Lessons learned from coming out?

  • BrownsTown

    Posts: 158

    Oct 22, 2011 2:56 PM GMT
    When you came out, did you make any kind of mistakes that you now wish you hadn't? Told someone too soon? Not soon enough? Went about it in the wrong sort of way? Or something else?

    My coming out process was really a wonderful, affirming one, and I'm very lucky for that. But there is one thing I'd change. First a bit of background:

    When I decided to come out, I made a list of all the people I felt I needed to tell in person or on the phone; people I didn't want to have find out about me secondhand. Close friends and family. I then divided them all into 3 groups: easy, medium and hard. (Okay, I'm an engineer, I admit it—I'm all about the process, lol.)

    I didn't go in an exact order, but for the most part, did the easy ones first, so I could work up toward the medium and hard people (the ones I thought would have the most difficult times with it or who might reject me because of my orientation).

    For two of the people on my hard list, my best friend and my brother with whom I am closest, things went very well. But in our conversations, I had mentioned to them that they were on the hard list/how worried I was about telling them. Both of them later told me how horrible they felt that I was so stressed about telling them and how they were on the hard list. So then I felt bad about making them feel bad and apologized. icon_sad.gif

    So, in retrospect, I would have kept a little more of my inner planning/thoughts private. Once they said they were okay with me being gay, I probably should have left it at that.

    Curious to hear what others have done that they might do differently if they had to do it all over again ...
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    Oct 22, 2011 3:17 PM GMT
    Only one mistake that I regret.

    Not doing is SOONER.
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    Oct 22, 2011 3:20 PM GMT
    TropicalMark saidOnly one mistake that I regret.

    Not doing is SOONER.


    Ditto my friend icon_smile.gif
  • Profire

    Posts: 224

    Oct 22, 2011 3:22 PM GMT
    TriAthInCA said
    TropicalMark saidOnly one mistake that I regret.

    Not doing is SOONER.


    Ditto my friend icon_smile.gif

    +2
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    Oct 22, 2011 4:54 PM GMT
    BrownsTown saidWhen you came out, did you make any kind of mistakes that you now wish you hadn't?

    ...I had mentioned to them that they were on the hard list/how worried I was about telling them. Both of them later told me how horrible they felt that I was so stressed about telling them and how they were on the hard list. So then I felt bad about making them feel bad and apologized. icon_sad.gif

    So, in retrospect, I would have kept a little more of my inner planning/thoughts private. Once they said they were okay with me being gay, I probably should have left it at that....


    From what I read here, it seems to me you said nothing offensive so your apology should amount to mere courtesy. You honored them with both your honesty which was not said mistakenly to hurt them but to relate to them both how important they are to your life and possibly to express, probably not unduly so, that something about their behavior or their past words either to you or said in your presence might be something that they want to check on. So to be beyond humble, sure, why not, an apology, (I'm sorry that I made you feel bad about you making me feel bad) but to be real (just by my guessing that over the course of the years you were with them, they probably said things or behaved maybe even a wee bit homophobic, not knowing you were in the closet) it is not a matter for your regret.

    For me, I had three mistakes, none of which apparently, could have been avoided. So then are they mistakes or just stumbling blocks? Mistake one was being born on the wrong planet. I was scheduled for a normal planet where I wouldn't have to announce my sexuality to my family and friends later in life, you know, just like they don't have to. But I must have made a wrong turn. I've got to remember for next time: it's a left at Mars, duh!

    Mistake two was coming out to my college roommate of two years, who let the cat out of the bag by morning in our nonstop party, pretty much everyone knows everyone, 13-story, dormatory-style off-campus building. One day I was me, the next day I was gayme. In retrospect, everyone was very nice about it (& this was before Will&Grace). At the time I was scared to death.

    Mistake three I do not believe was my mistake, though it might have been, rather I suspect the revisionism of my childhood friends who I'm still close to, who all told me that they would have accepted me had I come out in my early youth and some have expressed disappointment that I didn't trust them then. Some of what they say might be true. But also some of it is them projecting their more mature selves onto their childhoods.

    We see and hear too much when we are invisible. Our apology is not demanded to explain ourselves, of why we felt the way we did, because (even if they never would have meant it personally) they expressed then what they did.

    It isn't as if we start off closeted because we see such a welcoming world. They are the ones who put us there. They are the ones who owe us an apology.
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    Oct 22, 2011 5:32 PM GMT
    So not a big deal. Unless you can invite all the people in your life into a room and tell them at the same time, it has to occur serially, in some sequence. Some people will always be after others for whatever reasons, and often "easier first" is the common one.

    As for telling people their positions and why, you're just adding an additional dose of honesty on top of the "main honesty event."

    My last few were done years after the initial batch because they were the handful of religious types I'm close to. And we're not talking Unitarians or Episcpalians with a lesbian priest either icon_smile.gif

    They expressed exactly what your brother did, but we're all fine, and they know the full truth now. Not just about me, but about how their respective churches changed their relationship with me versus the majority of my friends (who are atheists).

    So, I'm confident you and bro will be fine. It's a small thing in the big picture of your relationship, and it was honest and true.
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    Oct 23, 2011 1:04 AM GMT
    I've been out 20 years and still haven't bought a single rainbow flag.
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    Oct 23, 2011 1:19 AM GMT
    DONT DO IT IN A MOVING CAR!!!!!

    Not something from personal expirence but something I witnessed first hand. A friend offered to give me a ride and while we waited for his mom he asked if I would help him come out to her. I said of course, thinking that it would be later down the road. As the three of us drove down the road he turned and smiled at me. I thought it was odd but I didnt think anything of it at first, until he turned and told his mom that hes gay. She wasnt really expecting that and nearly drove us off the road. I dont know if I half expected this or if my reflexs just happened to be in over drive at the time but I reach up to grab the wheel and steer us straight. I told her to pull over. It was clear that she was kind of freaking out so once she stopped the car I went to her door and helped her out. I told my friend to wait in the car while we talked. She went on about the usually, "where did I go wrong? what can I do? what if he gets AIDS? ect" She finally calmed down enough for me to let her know that there was nothing she could have down and that this isnt a choice also that he had just as much of a chance getting AIDS if he was straight and didnt pratice safe sex. I told her that she just need to remember that no matter what her son does it doenst change that fact that he is still the young man she helped raise, I told her that I knew him well enough to know that he was a good guy with a great heart and it was mostly due to how she had raised him. She then of course asked if I was gay and dating her son I told her yes to one count but I was not in any kind of relationship with her son.

    She stood there for a minute or two then raced to the passenger side and yanked the door open. At first I thought she was going to do something rash but then she pulled him into a hug and said that no matter what she loved him and was there for him.

    This was an emotional sight for me since I had been kicked out of my parents house just a few months before when I had came out. It was nice to see that not everyone reacts the same way and it gave me hope.

    For the record now my parents have come around and accepted me, but I wouldnt feel comfortable bring a guy home for christmas any time soon.
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    Oct 23, 2011 1:23 AM GMT
    bsheets88 said... I dont know if I half expected this or if my reflexs just happened to be in over drive at the time but I reach up to grab the wheel and steer us straight.
    ...
    Wait...you mean to tell me your friend came out to his mom, and you "steered" both you and your friend straight as a result? icon_eek.gif
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    Oct 23, 2011 1:24 AM GMT
    Just be yourself at the same time always like yourself
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    Oct 23, 2011 1:25 AM GMT
    paulflexes said
    bsheets88 said... I dont know if I half expected this or if my reflexs just happened to be in over drive at the time but I reach up to grab the wheel and steer us straight.
    ...
    Wait...you mean to tell me your friend came out to his mom, and you "steered" both you and your friend straight as a result? icon_eek.gif


    straight as in not swerving off the road
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    Oct 23, 2011 2:02 AM GMT
    I came out at work, wish I hadn't. It isn't always necessary.
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    Oct 23, 2011 2:21 AM GMT
    bsheets88 saidDONT DO IT IN A MOVING CAR!!!!!

    Not something from personal expirence but something I witnessed first hand. A friend offered to give me a ride and while we waited for his mom he asked if I would help him come out to her. I said of course, thinking that it would be later down the road. As the three of us drove down the road he turned and smiled at me. I thought it was odd but I didnt think anything of it at first, until he turned and told his mom that hes gay. She wasnt really expecting that and nearly drove us off the road. I dont know if I half expected this or if my reflexs just happened to be in over drive at the time but I reach up to grab the wheel and steer us straight. I told her to pull over. It was clear that she was kind of freaking out so once she stopped the car I went to her door and helped her out. I told my friend to wait in the car while we talked. She went on about the usually, "where did I go wrong? what can I do? what if he gets AIDS? ect" She finally calmed down enough for me to let her know that there was nothing she could have down and that this isnt a choice also that he had just as much of a chance getting AIDS if he was straight and didnt pratice safe sex. I told her that she just need to remember that no matter what her son does it doenst change that fact that he is still the young man she helped raise, I told her that I knew him well enough to know that he was a good guy with a great heart and it was mostly due to how she had raised him. She then of course asked if I was gay and dating her son I told her yes to one count but I was not in any kind of relationship with her son.

    She stood there for a minute or two then raced to the passenger side and yanked the door open. At first I thought she was going to do something rash but then she pulled him into a hug and said that no matter what she loved him and was there for him.

    This was an emotional sight for me since I had been kicked out of my parents house just a few months before when I had came out. It was nice to see that not everyone reacts the same way and it gave me hope.

    For the record now my parents have come around and accepted me, but I wouldnt feel comfortable bring a guy home for christmas any time soon.


    MY FAVORITE COMING OUT STORY!

    This should be filmed. In the movie 'A Home at the End of the World' , this scene would have fit in so perfectly.
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    Oct 23, 2011 2:40 AM GMT
    What I learned from coming out:

    Nobody gives a shit if you're gay.

    The end.
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    Oct 23, 2011 2:54 AM GMT
    I think I came out at the perfect time because I did it when I was out of school and I did it at the age where all of my friends started going to bars. I didn't feel like having the pressure to make a move on girls every time we went out, so I just told them why I never made a move on girls. I guess my only regret is not telling my bro sooner. He asked me if I was gay several times and I denied it every time.
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    Oct 23, 2011 11:21 AM GMT
    Joe122,

    So how did your brother handle it when you did tell him?
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    Oct 23, 2011 11:41 AM GMT
    Profire said
    TriAthInCA said
    TropicalMark saidOnly one mistake that I regret.

    Not doing is SOONER.


    Ditto my friend icon_smile.gif

    +2



    +3
  • baldone

    Posts: 826

    Oct 23, 2011 12:03 PM GMT
    hoosier_daddy said
    Profire said
    TriAthInCA said
    TropicalMark saidOnly one mistake that I regret.

    Not doing is SOONER.


    Ditto my friend icon_smile.gif

    +2



    +3
    +4 so very sorry i waited so long!!!
  • BrownsTown

    Posts: 158

    Oct 23, 2011 4:30 PM GMT
    Off topic, but hoosier_daddy is the best profile name ever, lol!!
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    Oct 23, 2011 4:31 PM GMT
    Two things learned:

    1. yep, like a previous posted said, people don't really care.

    2. and yep, very clique, but I feel a lot freer.