Initially, in honour of National Coming Out Day yesterday and LGBT History Month throughout October, I thought about recounting my experiences coming out back in my early to mid-20’s. I’ve always maintained that it’s vitally important to continue to share these stories as we go through life, as you never know when someone might come along who could benefit from hearing your experiences in order to make their own experiences easier or better.
But the more I thought about it the more I thought how difficult that may actually be, since you don’t just come out once and that’s it. Coming out happens over time and gets repeated as you meet new people or are put into new social/work situations.
To me that means there isn’t just ONE coming out story, but instead is a continual, on-going serial that could potentially go on for the rest of your life.
That’s right, coming out never ends, sad as that may seem.
But that’s not something to complain about or rant/rave about. It’s a part of life in the society we live in, and until we get to the point where it truly doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight, then it’ll continue to be part of our lives.
However that doesn’t mean I think we should spend all of our time ‘coming out’ to every person we meet, because let’s be honest, sometimes it’s just isn’t appropriate. There’s a time and place for everything, but let me be clear – that doesn’t mean you have to hide who you are either.
What seems to have worked for me over the years is to just be myself in whatever setting I find myself, even when I start a new job. I would never dream of going into work waving a Pride flag and announcing to every staff member or customer I speak to that I’m gay, because that isn’t what I’m there to do. I’m there to do my job. Gay or straight, I’m professional and damn good at my job. My sexuality has nothing to do with it.
But at the same time I don’t sit there and try to act like ‘Mr Closet Case’ and hide who I am (this isn’t a judgement of anyone who does this btw). I go to work and am myself. I don’t change my personality with my coworkers, or even change the type of jokes I make with them (work appropriate of course, wouldn’t want to be taken to HR for sexual harassment lol).
The coworkers who care to notice will already know I’m gay without me having to scream it out loud or even them having to ask.. and no, that doesn’t mean I’m a screaming queen in person. It just means I’m myself and they can see me for me without my having to correct them when they ask about a ‘girlfriend’.
Obviously sometimes you do have to do just that for those who aren’t as observant, or who are perhaps more purposely ignorant of it. And that’s ok too. If someone doesn’t want to know about my personal life, then I’m not going to shove it down their throat.. and at the same time, neither should they with their lives.
I guess what I’m saying is, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve stopped caring about whether people find out that I’m gay. I’m not going to stop being myself because someone is ignorant that others around them may not be ‘straight’ as they are. And if they’re uncomfortable with my sexuality then that’s their problem, not mine.
Personally I think when all of us can just be ourselves without having to verbalise that we like men or women (or both – bisexuals do exist people lol), then we’ll truly be equal. And a National Coming Out Day will be a thing of the past.
Hopefully this is sooner rather than later.