In or Out of the closet? Help me out with your opinion.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 02, 2007 3:53 AM GMT
    I am 22 and living in a pretty narrow minded city in Canada. I am reaching a point where I almost can't lie about my sexuality anymore and feel as though I haven't made any strong friendships in the last few years because of my closeted sexuality. Would it be beneficial for me to slowly disclose my sexuality to people? Is it possible to stay friends with straight people after coming out? How would this affect me at the gym?? Im a little naive when it comes to this.
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    Apr 02, 2007 4:51 AM GMT
    It's interesting to read the two things you've posted in the last few minutes. There is your response to the Gattaca topic, and then this new topic that you've initiated. And reading this one throws a lot of light on your Gattaca posting, which was obviously written by a closeted man.

    You most likely haven't and won't form any strong friendships because you've got something to hide, and this gets in the way of relationships, no matter if they be friends or family or even business. If you can't be fully honest, you can't be fully open. People pick up on that, and will always keep a certain distance... just as you do, too, in order to guard your secret.

    As you mention in your Gattaca posting, I, too, would have taken a "straight pill" if there had been one available before I arrived at acceptance. I was going to keep my secret forever. But you know what? I was drifting further and further from the ones I loved, just to maintain my precious secret.

    Long story short: No one has ever rejected me based on my sexuality. Not even the most narrow-minded people I know. Not in my family, not in school, not at work, not at the gym, not even at church. And you may be surprised, as I was, at just how many other people are guarding secrets, too. It's a universal thing... and folks generally are happy to have the opportunity to release these things. Simplicity's a wonderful thing. Being open and honest is about the simplest thing there is. Good luck with your journey.
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    Apr 02, 2007 5:11 AM GMT
    BRIX, thanks for the ve response.
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    Apr 02, 2007 5:36 AM GMT
    Although I am honest to myself about the fact, I find it most difficult to come out. Recently online I was told by a gal "to fuck off you old fuck!" One guy looking at my posted photo wrote " stay away from me you crazy queer! ---"why do you care you homo!" another guy wrote. Three guys solicited oral and anal sex just gazing at my photo. ---I feel to be the object of hate crimes with vile spleen let lose at me. Maybe I am still too negative.
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    Apr 02, 2007 6:18 AM GMT
    Coming out is like a huge weight off of your shoulders. I didn't loose any friends or family, but I realized that people who care for me actually care enough to not care about my sexual orientation regardless of what they personally believe. If I were you I would come out. Its not as scary as it might seem.
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    Apr 02, 2007 6:35 AM GMT
    I think you may worry a little too much. But consider this. What would the alternative be like? Would you be happy? You have already suggested not.

    I think the first step is being comfortable with yourself (yeah I always say this). Just 'cause you are gay doesn't mean you have to act any way. If you can be true to yourself, which by the way involves a lot more than being gay, all other things will fall into place.

    Ultimately when you are true to yourself you will realize there is no difference between you and any other human. To see this is to understand what it truly means to be human.

    As a gay man you will certainly be subject to persecution from ignorant people just like any ethnic or racial group. But ask anyone who has gone through this and they will tell you life goes on and you should never regret what you are because other peoples' ignorance.

    Have courage and be confident whatever you do. Any real man gay or straight will respect courage. If any straight man disrespects you for what you are, he is not a real or mature man anyway.

    Also realize beyond the borders of your home, you are in the company of many decent, good, kind and courageous gay men. And gay men present and in history have helped change the course of the world. You are by no means insignificant or unworthy of happiness.
  • TallGWMvballe...

    Posts: 1925

    Apr 02, 2007 7:08 AM GMT
    wow jon2b46s,

    Where onine do you have people spewing such hate at you?
    If where that is (must be a straight place) you are getting such crap LEAVE IT!

    One of the greatest things about coming out or at least self acceptance is to shed the need to be "one of boys" in a straight group. If there are predominately hetero groups, organizations that you feel you HAVE to be part of then BE the one gay one and don't make it a big deal. OR stay clear of those and seek the company of people that DO accept you as a human being first with your sexuality not being an issue.
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    Apr 02, 2007 10:46 AM GMT
    I'm sorry for your situation, AJC. It's a long trip back in time for me to remember being 22, but I was married at the time and deep in denial about the implications of my then occasional desire for sex with men.

    It somewhat surprises me when I read about people in their 20s still having difficulty accepting this about themselves. I suppose it's easier in an urban environment, although I came out myself in a mid-sized city where I was editor of the newspaper. So it was potentially pretty scandalous.

    Honestly, I have never found being open about my sexuality a deterrent in any way. In fact, I consider being gay a gift. Once you go through the painful passage of coming out, you learn the value of empathy and you feel less compelled to accommodate values and social agendas that aren't your own. I've kept my focus on the way being gay has been of benefit to me.

    I was involved in the early days of ACT UP and wrote a weekly gay column for 7 years -- mainly while I was editor of a large mainstream publication. It's certainly true that I encountered homophobia here and there but it matters very little once you've asserted your identity. I think most people respect that. I don't waste my time on those who don't. But I'm unaware of my sexuality ever inhibiting the pursuit of something important to me.

    Many people are greeted with the word "Duh," when they finally come out. I think you'll be surprised how most people react.





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    Apr 02, 2007 3:23 PM GMT
    Check out this story in the NY Times about coming out...young!

    http://tinyurl.com/yrpkay
  • duglyduckling

    Posts: 279

    Apr 02, 2007 3:41 PM GMT
    it's unfortunate that places like this still exist in Canada, but then again despite what the world thinks, Canada is still a very conservative country.

    Like others have said, you would never be truly happy until you have come to terms with your own sexuality. You will be amazed how people might perceive you afterwards, because people have the gay stereotype in their minds, and if you don't fit that, the common question they may ask you when you tell them is "are you sure? but you're so 'normal'?!?" haha...

    But I am sure you'll be much happier when you have come out. Friends won't leave you because you are gay. The ones that do weren't your friends in the beginning. All the friends who I told were either mildly surprised.. or told me that they were waiting for me to tell them and that they were so glad that I finally did it, cause now we can go shopping. LOL

    Be true to yourself, you'll be happier in the long run.
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    Apr 02, 2007 3:41 PM GMT
    I think it's possible to maintain close friendships and not disclose your sexuality to everyone. You just have to ask yourself why do you want to tell this person or how will it effect them? If you seperate your "friendly associates" from your true friends, it would be much easier deciding who to tell. One of my closer male friends revealed to me that he was "struggling" with the issue of male on male attraction after I told him that I was some times attracted to males. I was surprised to say the least. To your closest friends, the news should not trouble them at all - that's if you think it's any of their business to know in the first place.
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    Apr 02, 2007 4:00 PM GMT
    Ahh, yes, but disclosure does not necessarily mean telling folks just for the hell of it. There are certain people you just have to tell when you come out: loved ones, close friends. And sometimes there are people you have to tell just due to situations. But I firmly believe that, for the most part, being out just simply means living your life openly. If you live your life openly, people will realize you are gay, without the need of you making a proclamation. They get to deal with it on their own terms.

    Is it possible to maintain close friendships and not disclose your sexuality? What about the friends who want to know when you're going to meet a nice girl and settle down? What about the friends who want you to meet their new neighbor ("She's single, you know...," they might say, as they elbow you and wink.) Secrets and lies always get in the way of closeness.

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    Apr 02, 2007 4:17 PM GMT
    I'm still shocked that there is actually a narrow minded city in Canada. But to respond to your post, coming out is more than just announcing to people close to you that you are gay. It's also about living your life in an honest way and no longer having to lie to the face of people in your life you love unconditionally. That's what did it for me. I got tired of constantly lying to my parents and closest friends and hiding from them who I truly was. The funny thing is, they already knew!!!! Most people close to you probably have an idea that you're gay, but of course won't say anything about it until you do. I mean, what if they're wrong?? That little question could completely ruin a great relationship if you were a straight man questioned about his sexuality. And parents will often deny it until their forced to face it. Also when/if you come out and don't get the positive response you were hoping for give them some time to let it sink in and fully accept it. It took my mom two years before she was able to understand and accept and support me whole heartedly for being gay.
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    Apr 02, 2007 6:21 PM GMT
    JJ makes a good point. Coming out is not easy; it may be one of the toughest things you'll do. You will almost certainly get positive responses, and you will almost certainly get tears, and you may very well get negative responses, as well. Everyone is different, and so it their road to acceptance of the situation. Tell the people you have to, and then give them time.

    And know that no matter what responses you get, you will be a stronger man for this, and even if you never had an ounce of the stuff before, you will garner for yourself new respect and confidence.

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    Apr 03, 2007 1:12 AM GMT
    For my PhD I'm doing research on the construction of identity and LGBTQ high schools students. So this fascinates me.

    BTW, Obsencewish, I just got the book you mentioned and am loving it - THANKS.

    What is interesting about this is that we fix identity within us, like it is this unchanging thing that can be labeled. Then we say things like be true to yourself and discover yourself, etc.

    Accepting a label is very helpful in clearing the air sometimes, or at least putting some word to what is going on with us. I think that anchoring has a lot to do with why we can be helped by or need to come out.

    But it seems the real issue is about fear and hope. There is the fear of rejection, of being other, of at the very least awkwardness. And there is hope of acceptance and happiness. I think the journey is more about negotiating these things. So we should use these labels as tools, discarding them when they no longer serve their purpose (which may be a while, or not).

    The process of coming out can be a powerful and beautiful story that adds to the depth of each of us. In a way it is a privilege to have this story to tell, even the painful ones.

    So whatever we do, we should keep our chin up and know that we are loved and not alone.
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    Apr 03, 2007 2:04 AM GMT
    I'm shocked that JJ502 is shocked that Canadians can be narrow minded. Someone needs to use the Internet for more than downloading porn. Statistically, you're actually more likely to get gay bashed in Canada than in the United States. The same goes for Boston versus Salt Lake City. Yet Canada and Massachusetts both have legalized same sex marriage. Go figure! You're also more likely to have your car stolen in Canada, but that's another story. Back to the question: coming out is only a big deal if it's a big deal to you. If you think being gay is a big deal, then it will be a big deal to most those around you. When I was growing up in the 1980s in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, I saw homosexuality all over. It was talked about constantly on the radio, TV, in school. Whether jokingly or seriously discusses, homosexuality even then was a hot topic. I couldn't imagine anything so popular being weird. So I came out at 16. My dance card was full through college.
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    Apr 03, 2007 2:33 AM GMT
    Okay, don't bash me for a side comment I made that has absolutely nothing to do with the post and then throw out some fake statistics to try and make someone else look bad. You can't sit there and argue that canada in general is narrow minded comapred to the united states. They may be breaking into cars, but at least they don't go out and kill random people on a daily basis. And they may have a higher incidence of REPORTED gay bashing, only because maybe they have faith the cops will do something about it as opposed to here.

    Sorry to get off topic here, but that comment cutejock made was unnecessary.
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    Apr 03, 2007 2:42 AM GMT
    "BTW, Obsencewish, I just got the book you mentioned and am loving it - THANKS."

    Glad you're finding it interesting. It solved some major problems for me. Halperin is a Foucault scholar and his "Saint Foucault" is also good. I'm sure you're reading Foucault if you're reading about the construction of sexual identity.

    Halperin's "One hundred years of homosexuality" is valuable too.

    If you are unfamiliar with Kaja Silverman's "Male Subjectivity at the Margins," you might wanna look it up, too. It discusses various "masculinities."

    And since you're in Spain...Flamenco is brilliant at sabotaging gender markers. Carlos Saura's film "Carmen" includes a scene where the male lead teaches the female lead how to "be female." His other films also play with gender and sexual identity.

    Here is a citation for the latter: "Washabaugh, W. (1998). Fashioning masculinity in flamenco dance. In W.
    Washabaugh (Ed.), The passion of music and dance: Body, gender and
    Sexuality (pp. 39-50). Oxford: Berg.


  • craigindc

    Posts: 30

    Apr 03, 2007 2:52 AM GMT
    I know nothing about where you live, but I can tell you this: I was asbolutely terrified about telling my friends and family(even though I did not expect a lot of negative responses). Now, I am not sure why I was so afraid. I have never been as happy as I have been since I "came out". And many of the thoughts I had back then, for instance wishing I was straight...if you offered me a straight pill now, I would laugh, say no thanks, and keep on being me; I am really happy with who I am.
    This does not mean you won't have any bad responses or problems. The possibility is there. But my sense is that you should do what is right for you and gives you peace and contentedness. Other people's issues are just that: THEIR issues. And trying to live, and make decisions, based on other people's issues is not a recipe for health or fulfillment.
    As for your questions, it should not really affect you at the gym; you are still the same person. It is not like you are going to change or be any different.
    As far as who and how fast to tell: decide who needs to know.Tell them. You dont have to announce to everyone you know: living openly, people will gradually come to know.
    Good luck.
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    Apr 03, 2007 3:08 AM GMT
    JJ502, get a life, and stop watching so much CNN and BBC. You act like a itty bitty boy whose bubble got bursted. Don't worry. I won't steal your lollipop.
    The Great Satan is far worse than those precious doves in Canada. There, you feel weel better now?
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    Apr 03, 2007 3:11 AM GMT
    But in case you're man enough to deal with real facts, you might check out this site (one of many) which attests that Canada's crime rate is 50% higher than that of the United States. You know how sterotypes are typically wrong--even for gay people? Where they are typically wrong when applied to countries as well. Time to grow up....
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    Apr 03, 2007 3:11 AM GMT
    Here' the link: http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/?page=article&Article_ID=2804
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    Apr 03, 2007 3:33 AM GMT
    Wow....what's up with the baby talk??? You're exerting a lot of effort in an attempt to make me look bad. Let me go sit in the corner and suck on my thumb since you're talking to me like a five year old. And FYI....just like I can't believe everything I see on CNN and BBC (neither of which I watch) you can't believe everything you read on the internet either. Your source seems a little flawed and politically driven. If you haven't learned from most politicians, they tend to lie. It's funny that the source doesn't back up their claims with references of relevant research and statistics.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 03, 2007 4:47 AM GMT
    I appreciate all the feedback everyone has given on this topic.
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    Apr 03, 2007 8:42 AM GMT
    alright ladies, cut the drama, we are here to help this guy. Come out to someone you know will be ok with it and just ease your way into it. Its stressful because you don't know what will happen but remember that its only as tough as you make it. I know someonw whos dad was a baptist preist and it was ok. Awkward at first but as it passed, he was much happier. I came out to my Roman Catholic Guatemalan father who thought homosexuality was a mental disorder. But hes my dad, and im his son so it didnt matter to him. Just rember that people love you no matter what and take the steps. You can do it.