Why is 'coming out of the closet' such a huge deal?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 27, 2014 4:31 PM GMT
    Could someone please tell me why announcing to the world that you're gay/ bi, in an extravagant manner, complete with huge speeches such a big deal? (Merely exaggerating here. Please don't take it literally)
    Does it give you a sense of complacency that those who are still 'in the closet' aren't entitled to?
    As long as it doesn't hurt you, or those around you, it shouldn't matter, right?
    I know that I'm bisexual. The people who I think deserve to know are also aware of my sexual orientation, but it stops there. So what does that make me? 'Partially out of the closet'? And does it really matter if you don't feel like telling every single person you've ever known that you're gay/ bi?
    Thoughts? icon_smile.gif

    [EDIT] I'm not trying to offend anyone, or put down their beliefs. I'm only trying to find answers. Any help would be much appreciated. icon_smile.gif
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    Jul 27, 2014 4:56 PM GMT
    Because being gay and bi is still a big deal for most straight people.
  • tazzari

    Posts: 2937

    Jul 27, 2014 5:33 PM GMT
    Well, I never held a parade, but I let people know because being gay is part of me, because I refuse to take the BS that bigots dish out, and because coming out of the closet moves the political compass towards acceptance. If we'd all stayed in the closet, I hate to think where we'd be today.

    AND - because coming out is mentally healthier.
  • SilverRRCloud

    Posts: 874

    Jul 27, 2014 5:59 PM GMT
    On a personal, as opposed to political level, coming out makes very little sense.

    The guys who need to know, do that already. Telling a dude whom you are messing around with that you are gay is somewhat superfluous. The dudes in your club/bar/spa/cruising grounds/grindr, etc. know that you are not collecting audience for the bible class and the Sunday school.

    Telling the guys who are not gay that you are gay is of very little interest or importance to them, unless they want to go around gossiping, and pretending that they are "well-informed". How is anyone benefitting from this?

    I doubt that I need their support or approval either. My life is my business. Furthermore, what are those dudes supposed to say? That they like/not like you because you are gay? I would not want to hear either of the two. I'd rather be liked/disliked for other things.

    Now, I have come across quite a few guys who believe that telling everyone that they are gay increases their dating chances. I doubt that very much. I know a number of self-declared gay guys I would neither date nor have anything to do with. I am sure that being gay does not mean that you are obliged to hook up/date/make friends/whatever with anyone else because they say, they are gay. (Good for them!)

    I have also come to believe that quite a few guys do not wish to wear their sexuality on their sleeves, and run for the hills if you go around flaunting your gayness one way or the other. If you keep it quiet, you have good chances with quite a number of guys who may or may not see themselves as gay but enjoy messing around with other dudes on the condition that this does not become the gossip subject in the hood or at the gym/work...

    SC




  • Danskerb

    Posts: 286

    Jul 27, 2014 6:02 PM GMT
    At the moment... it is just something that needs to be accepted by both the person coming out and by everyone around them. We can only hope that one day socially there is no need to come to terms with who you or your friends really are.
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    Jul 27, 2014 6:26 PM GMT
    Danskerb saidAt the moment... it is just something that needs to be accepted by both the person coming out and by everyone around them. We can only hope that one day socially there is no need to come to terms with who you or your friends really are.


    All the replies were great, but this is what I was looking for when I started this thread! Thank you so much! icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jul 27, 2014 6:29 PM GMT
    icon_rolleyes.gif Typical. Only looking for the answers they want.
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    Jul 27, 2014 6:42 PM GMT
    SIN: Safety In Numbers


    My Tea Party Baptist sister asks this question all the time, she recently brought up football player Michael Sam. Coming out has been the forefront of the gay rights movement since Stonewall. There wouldn't be a gay rights movement without people coming out and telling their stories. When my sister asked why did Michael Sam have to come out and potentially cause "problems" in the locker room, she said, "nobody cares if your gay, if someone asks, just tell them", I said "what you are asking us is to go back into the closet". She and her kind prefer that we not say anything, (I suppose to squash the movement) such as what Hollywood elite advise top entertainers not to come out (enter John Travolta, Tom Cruise...etc) in fear that it could ruin their career. Because of so many coming out, celebrity or not, coming out is no longer a career killer as it once was. As the gay rights movement, equality and gay marriage moves forward, coming out officially and in general, pride parades, maybe a thing of the past, but until our community achieves full equality and the religious right finally dies off, we as a community will need to continue to support our people publicly coming out. We are not a disorder that should be shamed, suppressing the coming out process would just contribute to more depressed, angry people. Acceptance is a virtue, yourself and from others. The more visible we become, the faster rate we become accepted by others.


    closet1.jpg
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    Jul 27, 2014 7:02 PM GMT
    scruffLA said
    SIN: Safety In Numbers


    My Tea Party Baptist sister asks this question all the time, she recently brought up football player Michael Sam. Coming out has been the forefront of the gay rights movement since Stonewall. There wouldn't be a gay rights movement without people coming out and telling their stories. When my sister asked why did Michael Sam have to come out and potentially cause "problems" in the locker room, she said, "nobody cares if your gay, if someone asks, just tell them", I said "what you are asking us is to go back into the closet". She and her kind prefer that we not say anything, such as what Hollywood elite advise top entertainers not to come out (enter John Travolta, Tom Cruise...etc) in fear that it could ruin their career. Because of so many coming out, celebrity or not, coming out is no longer a career killer as it once was. As the gay rights movement, equality and gay marriage moves forward, coming out officially and in general, pride parades, maybe a thing of the past, but until our community achieves full equality and the religious right finally dies off, we as a community will need to continue to support our people publicly coming out. We are not a disorder that should be shamed, suppressing the coming out process would just contribute to more depressed, angry people. Acceptance is a virtue, yourself and from others. The more visible we become, the faster rate we become accepted by others.


    closet1.jpg


    I completely agree with you. What I'm trying to understand is, shouldn't being accepted by those you truly care about be all that matters?
    "We are not a disorder that should be shamed, suppressing the coming out process would just contribute to more depressed, angry people." We are NOT a disorder. So why is coming out such a huge deal? Straight people don't have to announce to the world that they're straight. Why do we? Why the extra attention? Why not just let the people who'd be affected by your choices be told of your preferences?
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    Jul 27, 2014 7:05 PM GMT
    ronjayaram said
    scruffLA said
    SIN: Safety In Numbers


    My Tea Party Baptist sister asks this question all the time, she recently brought up football player Michael Sam. Coming out has been the forefront of the gay rights movement since Stonewall. There wouldn't be a gay rights movement without people coming out and telling their stories. When my sister asked why did Michael Sam have to come out and potentially cause "problems" in the locker room, she said, "nobody cares if your gay, if someone asks, just tell them", I said "what you are asking us is to go back into the closet". She and her kind prefer that we not say anything, such as what Hollywood elite advise top entertainers not to come out (enter John Travolta, Tom Cruise...etc) in fear that it could ruin their career. Because of so many coming out, celebrity or not, coming out is no longer a career killer as it once was. As the gay rights movement, equality and gay marriage moves forward, coming out officially and in general, pride parades, maybe a thing of the past, but until our community achieves full equality and the religious right finally dies off, we as a community will need to continue to support our people publicly coming out. We are not a disorder that should be shamed, suppressing the coming out process would just contribute to more depressed, angry people. Acceptance is a virtue, yourself and from others. The more visible we become, the faster rate we become accepted by others.


    closet1.jpg


    I completely agree with you. What I'm trying to understand is, shouldn't being accepted by those you truly care about be all that matters?
    "We are not a disorder that should be shamed, suppressing the coming out process would just contribute to more depressed, angry people." We are NOT a disorder. So why is coming out such a huge deal? Straight people don't have to announce to the world that they're straight. Why do we? Why the extra attention? Why not just let the people who'd be affected by your choices be told of your preferences?



    um, did you miss this part?

    Coming out has been the forefront of the gay rights movement since Stonewall.
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    Jul 27, 2014 7:33 PM GMT
    It creates visibility and political power.

    It removes a source of potential friction in a romantic relationship.

    It's a tool for the "gay community" and those who claim to speak for it (e.g., the asshole Dan Savage) to create division and grab at power.

    It can be a more comfortable way of living for some gay guys.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Jul 27, 2014 10:39 PM GMT
    It's a "big deal" because of fear of rejection, by family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, one's church, and in many countries, there is the fear of imprisonment or death.
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    Aug 24, 2014 2:37 PM GMT
    For me the possibility of living the same life would change. Being Bisexual myself, I'd judge people often on their sexual orientation. Say, if he is straight I wont hit on him. similarly any straight girl wont hit on me if she learns that I am Bi. Not talking out of assumption, but I have been there! Moreover methinks, when everyone is minding their business why would I shout on my sexuality without been asked.
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    Aug 24, 2014 3:12 PM GMT
    tazzari saidWell, I never held a parade, but I let people know because being gay is part of me, because I refuse to take the BS that bigots dish out, and because coming out of the closet moves the political compass towards acceptance. If we'd all stayed in the closet, I hate to think where we'd be today.

    AND - because coming out is mentally healthier.

    I believe your last point is very important. Most guys I've heard talk about their coming out will mention the great emotional burden they felt lifted from them. I didn't get that relief, because I never hid anything. Rather, I got a different relief, from finally having answers about my confused feelings & behaviors that nothing else had been able to explain. Because I was never closeted, but in ignorant total denial.

    When I publicly went gay (actually starting the SAME DAY I finally realized I was gay) I did so by simply attending gay functions and going to gay clubs. My presence was gay announcement enough. I only verbally TOLD 2 people.

    One I phoned because I thought it would make him happy, my former college professor in theatre, who'd always been out, from the 1960s. He was living on the other US coast, unlikely to know it otherwise. The only gay guy I'd ever known until I came out. He was delighted, and said, like most people who had known me for years, that he always suspected it, even before I did myself.

    Another was the guy who had been instrumental in bringing me out, by making me realize the true definition of a gay man, which could include someone like me. Oddly, at first he resisted the idea, thought I was too masculine to be gay. icon_eek.gif

    Ironic, because it was his convincing me that gay men weren't all stereotypically effeminate, as I had believed, but included masculine guys, that had opened my eyes. We became a "couple" in the Seattle gay scene as he taught me the ropes (no, not THOSE ropes!), although never sexually or romantically involved.

    Just my companion at gay clubs and functions, until I could test my wings on my own. Telling me things about the gay community it would have taken me years to learn on my own, if ever, most importantly about safe sex, truly my mentor. A guy never had a better coming out than I did. And I still remember & use his lessons, almost 20 years later. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Aug 24, 2014 3:32 PM GMT
    It depends on whether you care also about the bigger picture and other glbt-folks or only about yourself.

    If #1, then you would come out to help fight homophobia, by educating the people around you what a real lgbt person is like. Many people change their minds about gay people once they get to know someone. Which will help general acceptance, fairer laws, reduce teen-suicides, etc.

    If #2, then there is no need for you to come out publicly. (And it's better for all other lgbt folks if you don't. An egoist like that would only confirm negative stereotypes of lgbt people)
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    Aug 24, 2014 6:18 PM GMT
    I was just having this discussion with a friend of mine and just thinking about it. I don't get why coming out has to be a spectacle where you get everybody together at the Thanksgiving table and announce "hey everybody, I'm gay." Straight people don't have to do that. They don't announce to the world they're straight. Some of my family members know I'm gay and some don't. I don't intend to tell them because it's not their business. If I ever have a boyfriend I'm just gonna show up to a family gathering with him, introduce him, and let them figure it out.
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    Aug 24, 2014 6:35 PM GMT
    are you kidding me ? nice that most of you have the privilege growing up in accepting environment, for most guys it is a HUGE deal, whole world and perception of you turns around to many people

    all this I don't get BS is naive
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    Aug 24, 2014 6:42 PM GMT
    atlanticshore saidare you kidding me ? nice that most of you have the privilege growing up in accepting environment, for most guys it is a HUGE deal, whole world and perception of you turns around to many people

    all this I don't get BS is naive

    We are not referring to the acceptance aspect but of making a public announcement about being gay. Some of us think this is unnecessary, some of us think it necessary.
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    Aug 24, 2014 7:36 PM GMT
    JuanPablomv89 said
    Im tired of hearing of your coming out process, we all know that you thought all gay men were effiminate and you are so MASCULINE so Congratulations masculine gay man

    And what do YOU have to contribute to this? I'M tired of YOU contributing NOTHING.

    Yes, I'm repetitious. Because new guys join here all the time. And because not all guys read all threads. Get over it, sweetie. icon_razz.gif
  • Apparition

    Posts: 3529

    Aug 25, 2014 1:39 AM GMT
    The reason it is important, is because somewhere around you, is a 13 year old kid that is getting beat up by those around him and possibly himself, that needs SOMEONE to see that is like himself and that things can work out in his life.

    THAT alone is reason enough.
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    Aug 25, 2014 1:49 AM GMT
    Apparition saidThe reason it is important, is because somewhere around you, is a 13 year old kid that is getting beat up by those around him and possibly himself, that needs SOMEONE to see that is like himself and that things can work out in his life.

    THAT alone is reason enough.

    That kid needs to take a boxing class.
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    Aug 25, 2014 1:54 AM GMT
    JuanPablomv89 said
    Art_Deco said
    JuanPablomv89 said
    Im tired of hearing of your coming out process, we all know that you thought all gay men were effiminate and you are so MASCULINE so Congratulations masculine gay man

    And what do YOU have to contribute to this? I'M tired of YOU contributing NOTHING.

    Yes, I'm repetitious. Because new guys join here all the time. And because not all guys read all threads. Get over it, sweetie. icon_razz.gif

    Really?... Sorry all your contributions are exceptionals and besifes complaining about Republicans do you have something else to say?

    You need to get around more, dear. You'd know in the last few weeks I've written about bicycles, gyms, tennis, HIV/AIDS, earthquakes, voting process (not the issues), STDs, roller skating, gay clubs & bars, relationships, sleep patterns, a rather long & varied list.

    And you didn't see any of them? Try going to my profile and scanning the list of my forum posts. You'll find non-political topics far outnumber the political ones. Much more than that guy who mainly complains about Obama and Obamacare here all day long. Next time do your research before you make a comment like that.
  • Apparition

    Posts: 3529

    Aug 25, 2014 2:01 AM GMT
    pazzy said
    Apparition saidThe reason it is important, is because somewhere around you, is a 13 year old kid that is getting beat up by those around him and possibly himself, that needs SOMEONE to see that is like himself and that things can work out in his life.

    THAT alone is reason enough.


    icon_neutral.gif i think coming out the closet or worrying about the future would be the last thing on his mind if he's getting beat up or worrying about surviving now. that's the problem with the whole "it gets better" thing.


    you misunderstood. WE have to come out for HIM, he can wait. WE comeout so HE knows it gets better. Hence that project.
    The it gets better part is to protect him from HIMSELF. Suicide of young gays is rampant.

  • Apparition

    Posts: 3529

    Aug 25, 2014 2:04 AM GMT
    Ravensong said
    Apparition saidThe reason it is important, is because somewhere around you, is a 13 year old kid that is getting beat up by those around him and possibly himself, that needs SOMEONE to see that is like himself and that things can work out in his life.

    THAT alone is reason enough.

    That kid needs to take a boxing class.


    boxing wont fight his INNER demons if that is the problem. nor will it protect him from his parents, family, etc
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    Aug 25, 2014 2:32 AM GMT
    Apparition said
    Ravensong said
    Apparition saidThe reason it is important, is because somewhere around you, is a 13 year old kid that is getting beat up by those around him and possibly himself, that needs SOMEONE to see that is like himself and that things can work out in his life.

    THAT alone is reason enough.

    That kid needs to take a boxing class.


    boxing wont fight his INNER demons if that is the problem. nor will it protect him from his parents, family, etc

    We can't protect him either. All we can do is give him a bit of comfort. Public figures that have come out, especially the more masculine ones helped me become comfortable with my sexual orientation. They made me realize that you can be a regular guy who happens to like guys. But let's keep things in perspective. We aren't public figures. We don't have much influence over people. A public coming out is a personal choice that should not be expected.