In the span of only ten years, we have gained a wider amount of acceptance by society. There are now openly gay actors and actresses, openly gay characters on television, openly gay musicians, openly gay MPs, openly gay CEOs etc. Yet with all the progress, most gays and lesbians still find coming out of the closet to be one of the most difficult times of their lives.
So I ask, with so much more acceptance than ever before, why is it still so hard to come out of the closet?
Firstly, it’s not easy being different. No matter what we like to think, homosexuality is still classed as different to many, and for all the progress that the gay rights movement has made, being homosexual is still not “the norm”.
As a society we are taught from a young age to look down upon things that are different. Boys don’t take ballet class or wear dresses, and girls don’t play football or shave off all their hair. As children we are often mocked for our differences, and sadly adults are oftentimes no better than children. As homosexuals we fear that our friends and family members will not accept our differences.
Not only that but its also a cruel and violent world out there. We’ve all heard stories; how our gay friends have been victims of hate crimes. This can be something as simple as being bullied in high school to something as serious as being beaten up in the streets. It happens daily, on our streets, in our schools, at our work places and even in our homes. And often, the victim is the one who receives the blame, accused of somehow “flaunting” their sexuality – hmmm, like knowledge of my sexual preference can considered “flaunting”.
And then there are the Parents. They never plan to have gay children, and no matter how open and liberal minded they are, most likely they did not imagine their children being gay when you were born.
Of course there is nothing wrong with being gay, but parents have a certain amount of expectations about what life experiences they will have with their children. They imagine weddings, babies and birthday parties for their grandchildren. They don’t expect commitment ceremonies and gay adoption.
Most parents accept their gay children once they have come out, but there is still the fear that by coming out you are disappointing your parents forever.