“Why do people make such a big deal about coming out of the closet?”
Because it’s hard. That’s why. While some people have it easy and try to globalize the idea that it is a simple process, it just isn’t a black and white kind of topic. And using “it’s 2018” is not an argument. It doesn’t matter how accepted LGBT is socially or what year we are in, the real issue is if WE can accept ourselves as being gay.
I hope after reading this, my lovely reader, have a better understanding of how to accept yourself.
And if you are our straight counterpart, then I hope you can find some understanding and empathy when reading these. Because frankly, these kinds of pressures can apply to you as well. Just without the gay focus~
I felt like I should say the major one first rather than saving it for last. This is the most obvious one after all.
We are all always worried about what our parents think of us in our decisions – your orientation of course falling into that category.
There is also fear of rejection from your family. That being gay could make them think less of you, or worse, not love you anymore.
You feel that your parents had expectations of you and you being gay doesn’t meet the qualities they wanted in you. Many times, I have heard guys tell me “my parents wouldn’t be okay with it.”
The sad story here: the parents don’t really know who their child is.
Oooh, bet you saw this one coming~
Of course, religion is always a major factor of our lives growing up. Especially when you are inflicted with the internal struggle that is acceptance. We are god-fearing humans when it comes to being gay.
I remember this one story from this yellow bible book when I was a kid. It was about Lot’s wife who was turned to salt by God because she looked back at the city of Sodom- a city in which men participated in homosexual acts. So god destroyed it.
Imagine being a gay kid and reading that. I was traumatized. I convinced myself, as long as I kept my desires inside, then I would be fine. My poem Soot is actually based on this belief of religion vs natural instinct.
A man is supposed to marry a woman and have a family. A man provides. A man blah blah. I’ve heard it all before. These societal norms of what is expected of you dominates our life-goals and expectations.
So much so, that when you start to realize you are gay, those expectations start to seem impossible to achieve. This is very distressing.
You then start to see gay men on television and think that’s how you should be. Either having big muscles or being extremely feminine. You start to think where you fit in, if at all.
While I cannot offer you anything to solve the problem of coming out, I can offer some helpful advice on things you can do to help the process of better accepting this part of you. I’ll try to keep it as non-cliché as possible, but I want you to feel a bit less helpless after reading this.
This is hard – I’ve been there. Lots of us have. Just don’t see this as the end of the world either.
This is just a small part of who you are. I’m sure there are still other things about yourself that are amazing. Don’t let you being gay be your most defining.
Create Your Own Safe Space
When I was younger, I never felt comfortable joining other LGBT groups or safe havens. And if you haven’t joined one either, then I’m sure you also feel the same.So, what can you do if you are too shy to join one?
Well create your own of course~
Finding a group of friends who you feel comfortable with is a safe space. This can be online or in person. While I’m using the word safe space loosely, just having someone to talk to in itself can help get out any negative ideas you may have about yourself. Come out to a brother or sister first. If you don’t have a sibling you can open up to, then tell a best friend. This isn’t pressure for you to come out to the world, this is just practice on being able to talk about
If still you don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone in person about this, try do it online. The online community may be filled with toxic people, but there is always someone willing to listen. Just make sure they aren’t some creepy freak trying to seduce you.
This advice might be annoying to hear, but sometimes it’s best to just wait ’till college to start experimenting with your preferences. Hear me out~
High school is usually filled with a bunch of asshole teenagers, such as yourself (kidding), who will not always have an open-mind. On top of that, there is also that fear of your parents over-reacting and kick you out of the house, which sometimes happens.
That is where college comes in. You don’t know how many times I have seen someone from high school all of sudden come out as being gay while in college. It is just easier in an area dominated by adults. Adults (who aren’t your parents or religious nut jobs) just don’t care about who you like or want to be with.
But I hope waiting ’till college days doesn’t discourage you. Use this as a goal to look forward to. A lot of teenagers, who have trouble accepting they are gay, kind of give up and go to drastic measures. Don’t be that person.
Be a warrior, not a worrier.
Don’t Compare Yourself
My last and final piece of advice is not just for being gay, but for life in general. Don’t read up on a bunch of experiences that were negative and believe you’ll have the same one. Don’t let people scare you into thinking people will hate you for being who you want to be. It is okay to be okay with a negative reaction, but don’t expect the worst for yourself.
Don’t watch television and think that the way gay men are portrayed on there is how it will be. All of our experiences are different and negative in some way. But there is also positivity to come from it. Haha I remember being a kid and watching “Queer Eye For Straight Guy” and thinking that’s what being gay was. It isn’t.
Being gay is literally just that you find your own gender attractive. Nothing more, nothing less. You are not destined to be a specific way just because of this part of yourself. You are still a normal person. This bit of advice might seem small and insignificant, but what I’m trying to say is that don’t let this govern YOU.
Too many times have I woken up feeling so much regret for being gay, as if this was a terrible curse placed on me. Don’t be that way.
For you, my lovely reader, should see yourself far beyond labels.
This is a hard experience, we’ve all been there. You just have to take full control of your destiny. Don’t let people give you a handout of war, hatred, sadness, and loneliness. Just ignore them and go about being the best you can be.
Image credit: Keitilen