You know that feeling when you’re talking to someone and they keep saying “What?” after everything you say so you keep having to repeat yourself? That’s what coming out about your sexuality feels like. It’s a constant, never-ending, cycle. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, more exhausting than anything. What’s probably harder than that though, is the pressure of coming out. The people around you telling other people when you aren’t ready for that kind of openness.
I’ve been out about my sexuality since I was 13. The first person I told was my best friend at the time and after telling her, everyone in my school heard and came up to me asking if it was true. Like Mac, it was a small school so word got around fast. I don’t really think at the time I was ready for everyone to know, but I didn’t really have a choice.
I tried to tell my parents multiple times but it took them about three times before they finally believed me. On Christmas of 2008 I was asked out by a male friend of mine and I turned him down. My mom (whom I have never been incredibly close to) asked why. It ended up turning into a huge fight which resulted in my yelling “Because I like girls!” and I went into my room. She didn’t talk to me for two days after that. Great Christmas gift for both of us, right?
My mother is just starting to get used to it, after almost 5 years and telling her constantly that I don’t want to be with a guy. My dad, ever the comic, likes to crack jokes (probably where I get it). He’s always been supportive of everything I’ve ever done. Always been there to listen if I ever needed someone to rant to.
Fast forward a year or so, new school, new friends, new teachers, new everything. No one knew anything about me. By this time I had become open with my sexuality. I didn’t really care if anyone knew or didn’t like it. Still don’t actually.
In changing schools I had to make all new friends. Making new friends meant I had to eventually tell them that I like girls. I had to go through the process of coming out all over again. The fear of rejection from my peers. The constant questioning in my mind if they’re just going to ditch me.
In the almost five years I’ve been out, I have had to tell different people a countless number of times. It’s hard for me to think that everyone is assumed to be straight until they prove otherwise. I’m comfortable enough in my sexuality that if someone asks me I’ll tell them but it hasn’t always been something I’ve found easy to talk about. Coming out is something that needs to be done on a persons own time. Not forced upon them.
Think about this; you’re attracted to the same gender and you’re around your group of friends that know. Then they decide they want all of you to hang out with more people. People that you haven’t told about your sexuality. You’re all hanging out together and you realize you have to tell this whole group of new people that you’re attracted to girls.
Now, picture yourself as one of the people being told. Are you wanting to ask this person about their sexuality when they probably aren’t ready to tell you or are you willing to be there for them and support them when they are ready to tell you?