Friday was National Coming Out Day!
Not that I knew anything about it – being as usual rather late to the party!
Still it made me think about my journey as a gay man and the day I came out to my family and friends.
In my opinion – like all homosexuals – I was born gay. Something which current scientific thinking would attest to also, the homosexual human being seen to be of a different genetic breed to straight people with a brain which is wired – left to right hemisphere – more like a woman’s than a mans!
I however didn’t come out to myself until my early 20’s – my inner homophobia fed by the opinion of those around me, those in my community and school who were of the opinion that there was nothing worse than being gay.
Not that everyone else didn’t know – in fact everyone and their dog seemed to have fathomed it out before I did resulting in me being mercilessly bullied throughout my teenage years to such a degree that I would have to dodge milk bottle thrown at me in the street.
Needless to say – aged 14 – that I attempted to kill myself, something which I hid from my family and friends for years and years and years.
Finally however – having gone through phases of thinking I was bisexual – I finally admitted I was gay. First to myself – then to my Mother and then to the rest of my family and friends. In fact my Mother guessed and asked me outright when I was talking to her about another friend of mine who had already come out to his family.
Needless to say this rather stole my thunder but – looking back at it – I realise now that it was so much easier than me having to come out to her. I then told my Dad – who thought I should keep quiet about it in order to avoid being bullied (too late for that pops) and then family and friends.
Some took it well – my gay friend giving me permission, which may sound a little pompous but in truth which was something which helped me enormously and was a very touching thing for me to hear. Others didn’t take it quite so well – one person who I was very close to saying that this was fine … so long as I didn’t tell them anything about it!
Like they were the first person I would be rushing to in order to share my burgeoning sexual experiences!
Others saying that they didn’t want me to speak about it at all and others even going so far as to saying that although they liked me they thought it was disgusting!
So … all in all – in comparison to many others – it was a breeze – believe it or not, not particularly remarkable, not particularly sad but for me a moment of self acceptance and new beginnings which grew as I allowed myself to share more and more of my true nature with the world.
Now I speak about it freely and with humour, using the stereotype of it to get laughs in lectures, exploring the spirituality of it in workshops, inspiring others – I hope – to be at ease with it and even embrace and face it inside of themselves.
So … what to conclude from all these musings …. should someone … someone you know ever come out to you, be kind to them, be gentle and be loving – no matter how you feel. because coming out requires bravery and risks all but is often as important and essential as breathing in and breathing out.
Being gay is a wonderful thing – even more so when it is welcomed and treated with love and most importantly respect!