The choice to come out as gay, lesbian, or bisexual is a huge undertaking that not everyone decides to pursue.
I’m sure there are at least a million reasons why you should or shouldn’t, but as someone who decided to come out, I feel it’s our responsibility to reassure those who haven’t yet that they are in good company.
Of course, it’s never a good idea to pressure someone else to come out if they’re not ready, and particularly “outing” someone else is bad.
However, if you have yet to come out and you’re wondering what you can look forward to, I have compiled a list of some of the possibilities.
INot all of these will hold true for everyone, and many women may have realizations that aren’t on this list. Please feel free to add in your own realizations in the comments if you notice something I’ve missed.
1. Not everyone cares that you’re gay.
Often, when someone is afraid of coming out, they’re worried that the world will not accept them as they are. They think that it’s better if they keep it hidden. But acceptance of the gay community is becoming more commonplace – even if it seems like it’s not. Negativity is louder than positivity, and many of our allies are silenced – but that doesn’t mean they’re not out there.
2. Your family will learn to adjust.
This definitely doesn’t hold true for everyone, unfortunately. Some family members may never come around to being supportive of you. But it has been my experience, and the experience of many of the lesbians I interact with on a daily basis, that their family came to terms with their sexuality after some time. Sometimes, the harsh reactions come from a place of shock, rather than of complete disapproval.
3. You feel a new freedom.
There is no “one time” to come out of the closet, so each chance you become more open about your sexuality, you gain a little bit more freedom. This makes it wonderfully comforting to take it in smaller steps (which is generally advised to build up the confidence with your confession). You can start with someone you’re comfortable telling, and work your way up from there.
4. You accept yourself more.
This is up for debate as to whether it’s the cause or the effect of coming out. Generally speaking, when someone comes out, they are more accepting of themselves as an “imperfect” creature – because we realize that some of our “flaws” truly aren’t flaws at all. When we come out, we are basically saying “I am gay/bi/etc., and there is nothing wrong with that.”
5. You may face rude remarks.
Even those in a state of complete peace about their sexual orientation can be subject to harassment by others. Whether it’s a matter of someone asking personal questions about your sex life (rude), yelling slurs when you kiss your girlfriend in public (rude), or even outright discrimination (beyond rude), chances are you will hear it from somewhere. Even if there’s nothing directly aimed at you, you don’t have to go far to find it. Keep in mind realization #1 though: negativity is louder than positivity.
6. Your dating options open up.
There are some women out there who completely refuse to date a woman who’s in the closet. It might seem unfair, but if we think about it, it does make some sense. It’s really hard to be with someone when you’re treated like a dirty secret. When you allow yourself to be out of the closet, at least to some extent, more women will be inclined to give you a chance, because they’re comforted that you’re not just “curious” and wanting to use them as an experiment.
7. There are a lot of gay icons out there.
It’s really only been recently that we’ve noticed a large amount of gay and lesbian role models – but it seems nowadays that they’re coming out of the woodwork. Some may argue that some of these people are “coming out” for the publicity, in general, it’s not damaging to our community if that is the case.
8. The gay community is actually really, really big.
Before we come out, it can seem like we’re completely alone, that no one understands what we’ve been through and what we feel. After we come out, we start to notice more people around us who are gay. Whether it’s because we purposely seek out others who have also come out or if we just notice the ones that were already there is up in the air, but the fact is, we notice how big our community really is – and that’s magical, especially for those whose “coming out” experiences were less than happy.
9. You want to encourage others to come out.
This is another one that might not be true for everyone, but most of the lesbians I know are strong advocates of other people coming out of the closet. Some of it is wishful thinking (p.s. Zooey Deschanel, I’m still waiting for you to come out, wink wink) and some of it is a place of true encouragement. Once we know the freedoms that come from being true to ourselves, we can’t help but want to liberate others.
What do you think, readers? Is there anything I missed, or anything that you don’t think adequately represents the gay community as a whole? I encourage you to share your opinions on this subject. After all, here at KitschMix, we seek to be inclusive, and your opinions are part of that inclusion.
Take care, and I hope I have encouraged you to move past your fears!