Coming Out: What the Movies Don’t Tell You

By Persephone

If you’ve already read my biography and some of my other articles, you know I’m gay.

Huh.  What a lame coming-out.  Let me let you in on a little secret: most coming-outs are incredibly lame.  Whenever you see a gay person in movies or on TV admit they’re gay, there’s always this huge reaction from the people around them (generally their parents).  It could be exaggerated compassion or terrifying rage.  To be honest, this is not the usual reaction.  Even my more religiously conservative friends tend to shrug it off and go, “Mkay.”

It really isn’t a big deal anymore, which is awesome.  It shouldn’t be a big deal anymore.  When I first told my parents, my Dad’s only statement included the phrase, “Well…I like girls, too.”  My Mom, in her own diplomatic fashion, rolled her eyes, and said, “Finally!”  Admittedly, the blow was probably softened by my attendance of my college’s Gay Straight Alliance for the previous two years.  Apparently, this made my homosexuality obvious to everyone but me.

This isn’t to say that all gay people get this reaction from their parents; that would be a lie.  Gay “Cure” camps still exist, and 30 to 40% of homeless teenagers identify themselves as members of the LGBT community.  However, the more lackluster acceptance tends to be the normal response.  Thank goodness.  The times really are a-changing.

What these movies don’t demonstrate, I’ve noticed, is how you don’t come out of the closet just once.  No, you will be coming out constantly for the rest of your life.  This grows into such a commonplace event, in fact, that your heart rate won’t even go up anymore when you repeat those irretrievable words, “I’m gay.” Any time you get close to people, and remember that humans as a species constantly strive to make personal connections to those around them, you’ll want to tell them.  It’s the same if you have a boyfriend or girlfriend—you want to keep those in your life informed of what’s going on, including your relationship status or sexual orientation.

So, whether it’s friends, extended family, coworkers, or neighbors, you’ll want them to know just who you are.  Well, at least give them a better idea of just who you are.  This is only an exciting prospect for the first couple years.  After a while, you get kind of tired of coming out.

You still feel obligated to tell everyone, though.  If you don’t, people assume you’re closeted and keeping it secret.  It doesn’t help that I keep telling friends who respect my privacy and sit on the information.  I’m not speaking for all homosexuals out there, but I’d love it if my friends would go gossip-crazy and just tell everybody they know!  It would save me so much trouble…

So, let me just end this with a little piece of advice.  If a friend or family member tells you they’re gay, you have two options.  If their faces are red, their words stutter, and their overall demeanor screams nervousness, keep this information to yourself.  This individual clearly is new to the coming out game, and they are trusting you in this matter.

However, if a coworker tells you matter-of-factly, perhaps even acting bored with the whole matter, then this information is fair game.  They might even be hoping you’re going to spill the beans all throughout the office.  If you have a reputation for tattling or chatting overly much, you can depend on this.  You were picked because you’d do all the coming out for him or her.

So, go for it!


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