I’m coming out of my cage and I’ve been doing just fine. Gotta gotta get out because I want it all!
Hmmm…Coming out is a hard topic for me, someone who is still not out to many people in my real life. The phrase still manages to conjure up feelings of extreme fear and panic when I think about coming out to certain people in my life. However, as I wrote in my previous blog, those first few lines (as I hear them) up above from the song “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers totally represents how I feel about coming out.
Basically, I may not be able to come out in blazing glory in one go to the people I love. But I can take small steps towards maybe letting them know sometime in the future. Because only by coming out will I be able to enjoy all that the queer life has to offer me.
Behold, I give you the stages of my coming out journey so far. Read and let me know which ones apply to you.
Step 1: Make subtle changes in the things you say, clothes you wear and things you post on Facebook/Twitter /social media
I’m talking about
- using gender-neutral terms galore
- wearing badass, butch, androgynous or other distinctly queer outfits in a bid to get lady-loving women to spot you
- adding some lesbian movies or TV shows to your Facebook, Twitter or other social media profile or posting songs, quotes and lyrics that perfectly express all your queer FEELINGS
On one hand wanting people to spot the signs but on the other hand TERRIFIED that people will spot the signs.
Step 2: Flee to a different location to experiment a bit more with the new you
I chose Europe. If you do this step, you can choose whatever works for you, halfway across the world or the next town 15 minutes away.
Step 3: Attend LGBTQ or other queer-friendly events or meetups. In other words, attempt to meet more queers
There comes a point when the desire to meet (or hookup) with a lady becomes very strong. Stronger than your want to distance yourself from anything queer-related lest you also be labeled a queer. At that point, you will find yourself saying something along the lines of, “Fuck it. What have I got to lose?” Then, and only then dear peoples, will you know that you have reached Step 3.
Step 4: Come out to queers up above
When you finally summon up some courage to do Step 3 above, it might still be hard to let people there know. What I’m saying is that sometimes people go to queer events under the guise of being an ally (tell me it wasn’t just me who did this!). If you are one of these people, it might take a few events but one day you will want to come out to the LGBTQ folks at these events. And you will feel super proud that you did!
Step 5: Go on dates with women
Some people will skip Steps 3 and 4 and head directly here. I mean, if you want to know for sure whether or not you are straight, what better way than to test the waters with a woman, amirite? I was not one of those women. So it took me a year to get here. And, if you are also working to come out, get here you will too.
Step 6: Come out to a few of the queer-friendly people closest to you
For me this was my sister and one of my flatmates at the time. My first time coming out to someone who wasn’t queer also happens to coincide perfectly with an alcohol-induced blackout I had. Don’t be like me. Be sober when you do it. Or at least make sure that the next day you’ll remember coming out.
Step 7: Enter into a relationship with a woman
If you are lucky, one of your dates will turn into a relationship. And if it’s anything like mine was, it will be fraught with communication issues, complicated situations, sweetness overload, lots of talking, even lots more sex and glorious times overall. Before the breakup and heartache.
Step 8: Finally cave in to strong desire to tell someone, anyone about relationship up above
I personally found it difficult to be in a relationship and not be able to speak about it to close friends. So, along the way, I came out to a very select few of my close friends who I knew would be fine with it. Plus, I had to tell my other (also queer-friendly) flatmate since some sexy times were bound to happen at my place sometimes. For some of you, the fear of coming out may be too strong and you might find it easier to tell others about your relationship without letting them know the gender of your significant other. For instance, I will also admit that some other friends know all about my relationship mentioned above, except that they think I was with a guy the entire time. Oops!
Step 9: Slowly come out to more people
Being in a relationship with a woman made me confirm that I liked women at least as much as men and was indeed so not straight. I don’t think you need to have a relationship to confirm this but it helped spur me on. After it ended, I still find that I occasionally feel the need to tell certain friends. So I’ve told a couple more people.
Recognize any of the stages in yourself? What were your coming out stages?