I just fully came out of the closet, and it wasn’t as simple as this opening sentence. It was an emotional experience, something I thought I could never do. For some, it seems like such a simple, easy thing. For me, it was like moving a mountain.
I knew I was different at age 10 or 11, but didn’t understand why when attractions to other boys were as normal to me as thirst. As I got older, I admitted to some to being bisexual. I’d had sex with women and am sexually attracted to some, but found it difficult to connect with them and couldn’t seem to relate on a romantic level like I could with males. Saying I was bi was a half-truth, and I discovered it had tactical advantages to hide in plain sight.
In my experience, if a guy claims to be bi, heterosexual guys in many cases will consider him one of the guys because he likes pussy, thus minimizing or neutralizing discomfort or perceived threat of attraction. Further, he keeps one foot in the straight realm, effectively shielding him from potential abuse by any aggressive or belligerent heterosexuals. He is also granted access into a domain of social structure and norms within the heterosexual empire, usually with little to no awkwardness an openly gay man may have.
I’ve always admired those brave enough to come out of the closet, especially when they’re young. I secretly envied the freedom they enjoyed – not having to hide in shame or fear. However, I knew once I crossed over that threshold, there was no turning back. I still debate myself if I just wasn’t ready or if I was a coward. I had a couple chances to come out totally, but retreated back into the invisible holding cell of the LGBT closet for sanctuary. Being known as a fag, queer, homo, etc did not appeal to me at the time, and even felt it a possible hindrance to my future. Moreover, religious pressures were a factor and I was scared of rejection by both those who respected me that I wanted around me. So I kept masquerading under the illusionary heterosexual-majority fiction I convinced myself of.
Finally, I’ve been able to accept and reconcile that I’m gay (I prefer homoflexible). The constant tug-of-war of denial was taking a toll. What would come as great timing in a heart-to-heart, I told my friend that I’m gay. It felt good to say it, now that I knew it. His response went something like, “Uh, ok. So?” I didn’t know it at the time, but his knee-jerk positive acceptance triggered just enough confidence in me to inspire a decision to take an important, long-overdue step the very next day.
I put two very difficult words on my profile, “I’m gay,” with a bit more reinforcement commentary. With the marriage equality ruling a few months later, I furthered my outing process, in respects of fully accepted myself, and I have gay pride. This has forced me from a comfort zone (actually it really wasn’t that comfortable, I was just used to it). Gay dissenters are handled with as much compassion and tolerance as I have in me. My friends have been great, which has made the coming out process that much less painful. I’m finally free and it feels great.