppose.

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  13. Wow Andrew - you think we didn't notice all the photos of flower arrangements?
    Let's spare a thought for Cher.
    didn't take it well when Chastity broke the news,
    and just when she was getting over that, the other shoe fell right off and Chas is now hetero Chaz or Chuck in a suit. My 4-y-o grandson could very well grow into an aesthete. I can cope with that without a blink.
    His bully-boy cousins may not.
    Bottom line? (no pun) sex is not that big a deal.

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  14. LS, just shows how str8 acting I am. Your words are wise.

    Thanks Daniele.

    Fen, I'm afraid I am a shocker for labels.

    Ann, I didn't arrange the flowers. I didn't know about Chastity, well the last part. An aesthete...what a lovely word for poofta.

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  15. Anonymous12:25 pm

    aesthete was definitely in use as a polite euphemism in the early 1900's.
    As in the great movie In And Out when the students say to the teacher
    "of course you're gay - you wear good clothes and your house is gorgeous and you understand beautiful music and literature". I urge anyone to get this from VideoBuster just for the jilted bride scream scene (Oscar Nom for Joan Cusack).
    My friend who rents out 4 houses has new tenants in one and told me "I have no worries about damage because they are gay". nuff said.
    X X annie

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  16. I've seen In an Out, but my memory of it is hazy. Your friend who rents out his property is making dangerous assumptions.

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