Going Back In... The Closet?

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    Mar 21, 2007 8:28 PM GMT
    I'm a gay man, partnered, in a not-so gay community, playing men's softball for a homophobic coach and a few teammates as well. We're a traveling team, so I share rooms with most of these guys. Obviously, not attracted to any of them - yes, some are handsome and fit, but I simply don't think that way. We are very competitive team - Level B - and I've had to tryout to play for them. I'm close to being one of the best hitters on the team, so my value is there. I love these guys as if they were my brothers and I feel this is mutual. I don't have a hard time hiding my sexuality, mainly because it really isn't anyone's business. But my partner has expressed his thoughts and he doesn't believe I should hide who I am. There aren't many gay athletic softball players around here to talk to about this - my partner couldn't through a ball to save his life - so I'd like to get your take on my situation. What would you do? Would you go back in the closet to do something you desperately love to do?
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    Mar 21, 2007 9:53 PM GMT
    I personally do not think it is anyone's business what your sexual orientation is. What you choose to do and who you choose to be your partner is your private business. They only time it would be a concern of course is if your partner went to your games and/or hung out with all of your team mates, then you may want to share your relationship. You should be yourself and if it comes up then address it at that time.
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    Mar 21, 2007 10:41 PM GMT
    Tough spot.

    I've found that, in the younger generation having a gay / bi friend is "cool."

    Sports, and the military, seem to be the last places where queers don't exist. ROFL

    I, too, don't think it's anyone's business who I sleep with, but sometimes, word gets around, or it just becomes obvious.

    I, too, don't think of anything in my athletic endeavors as a sexual thing, but, sometimes a straight alpha male takes things to far. I've got a strong streak of alpha male, too. I'm just an equal opportunity person (fucker / fuckee).

    Here's how I deal with it, personally. If someone wants to know, I tell them. I'm not lowering my integrity to live a lie, for anyone. And, if they say something like how does it feel to get blankety blanked up the behind, I respond "neato. God gave man a prostate for reason." The, I giggle. Almost always that's good for a quick laugh, and the subject gets dropped.

    When one is deceitful, and runs from an adversary (unless the adversary truely has you outgunned) it only makes the situation worse. Kind of the "bully" scenario. One has to be honest with himself and those around him. Living a lie is silliness.

    My sexuality is not near the top of my priorities; I almost always make it a non-issue.
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    Mar 21, 2007 10:43 PM GMT
    A have to add this: once people find out queers don't bite, they become way more accepting. That's why it's so very important to be true to oneself.

    I have an awesome relationship with most of my athletic friends. I get to say "he's hot, or she's hot" and get away with it. Twice the fun.
  • atxclimber

    Posts: 480

    Mar 21, 2007 11:03 PM GMT
    I was at the climbing gym last night and a guy was doing these pull-ups on a hangboard with lock-off; pull up halfway and hold for 3 seconds, all the way, hold 3 seconds, halfway down, 3 seconds, all the way down, 3 seconds. Harder than normal pull-ups, but great for climbing since lock-off strength is an asset when you're climbing.

    Anyway, I made some comment about how it reminded me of the "300" workout those guys did, training for the movie, or whatever, and another guy said, "I haven't seen that yet."

    "Man," I said, "those guys got in SHAPE. They were unbelievably hot."

    "Well," he said, jokingly affecting a lisp, "I guess I better go see it, then."

    That was vaguely uncomfortable, but I just quipped back, "Hey, don't knock it. They've got plenty of naked girls for you guys who prefer the ladies. Equal-opportunity!"

    He did the little registration-pause -- I've seen this a lot, straight guys very often do it when I mention being gay, bring up a boyfriend in casual conversation, etc. Usually I bring it up in response to a direct question or something like that, and they always kind of laugh a little, but then pause for a split-second, registering what I said.

    The key there is that I treat it all as a total non-issue. I don't act awkward or uncomfortable, I just keep talking, and their little flinch-pause passes and they're fine.

    Like Chuck says, making it clear we don't bite is key. I'd add to that: going out of your way to behave in a comfortable manner about it yourself will put them at ease, more, too. If you blush bright red and get incredibly awkward, they're not going to be the ones to bring it back down to a casual level, but if you really give off the air that it's no big deal, I find most guys are really quite fine with it.

    I tend to use the same rules Chuck does. I will almost never spontaneously bring up my sexuality -- but, really, straight people don't, either. They might say a girl is hot, but they won't just out of the blue say, "You know, I'm really very heterosexual." Similarly, I'll make small comments about how ripped a guy in 300 was, or whatever, but not be like "Man, I would love to SUCK HIM OFF RIGHT NOW." Talk about making everyone uncomfortable.

    But if anyone asks a question that kind of begs the response, then like last night I'll just tell them, and make it no big deal. A coworker asked about my last boyfriend, because I mentioned living with him at lunch when talking to a friend. "Oh, do you have a roommate to help pay the mortgage?" I laughed, "No, I just live with my boyfriend. And he doesn't help pay the mortgage anyway."

    Immediately he did the half-laugh, registration-pause, and then lunch continued as normal.
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    Mar 22, 2007 2:25 AM GMT
    The cornerstone to liberty is privacy. But personally I couldn't imagine keeping a loved one a secret.
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    Mar 22, 2007 3:02 AM GMT
    I dunno. Going into the closet suggest suppressing or imprisoning. Maybe that is not what you meant. You don't have to let everyone know personal stuff or every detail or your life, but you need to be who you are.

    I don't think you can be truly be happy unless you can be who you are. If you feel uncomfortable or unhappy in a situation, maybe you can ask yourself if what you are doing is really worth it.

    Also remember a part of being a man is the courage to go against the grain sometimes. I always admire a man who is confident and self aware. I knew a Marine drill Sargent like this - to this day I still look up to him.
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    Mar 22, 2007 3:32 AM GMT
    Maybe my experience is normal...but I'm a high school coach and I've never had any issues being gay. I dated the same guy for 4 years, and he came to x-mas parties, scouting trips...everything. But like these guys said, I never allowed it to be an issue. He was just there. It did help though (I think) that he understands and knows the game well, so he fit into the situation quite well.
  • Laurence

    Posts: 942

    Mar 22, 2007 10:56 AM GMT
    I agree with chuckystud on this issue. If you are asked about it don't lie. But I really don't believe you should be running round the locker room telling everyone you're Gay.

    Your sexuality is your business and it shouldn't effect your ability to play sport. You are there to hit runs (or whatever you do) and not try to score with your fellow players.

    I don't think you are being dishonest by not talking about your sexuality or your partner all the time. There is nothing more boring or annoying than a Gay guy who has to drop sexual innuendoes and their sexuality into every conversation. Straight men do it about women all the time and that's boring too.
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    Mar 22, 2007 2:57 PM GMT
    Thanks guys, some great advice - truly appreciate your responses.

    I agree, I won't be running around the bases, yelling, "Look at me, I'm a homo" anytime soon. I guess if I did get asked, I'd have to really weigh my options. It would also be a matter of who was asking too - one teammate or a bunch of them. I don't want to lie, but I also don't want to be out-casted or become the next Matthew Shepard.

    True, I probably don't give them much credit as to knowing if they'd understand and not make it an issue out of it, but then again, we're talking about guys growing up in middle-America, backwoods country. (Not stereotyping everyone - I grew up here too, but you know what I mean.)

    I just don't understand why I need to be "out." I'm not hiding, per say, just not divuludging ?

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    Mar 22, 2007 2:59 PM GMT
    (sorry, hit the Submit button too early)

    where was i... divulging information. Is that so wrong? Because I'm gay, do I need to say anything - even if I'm asked, can't I just say, "Does it matter?"
  • Laurence

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    Mar 22, 2007 3:10 PM GMT
    Hey. You don't need to out yourself at all. Only you are in the situation to know whether it's a good idea to talk about your sexuality.

    Sometimes people are just too scared, and not knowledgable enough, to accept someone being Gay. So it may be best you keep your private life private for the few hours a week you play sport.

    No matter how 'out' we all like to believe we are, there are all times, or circumstances, where we don't talk about what we do between the sheets.
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    Mar 22, 2007 5:40 PM GMT
    Here's my 2 cents worth...

    I'm out to all family/friends, but not at work and not with the Tennis group I play with. With the tennis group, I haven't had any conversations with anyone not relating to our games, but if I did and was asked directly, I'd tell them I've been partnered for 11 years and leave it at that. The good thing about "coming out" is you only have to tell one person and eventually everyone else knows. There's a "firestorm" initially and then everyone moves on. However, we don't travel and share rooms with each other. That opens a whole new "can of worms" for the guys. I'd select a "cool straight friend" on the team and ask his advice and go from there.

    In the work arena, I'm not "out" because I don't like to mix personal life with business. I not a "picture on the desk" kind of person and I don't want to meet my co-workers spouses, kids etc. I have friends in the industry who I socialize with who know my sexual preference and I'm sure they've told others, but I don't talk about any private business (family, friends, trips, finances, etc) with the people I work with. I've found that it can lead to conversations in the workplace that don't belong there (religion, morality, etc). The people I work with are co-workers, but not people I would choose to be friends with in a social setting.

    Wrap all this in the fact that I'm in the Bay Area, so it's much easier to be "out" here than in Pittsburgh, where I grew up, or in Kentucky or the midwest.

    In general, in any decision I make I do a "Risk/Reward" analysis. If it's important to YOU to tell your fellow players for your Peace of Mind, then do so. But don't do it because your Partner, Friend, Family or anyone else suggests you do it. Only YOU know what's right for YOU.
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    Mar 22, 2007 7:07 PM GMT
    hi, i would have to agree with lawrence and chucky. you need to just keep it to yourself.. again agreeing with the other guys, its not a lie, you're just keeping yourself from getting into a sticky situation that may not be so easy to get out of. besides, if there are any of those teammmates that are homophobic,... well, then you know that only has disaster written all over it. at least you're being honest with yourself. and its not like you're broadcasting it all over that you're a gay man...sometimes keeping those things to yourself is the best way.. kinda like a "dont ask, dont tell" kinda thing. and what they dont know wont hurt them...sometimes being in the closet maight be a better idea. some of us men cant handle the stress. but hey, its all good. nothing but the best to you and tyour teammates buddy.
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    Jan 16, 2013 3:32 AM GMT
    i battle with this a lot, since i hang in super male straight crowds..

    im often surprised at who automatically knows, and who does not...

    ive had new friends who spot the gayness right away, and bring it up themselves, causing me to have a register pause!!icon_rolleyes.gif

    other folks who are just dumfounded when they find out, as if they were betrayed a little....

    its always fine.... its still not my main identity, even though many people want to make it the primary identifier for me.... (awkward)!!
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    Jan 16, 2013 3:33 AM GMT
    I only go back in the closet if I forget to put something on that I need to make my outfit look proper.
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    Jan 16, 2013 4:09 AM GMT
    dan_x saidI only go back in the closet if I forget to put something on that I need to make my outfit look proper.
    I leave my closet door open so others can watch.

    The upside down hat is near the closet door for tips.