Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by NOVAJock, Jan 3, 2006.
Be kind to yourself...
Often times, we are our own worst enemies. We beat ourselves up and criticize ourselves for who we are, what we look like, or how we think people perceive us.
And we need to learn to love ourselves for who we are. Once we can get rid of that self-loathing, and we grow to love ourselves for who we are, we no longer consider ourselves inferior...
That is why Eleanor Roosevelt's quote is my life motto. She says: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent".
In other words, love your whole self. Once you do that, nobody else can make you feel bad about being gay. And that's the first HUGE step towards self-acceptance.
How can a friend be supportive? What advice can be offered to those trying to support a person in the process of sorting out their feelings and possibly coming out.
Reinforce the fact it's their life and they have to make themselves happy 1st and foremost and sometimes what makes you happy isn't what someone else agree's with and it's not your responsibility to live by anyone elses idea is.
There's a lot you can do, but it is very subjective to the person who'm you'r trying to help. Mainly, don't judge, listen, and be there for'em.
Timing: I know people say to "do it when you feel ready." Well, that's nice. But I came out right at the beginning of my junior year. In hindsight I would have done it in June following my sophmore year as to give myself, and more so my parents, time to errr....digest it all. It could have saved a whole years worth of frustration, bad grades and disappointment.
Dont try to guess everyones reaction. When I was coming out, I was expecting my Mom to take it better then my Dad. I was expecting all negative from him.
Come to find out, Mom took it hard, but Dad had already figured it out and had already accepted me without my knowing. I was worried about the reaction, and I couldnt have gotten a better response.
To Thine Own Self Be True
While generally I am in favour of a thread about coming out, I am very cautious about having too general a thread because no two people will experience the same thing when they come out as a gay/bi/lesbian/transgendered person. That being said, let me try and add something of value to this conversation.
The most important thing to me is to be true to yourself. That means only you can know when is the right time to come out and whom to tell. As a general rule, gay males have the hardest time as it is the lowest on the societal acceptance list. Lesbians and bisexual individuals have it somewhat easier because may times their family will cling to a hope that there could still be children, or that the possibility exists they will settle down with an opposite gender person. Unfortunately I do not have much experience with transgendered persons so can’t comment much here.
When coming out what also needs to be factored in is cultural, religious and geographical differences. It is far harder for a Iranian male of Muslim background to come out as a gay male in Texas than a white male of protestant background in Canada. That is just a reality of what your own societal, religious and cultural expectations are.
Another factor is the concept of time. In time people may initially shun you because you are gay. Usually it is because they don’t understand you, or one of the influences above has taught them that being queer is not an acceptable societal norm. Over time they may come to accept the fact that you are the same person you were before. If not, then remember this – nothing about you has changed, the only thing that has changed is their opinion of you. You cannot do anything about that and at the end of the day, you must remain true to who you are.
Sometimes people will come across as your friends, and remain that way for years. Only when a significant event occurs will you find out that maybe they are not really your friends. For example a wedding, special event where it is made clear you are not allowed to bring a samesex date for fear of offending others. It doesn’t matter they have just offended you – to them, that is not what matters. This is when you have to accept that you have different definitions of friendship, and the value of each other’s presence.
Ok that is enough for my first post… more to follow later.
Even though I'm a new member of this subforum, I'm stepping out of the closet. My cousin and close friends already know that I'm bisexual, and I'm going to come out to my parents later on in life.
I would have to say that testing the waters is a good idea. It really helped me gauge who I should come out to first and foremost and that they would accept me for being bisexual. If you talk about gay issues from a straight point of view and see their opinions on things, it really helps out on deciding who to come out to in the beginning. It helped me on my journey to come out to my family.
The best piece of advice I can offer at this time is be yourself in at least one aspect of your life (this is for those of you who are not out to anyone and are hoping to start at some point). For me, the internet helped TREMENDOUSLY in my coming out process. I had been hiding behind an alter ego on the net for the past 8-9 years - pretending to be someone I was not - hiding the trail I left to all the gay places I visited. I had two accounts for everything - my gay life and my straight life. Merging the two was NO easy task but it was a HUGE step in the right direction. Maybe its not for everyone - but it sure felt good when I finally came out to some people online - a few individuals on this forum especially have helped - i thought i was putting my neck out on the line by coming here and being ME but it has been the best move on my part.
I dont know if the advice i want to give out is actually coming out. All I can say is that the internet helped me tremendously in taking the step to actually come out to a real person in my life. I created online friendships and they were great people to first break the news to - they didnt know me on a real life basis so there was that security in knowing if they didnt like it - we just wouldnt speak online again. Take advantage of the wealth of information online - i'm pretty sure any person that regularly visits this sub-forum would be happy to talk to you about their experiences and give more personal advice on the subject. Everyone says you will know when the time is right - and you will - but its not going ot happen automatically - one day you'll have to commit - you'll have to put all your trust in to someone else for a split second, but at least you will have started your life.
I feel great btw.
Well you knew someone was going to post about this
Seriously anyone coming out and beginning to experiment needs to be cautious about sex. Unfortunately if not practiced in a safe manner, it can be deadly. Please always use condoms etc., and play safe. Doesn't matter if you are a virgin, or he says he is a virgin, some STD's can be caught without overt sexual activities.
Also on the issue of sex, it is very normal for someone fresh out of the closet to go through a bit of a slutty stage. I have seen this more with gay folks than with straight. It is not up to me to judge what is slutty, the only thing you need to remember is to retain your self-respect with whatever you do. At the end of the night, that is all you will have left and make sure it is worthy of holding up high.
If done privately and with consenting others, it is ok to be involved in 3 ways, somewhat anonymous encounters etc., basically what is comfortable for you, not what is comfortable for the rest of society.
If you are a minority where you live (and remember the age of consent is frequently different (i.e. older) for male-male interactions that male-female or female-female), then unless you want to go to jail, keep your sexual organs in your pants. Sorry that doesn't sound very nice, but with some people out there hating homosexuals for no valid reason, they will just view your activity as deviant and want to pursue charges against you (especially if the other person is their child).
Finally when/if you begin to play around, do so with individuals around your own age. Later in life it is ok to be with someone a few years different in age, but during the experimentation stage, it is wrong. There are huge power issues at play and as the younger, coming out person, you are the one that will be hurt - guaranteed.
So play nicely, play with respect and most of all play safely.
I will give this peice of advice...be totally honest to yourself, don't allow yourself to not go out and find out who you are and be sure of what you want just because "Your Currently Happy"...YOU WOULD BE LYING TO YOURSELF AND YOUR PARTNER IF YOU COMMITTED TO SOMETHING BEFORE SEARCHING A LITTLE.
Coming out is hard enough, don't complicate it by denying yourself the freedom to truly give yourself to someone 100%, by not going on safe explorations of yourself.
True fact...the Gay Male lifestyle can be a very 2faced, destructive, lifestyle if you are letting yourself get caught up in the lifestyle. You have to be a part of it, not let it be who you are.
...as gays and lesbians, realize the difference between your gay and lesbian life and your gay and lesbian lifestyle. Always be wary of the lifestyles...as overindulgence is common, with abuse typically being very detrimental. Remember the adage, 'all things in moderation'. If you like the circuit scene, enjoy it--but remember that it's not real. Cinderella may have gotten her fabulous ball, but she got her ass out of there by midnight; learn from her. All of the various scenes available to us, do go out and explore them --hell, enjoy them!-- but don't get caught up in them.
And allow yourselves the opportunity to have fun. As MapleLeaf said earlier, everyone goes through a slutty stage; catch up on what you've been missing (but do it safely), find out what you like, then settle down and be happy.
Hey im just here to recommend to anyone young - young at heart thinking of coming out, or just figuring out for themselves that they are gay, to pick up the XY Survival Guide. http://www.xy.com/xycontent/shop/survival.php
A guy recommended it to me 2 years ago, and it helped me sooo much, its not even funny. So I figured I'd pass on the favor. =) It's definitely worth the read, for both affirmation and information.
Because my family and I have a giant cultural barrier between us, what would be the best approach to tell them that I'm bi?
Well, I am going to offer a little advice from the straight guy's POV.
I have gay friends, and I have had friends who have come out. The advice I wish to offer here is regarding negative reactions. Yes, straight people often do react negatively to a person coming out, and a majority of the time it is for no valid reason at all. Even for a straight person who has nothing against homosexuals or bisexuals, it's bringing to light something that they possibly never considered , and may find shocking. Some people will feel betrayed, shocked, disgusted, or plain and simply confused.
I had a good friend who came out, and when he told me, it was like someone had put my mind on a roulette wheel and spun it as fast as they could. I always thought I knew everything about him, and I just found it uncomfortable that he had kept this from me. But as I thought about it harder and harder, I realized that there was no logical reason for me to feel any ill will toward him. I have never subcribed to the whole "gay is wrong, gay is disgusting, blah blah blah" sentiment, so there was no reason at all. I guess I just felt betrayed because it was like he was lying to me for all of this time, but of course he had his reasons, and they were certainly good reasons. But like I said, my mind just got spun around, and it just needed some time to stop.
Basically what I am saying is, if there's someone you know who reacts poorly to you coming out, don't assume that you have lost your relationship with them. I can't say that their case may be the same as mine, and they might just have such heavy misconceptions or beliefs that they can never truly accept you for who you are, but a bad reaction doesn't mean you have lost this person.
And just a little general life advice:
Being homosexual or bisexual certainly is not a "bad" or negative thing. But good, bad, or otherwise, never be afraid to be who you are. If you get a bad reaction to your coming out, hold fast, and don't regret your decision. Even if you think that you "picked a bad time" to come out, there really is no such thing if you ask me. There's never a bad time to be yourself, because being yourself, regardless of your sexual orientation, isn't always going to be a party. Just because you do something in life that other people don't like does not mean that you should have hidden in the shadows to prevent the world's reaction to you.
I don't know if any of this will help anybody, or if it even makes sense, but this is just my 2 pennies in the bucket.
I don't see coming out as a really big deal. Modern society is just screwed up, and has been too reserved in certain aspects. For the longest time people just did what they wanted to and that was it, no labels, no one cared if you liked men or women, you weren't outed (take for instance the ancient Greeks) and thats how it should still be really, you should just do what you enjoy and go on about life.
I guess I see how it can be a big deal if you are amongst closed minded people, its really easy for me since most of the people I talk to and get to know are open minded.
Also, I don't know how solid this advice holds up, but acting like its a big deal has always been a bad idea in my experience, I noticed whenever I confronted people with the whole "I've got something to tell you *dramatic pause*" routine, acted as if it was something big, while on the other hand if I just let someone find out for themselves, and then upon their inquiry just act like its no big deal, they always acted as if it was no big deal too.
I really think its easier for a girl then a guy
Why do we HAVE to do it?
Thats something I've never really understood. I'm actually thinking about just forgoing the whole process...
...our sexuality always comes up eventually It's much nicer when you don't have to play pronoun games, ambiguously answer questions, or just outright lie.
Thats kind of what I did. I talk about coming out, but in all reality it was all in my own head. The act of coming out for me was really just coming to terms with it myself. I mean I did tell my mom, and I tried to be really dramatical about it with the whole "my we need to talk, can we sit down for a minute". That was the extent of it for me.
Once I could wrap my mind around it, the rest was easy peasy. I just told people that asked. Most of them figured it out when they saw me with my BF. We never hid who we were but we didn't walk into rooms and announce to everybody that we were gay. I think my over all comfort and acceptance made it easier for a number of guys that I dated to "come out".
I dated one guy that was terribly closeted and hadn't even told his friends. We went out to the mall one day and I put my arm over his shoulder before we stepped away from the car and he said "hey I'm really not ready to walk into a mall like this and have people see me" and I told him ok I could understand. As we walked through the door to the mall, I reached out with one hand and reached for his hand with the other and he just connected. It was all subconscious, neither of us thought about it. We were holding hands for all of .5 seconds before I realized what happened but I didn't say anything. After about 8-9 minutes of us holding hands and walking through the mall he stopped and went "hey what am I doing?" I said I didn't understand, and he pointed out that we were still holding hands. I told him yeah and we've done it before and he never noticed, we talked about it and he decided it was kind of nice to hold hands in public and how odd it was that it felt natural.
It was a really good moment for him and myself. The relationship didn't last but thats something I'll always remember.
The funniest thing to me is how big of a deal most people make about coming out. I know most people do it in HS and thats already a very odd time emotionally for people. And maybe it's just because it wasn't such a big deal for me, but it's really kind of easy once you accept it. Besides the need to have your parents not hate you, who cares what anyone else thinks. I know this seems harsh but with the odd exception who even cares what your parents think, if they want to treat you poorly because of who you are or who you choose to be then that really most certainly is their issue. Go on about living your life and let them deal with it. Trust me you have bigger things in life to worry about than what people think, like keeping a roof over your head and keeping yourself fed, finding a good relationship and getting an education.
I also want to add that people for some reason seem to put alot of weight on the gay issue. I don't introduce myself as gay, I don't live a gay lifestyle, I don't see how gay affects who I am. I'm much more comfortable letting gay be what it is and nothing more. Gay is simply a point of attraction and sexuality. It has no bearing on where I eat, or where I work. It does not get involved in paying my bills or who I am friends with. Gay doesn't dress me or make me sleep better at night. I don't amaze my friends with it, and it has never been a crutch. Gay doesn't take away from who I am as a person, and it doesn't make me anything either. Out of all the things I am as a person, a brother, a son, a friend, an uncle, a lover and an employee, I happen to be gay.
I was watching a movie with a couple friends at a party.... I forgot the title of the movie. Well anyways, a discussion about gay people came up and i noticed my best friend was sticking up for the gays in the debate. well, i eventually texted his phone and told him i wanted to talk to him outside. I am very intoxicated after having a few shots of vodka chased with beer following a blunt, i really wasn't in my right mind.. but i had a sudden urge to tell him.
I followed him outside and i told him that i was gay. he said he didn't mind, and actually said he is glad i told him that.. he told me that it doesn't change our friendship . I was feeling happy, a lot was off my chest.. i then walked inside and told 2 other closer friends my situation. they had no problem either.
Well, they said they were fine with it too, and 2 of the girls at the party gave me hugs and said that they feel a lot closer to me now.. and everyone was saying that they have my back and said not to worry about anything. .. Later, when we were leaving one of the guys at the party were in the car alone with me, he ended up telling me he was bi and that he knows how it's a tough life and what not.
Congrats! It's hard to put yourself out there and fear rejection by your friends and loved ones... But, you did it and... it turns out that your friends were REALLY your friends who love you as you are...
True friends love you unconditionally... it's great to hear that you have good friends that you can rely on.