Skip to main content

LGBT Pride month is upon us again, and each year I like to kick it off here with a diary about coming out. There's a first step in any process, and in the process of living your life as an open and proud member of the LGBT community, that first step is called "coming out".

Now, not everyone is comfortable with coming out, but it has had its proponents for a lot longer than many people realize. I quick look at teh Wiki reveals this historical information:

In 1869, one hundred years before the Stonewall Riots, the German homosexual rights advocate Karl Heinrich Ulrichs introduced the idea of self-disclosure as a means of emancipation. Claiming that invisibility was a major obstacle toward changing public opinion, he urged homosexual people to reveal their same-sex attractions. In his 1906 work, Das Sexualleben unserer Zeit in seinen Beziehungen zur modernen Kultur (The Sexual Life of Our Time in its Relation to Modern Civilization),[6] Iwan Bloch, a German-Jewish physician, entreated elderly homosexuals to self-disclose to their family members and acquaintances. Years later, Magnus Hirschfeld revisited the topic in his major work The Homosexuality of Men and Women (1914), discussing the social and legal potentials of several thousand homosexual men and women of rank revealing their sexual orientation to the police in order to influence legislators and public opinion. (Bolding mine.)
As to the origins of the term "coming out" or more fully, "coming out of the closet", there's this interesting tidbit:
The present-day expression "coming out" is understood to have originated in the early 20th century from an analogy that likens homosexuals’ introduction into gay subculture to a débutante’s coming-out party. This is a celebration for a young upper-class woman who is making her début – her formal presentation to society – because she has reached adult age or has become eligible for marriage. As historian George Chauncey points out:

    "Gay people in the pre-war years [pre-WWI]... did not speak of coming out of what we call the gay closet but rather of coming out into what they called homosexual society or the gay world, a world neither so small, nor so isolated, nor... so hidden as closet implies"[11]

In fact, as Elizabeth Kennedy observes, "using the term 'closet' to refer to" previous times such as "the 1920s and 1930s might be anachronistic."[12]

An article on coming out[13] in the online encyclopedia glbtq.com states that sexologist Dr. Evelyn Hooker’s observations introduced the use of "coming out" to the academic community in the 1950s. The article continues by echoing Chauncey's observation that a subsequent shift in connotation occurred later on. The pre-1950s focus was on entrance into "a new world of hope and communal solidarity" whereas the post-Stonewall Riots overtone was an exit from the oppression of the closet.[13] This change in focus suggests that "coming out of the closet" is a mixed metaphor that joins "coming out" with the closet metaphor: an evolution of "skeleton in the closet" specifically referring to living a life of denial and secrecy by concealing one’s homosexual or bisexual orientation. The closet metaphor, in turn, is extended to the forces and pressures of heterosexist society and its institutions.

There's plenty more history where that came from in many, many other sources and queer historians, but we're here tonight to tell our stories and make old Dr. Ulrichs proud--because his theory was correct. The more visible we are, the easier it becomes in the struggle for our dignity and human rights.

Now this diary is not just for members of the LGBTQ community. Not at all. It's also for our straight allies. I invite queer and transgendered folks to share their coming out stories in the comments, and I invite our straight allies to share their stories of having family, friends, and loved ones come out to them. Don't you think it will be interesting to see this from both sides of the coin? I do.

So, queer friends and allies, let's jump over the little orange doohickle and share some stories. I'll start with my own.

I've told my story here about coming out to my parents so many times it has become pretty rote. The reason for that is that it is totally uneventful and completely devoid of any drama whatsoever. That being said, I was nervous.

Now, before I came out to my parents, I came out to my best friend (who it turned out was also gay) and later to a friend at my HS who shortly afterwards became my boyfriend, a relationship which lasted several years after High School. It's with my HS boyfriend where this all begins in terms of coming out to the 'rents.

The story is long, but the abridged version is that through a confluence of events, it came to pass that my boyfriend ended up living at our house. My father was being transferred from Houston to Chicago (HUGE promotion in his job) and my parents invited my boyfriend Steve to go with us. I later found out, of course, that they already knew. Well, Steve did come with us. At the same time, my parents were in the middle of a divorce (though I didn't know it at the time we moved). I know this arrangement sounds strange, but my father's parents invited my mother to live with them before my parents were married to get my mother out of a somewhat similar situation we got my boyfriend out of, so it wasn't exactly an unusual thing for my folks to do for Steve.

Steve and I decided that we should finally tell them the nature of our relationship, come out to them. One Sunday morning, we were in the kitchen. Ma was going to fix some breakfast. I don't remember where my brother was, probably still asleep. Dad was away on business. We were both nervous as hell, but we told Ma. This is where the punchline come in: her response was

Thanks for your honesty, boys. Now, tell me something I don't already know: would you like your eggs scrambled or poached?
Yep. The Most Anticlimactic Coming Out Story Evah.

The whole family was totally OK with it, and while Steve and I are no longer together, he is still considered part of the family and we keep in touch from time to time.

So that's my story. What's yours? Don't forget, I'd love to hear stories from the aspect of our straight allies, too. We're not about tolerance, friends, we're about inclusiveness and community!

The disco floor is yours, friends.

Originally posted to commonmass on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:44 PM PDT.

Also republished by LGBT Kos Community, LGBT Rights are Human Rights, and Walking on Eggshells.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  And they said disco was dead! (10+ / 0-)

    Good evening CM.  I know it's off-topic, but I just saw "A Hard Day's Night" on TCM and am awash in Big Time Nostalgia.  I loved those guys.  (I saw it first in Tokyo, but that's another story.)

    OK, I'll step aside for the Serious-er Peeps.

    "Why you sockdologizing ol' mantrap, you!"

    by ejoanna on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:53:51 PM PDT

  •  Happy Pride Month CM ! (18+ / 0-)

    We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

    by Vita Brevis on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:59:58 PM PDT

  •  Do you keep your clothes in the fridge? (17+ / 0-)

    I ask because I think that you might have trouble even finding the closet again. :)

    Closets are much better for holding clothes and junk than people.

    My coming out was a fairly gradual process. It was taking place in the 70s when the world was still not a welcoming place. It resulted in some rough spots in the road such as getting run out of a fairly well paying job. However, I need to make a lot of changes in taking care of myself better, and that upheaval was part of what opened the door for that. I definitely feel that my life has pretty much worked out the way it was supposed to.

  •  One thing you never realize until you're older (8+ / 0-)

    is how thin the walls were at the house you grew up in...

  •  A misconception I had (28+ / 0-)

    back when I was living with my sexuality kept as a secret was that "coming out" was going to be a grand event, after which I would be openly gay and that would be that. While I did have two very important coming-out experiences, first to my mom and then to my brother, I discovered instead that coming out is often a process. I just came out last week, actually. It gets easier, but there's still that hesitation and that fear when you have to say the words "I'm gay" to somebody who doesn't know.

    I see my life as an openly gay person as being divided between "before I came out to my mom" and "after I came out to my mom." I've told the story before, but when I was in college, I took a day trip to Cleveland...I liked to drive the two hours to Cleveland because it was a bigger and more exciting city than the one I was living in. I went to an independent film theater, and on the way out I saw a local gay publication, and there was some kind of Pride photo on the cover. It struck me that everybody seemed happy, and I knew that I was not...and I knew why I was not. So I called my mom on the way home, and we talked the entire way back (I know, unsafe, sorry). It was an emotional conversation, and she wasn't happy, but she didn't disown me or anything like that. She asked me if I was afraid of dying of AIDS, and then she told me to never bring another man to her house. It has been a journey, and now my mom keeps asking me when I'm going to bring my boyfriend home to meet her.

    Months later, I told my brother. I didn't hesitate because I didn't think he was going to be okay with it...it just seemed awkward. One day, I decided to finally do it. By text message. He replied with a quote from The Office: "Gay porn, straight porn...it's alllll gooooooood." Pretty anticlimactic.

    In a weird twist of fate, when my boyfriend was going through some bad family issues because of his sexuality (he was outed to his family by another family member), my family comforted him and told him he was a part of ours.

  •  When one comes out as transgender... (19+ / 0-)

    ...one encounters some people who refuse to believe it and some who ask, "Couldn't you just be gay?"

  •  Great diary, CM. (8+ / 0-)

    Glad it was so anti-climatic. If I had some grand secret to share with my mother and she had already known, I am sure her response would be very similar to your mother's.

    I must end each day with a dose of Top Comments. A TC diary is a must for developing the calmness I need to get the required eight hours of sleep. - cohenzee

    by cohenzee on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 07:24:59 PM PDT

  •  My family moved away from me (20+ / 0-)

    before I graduated from high school. In fact, the last three months of high school, I had my own apartment. I came out to everyone around me except my family around that time. It was fairly easy because most of my friends were very open minded people (for the wilds of rural Illinois).

    It was my mother who asked me over the phone after I moved to Denver. I told her that yes, I was gay. There was a silence before she said she loved me and was proud of me for exactly who I was.

    Dad was a different story. Fundamentalist and deeply conservative, I let years go by without ever bringing it up. He had divorced my mother when I was 11 and moved to California, so he wasn't very involved in my life anyway. Again, it was him who initiated the conversation. Well, not exactly a conversation as inviting me to visit him in Southern California and if wanted to, I could bring my "buddy" along. Over the course many years, my marriage is fully accepted and they love Brian like family.

    That's my little story. Thanks for the diary, commonmass.

  •  I hate this diary. (15+ / 0-)

    Only because it made me realize I came out of the closet 28 years ago. The good thing is people think I'm only 35.

    Only 35?

    Gah.

    And no, I did not come out when I was seven; I was triple that age.

    sigh.

    Coming out was a non-event. Nothing really changed except my parents had to finally give up dreaming about a third set of grandkids. I have always considered myself blessed to have a loving and supportive family.

    28 years ago...

    Did I mention I hate this diary?

  •  I could risk a couple of "some of my best (13+ / 0-)

    friends are. . " cliched stories (like the office mate who was, off-work, a drag queen and was my bff for a long time, which my husband was cool with. . .although probably a little baffled.)  But won't.
    My "coming out story" as a straight woman is of being the laity leader at my church, a Protestant denomination that is still battling internally over the LGBT "question" (Don't get me started. . .)

    In our denomination, the Bishop picks the new pastor--although the  staff-parish cite. lets her/him know what we hope for.  So, change of pastors while I was chair of that cmte.  The cmte. asked for a pastor "with a family and children," etc.--after a disappointment with a pastor without a family.  I got the news first that the new pastor indeed had a family: spouse, teenage daughter, cat and dog.  And, the Bishop told me over the phone, "Her spouse is a. .  .woman."

    I was thrilled.  And I got to announce the changeover, emphasizing all the family checklist items the congregation wanted.  This was before the transition, so no one, but the small s/p cite. had met the new pastor yet. I gave them her background, what parish she'd served just prior.  And a little about her spouse, "Lindy."  A slight ripple in the pews, then I was saying that we'd come to love our new pastor, "and wonder how we lived without her."

    A few people asked me later: "Did you say Lindy?"  And a couple of people later left our congregation, but, 4 years later it's a big yawn--in a good way.

    Our denomination's LGBT battle at the national and worldwide levels still rages. But guess who's gonna prevail?

    ;)

    "Why you sockdologizing ol' mantrap, you!"

    by ejoanna on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 07:55:16 PM PDT

  •  coming out again & again (9+ / 0-)

    At work a library user complimented my wedding ring at the Info Desk. I could have said, "My husband has one just like it." But I didn't.

    I do sometimes come out to library users. One regular asked me how I was doing one day and I said something about being glad about some pro-marriage court decision - the striking down of DOMA and Prop 8 maybe. She brightened and said she didn't have anybody she was planning to marry but it sure was nice to know she now could if she wanted to. We agreed it made us both feel more human. No, I didn't know she was gay before that moment.

    Back to the wedding ring for a moment: in 2008 K and I were in Las Vegas, we'd been discussing taking out a marriage license but feeling our way along - the November election was coming up and I was getting nervous that if we didn't do it the electorate would take away the opportunity (we had already registered as domestic partners so technically we had the same rights in California) - so we were in Las Vegas and K walked us into a jewelry store to look at rings. At one point he said, "We don't both have to have the same ring." I said, "But isn't that the point?" The saleslady beamed.

  •  Damn (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, blueoasis, Penny GC

    I'm not surprised that it was a German who encouraged this. I mean, who has a better understanding of human psychology ... and who else requires notifying the state of every little move (referring to the law of registering every time you move in Germany).

    Lucky you, what a great mother.

    Thanks

    'A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit' Greek Proverb

    by janis b on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 09:45:43 PM PDT

  •  I thought I understood. (6+ / 0-)

    I thought after dealing with a couple of friends coming out that I really understood 'oh yeah, this is what it's like'.

    And then I figured out I am a heteroromantic asexual and GOOD GOD PEOPLE I HAD NO CLUE.

    It gets really complicated for us, because some of the WORST stuff that gets tossed the way of asexuals in general is from gay guys specifically, because we get misinterpreted as being self-hating gays who are pro-forced-celibacy. So some of the people who would be most welcoming to someone coming out as homosexual are among the least welcoming to us... and we have no clue which someone is until we bring the topic up. We also get some of the same kinds of erasure bisexual people get.

    I've personally been lucky in that regard.

    Worst was being told I'm not an animal by someone who semi-regularly reminds me that dehumanizing gay people is wrong. Which I've given no hint I would ever do.

    Best has been pretty much everyone I've come out to at my current church, where the reactions are so calm I've been known to triple check that yes, they did just hear me. I still get the full-blown anxiety every single time even there (and no, coming out to everyone and getting it over all at once is not an option in this community). Them and a few gay friends from high school and college who are really really good at talking people down from the anxiety and have been not only accepting but incredibly welcoming.

    •  First off, you got the right church there. (4+ / 0-)

      I am so glad that worked out.

      As you have discovered, "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You!" is not just lip service on the sign you see driving in to a town.

      SPES MEA IN DEO EST.

      by commonmass on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 10:35:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And from the ally side... (4+ / 0-)

      I was one of the first ten people a friend called before he came out to his mother. He had no clue I'd spent the single year I'd known him going ahead and figuring out where my beliefs stood on the topic for myself with no clue he might be.

      He just knew I was a friend. And rather intensely Southern Baptist at the time.

      Even before I figured myself out and realized what that call must have been like for him, I was deeply honored by the trust involved.

      Coming out to him in return years later is one of the few times it's been outright hilarious for me.

      •  Wow. THAT is an awesome story, (4+ / 0-)

        Cassandra.

        SPES MEA IN DEO EST.

        by commonmass on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 10:41:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  College was pretty hilarious that way. (3+ / 0-)

          Later on, there were more than a few times when I was the only person identifying as female (I think one or two of the people I didn't know too well may have come out as trans since) at a table full of gay guys at lunch, because hey I was good buddies with two or three of them and there was an empty seat and they didn't mind.

          Those buddies have been among the totally awesome coming out experiences on my end.

          And then I would go home for a three-day weekend and be held up as The Future Of The Church in Sunday School because I was good at keeping my mouth shut and heteroromantic girls can pass as heterosexual very easily in the SBC until they reach 'why aren't you married off yet?' age.

          •  My sister and another childhood friend never (3+ / 0-)

            married and they are in their late 50s now. They got a lot of questions. I feel badly for them as people say the dumbest things to them and assume things all of the time.

            In the case of my sister, she dated a lot over the years but she said she refused to settle. She is now very happy being single. If it is does not seem or feel right, she said she simply could not pretend or settle just for the sake of being married.  Interestingly her last boyfriend from a few years ago married a woman who looks so much like my sister, it is uncanny.  They could be twins.

            My childhood friend never dated much because she hates the dating process and she also was caring for her disabled sister and still is plus she had the responsibility of caring for her elderly father for many year. Men still ask her out a lot but she said she is choosing not to date because her priorities are her sister, her cats, her house, and too much else more important.  

            But once each turned 50, the questions poured in and people began making assumptions.  

            Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at http://keystoneliberalsforum.aimoo.com/

            by wishingwell on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:49:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Cassandra , do you get a lot of interrogations (3+ / 0-)

            from acquaintances, old friends of the family, and others ? I know my friend and my sister do. I am grilled by some family  members and others about my sister and why she never married because she is very attractive. These people are so clueless and nosey and I refuse to answer these questions. I used to get defensive about my sister and what people said behind her back, now I just laugh at them or ignore people like this.

            Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at http://keystoneliberalsforum.aimoo.com/

            by wishingwell on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:53:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I am in a long-term long-distance relationship (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              commonmass, Penny GC

              which helps deflect a LOT of that.

              It also causes another sort of issue, because a lot of people do not get that 'I am not sexually interested in you, but if I ever would be to anyone it would be to you, and can we do goofy romantic things together anyway because I'd really like that?' can be an actual basis for a relationship especially if both people are thinking that.

              Leaving the SBC also helped, because that got me out of the gender role presumption that I really should be married and raising little Southern Baptists by my mid-twenties. Or the quiet assumption I didn't figure out until after I was gone that for me to be able to stand living unmarried in my mid-twenties meant there had to be 'sexual sin' somewhere in my life Because Who Can Stay Celibate For That Long?

              •  Yes there is a difference between the questions (3+ / 0-)

                my sister gets living in GA and the questions my friend gets living in PA. As although my sister lives in a very blue  Atlanta suburb, she still gets these questions more often than my friend does who lives in a purplish large college town.  

                Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at http://keystoneliberalsforum.aimoo.com/

                by wishingwell on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:38:22 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Pardon My Ignorance (3+ / 0-)

      Does 'heteroromantic asexual' mean that one is romantically attracted to the opposite gender, but not necessarily sexually attracted? As in two people having a romantic relationship that is not sexual in any way?

      That is a totally foreign concept to me, but it also makes sense. I had never imagined such an orientation existing; but now that you've opened my eyes, I'm fascinated. It's kinda beautiful, too.

      You must face an entire set of challenges and also be privileged to have experiences I hadn't thought of.

      Thanks for your story, and thanks for expanding my horizons.

  •  Me and 'C' (10+ / 0-)

    Thanks for this diary CM. I've never considered or had the opportunity to share my perspective on having LGBT friends come out to me.  Some of the experiences are funny, some are not, and I'm mortally ashamed of my behavior during a few.  I guess some of us are too hard-headed to be able to learn and grow without first doing things which are so appalling in retrospect that we are forced to learn and grow in order to live with ourselves. It's not one of my most endearing qualities.

    The first person who ever came out to me was my best friend.  I was also the first person to whom he had ever come out, which is a key part of the story.  We were 14 and were at the school library working on a project for Latin class which we were to present the next day.  He told me later that he had been steeling himself for weeks to tell me this, but it came out as a kind of random non sequitur.  In between two translations, he said:

    C: "J, I'm gay."

    I responded with a line that still embarrasses me to this day.

    J (me): "Uh-huh" (as in "yeah, so?")

    You see, I had assumed he was gay for a few years already.  He had never said anything, had never had a boyfriend, wasn't effeminate or anything like that. We had been accused of having a hive mind, we were so close, and I guess I had just subconsciously come to that conclusion.  It was no big revelation to me, and I honestly thought that there was a comma after the statement and that he was going to complete the sentence. "I'm gay, and I'm going to tell my parents" or "I'm gay, and I have a boyfriend.", etc.

    Well, we had this weird moment where he thought I was going to say something, and I thought he was going to say something. As neither of our expectations were fulfilled, we finished the project and his mom gave me a ride home.

    The next day, he wasn't at school. I gave the presentation myself and then used the school's reception desk phone to call him. No answer. I figured he was home sick, so I gathered his assignments (as we always did for each other) and had my sister (a few years older, same school, my ride to and from school each day) take me by his house on the way home.  I knocked on the door and waited. No answer, so I left the packet on the doormat and went home. I called him again that night, and still no answer.

    When he wasn't in homeroom the next day, I started to get worried, and even more so when he didn't answer my call at lunch.  I gathered his homework again and had my sister take me by his house after practice (we were both on the football team, and coach was not impressed with his absence).  C's mom, V,  answered the door with this really pissed-off look on her face.  She was like a second mom to me, so that look was pretty intimidating. I handed her that day's packet, and before I said anything, she said:

    V: C doesn't want to talk to you.
    Me: What? What's wrong?
    V: I don't know (he hadn't come out his parents, yet) He won't tell me what happened, but you really hurt his feelings.

    And then mama bear shut the door in my face. I remember crying on the ride home and my sister looking at me like I had lost it.

    I was distraught, and I didn't know who to talk to. I couldn't confide in our friends, because they would guess about whom I was talking; and I had just enough awareness of the situation to know that C would not be cool with me outing him.  

    As it turned out, the person I chose to confide in was the youth minister at our church... let's call him "Jim" Mostly, I chose Jim because he didn't know C (who is Jewish).  I could refer to C as 'my friend' and I could safely assume that I wasn't betraying C.  Jim listened to me patiently, and then smiled and told me that my problem was that I was focusing on me, and that this wasn't about me or my feelings.  

    Jim:  J, your friend wasn't trying to inform you that he is gay.  He was trying to tell you that he has been keeping a secret and that he is ready to start telling people that secret.  He didn't tell his mom or dad, he didn't tell his other friends, he told you. He was trying to tell you that he trusts you more than anyone in the world, and that he is scared, and that he needs to know that you will stand with him no matter what.  Basically, he needs to know that you have his back.  You need to tell him that he can count on you.

    (So, yeah, when two 14 year old boys try to have that kind of emotional conversation... it sometimes comes out as "I'm gay" followed by "Uh-huh")

    How could C not know that I had his back? We had been friends since we were 5.  We had played t-ball together, we had been scouts together, I taught him how to put a live shrimp on a hook, he had taught me how to throw a spiral.  We had teased my sister together, we had lied to get on another out of dutch, we had gotten our asses kicked together. We had had campouts in his back yard where we fantasized about being astronauts, and we had make a pact (age 9) as serious and earnest as any international treaty, that if one of us discovered FTL travel, that he would take the other along. When my older cousin was bullying me once, C snuck up behind him and cracked him on the head with a pretty big branch (we were grounded from each other for a while for that one).  I had lied to his Rabbi to get him out of bar mitzvah classes so that we could go to Opening Day together. (another co-grounding followed). How could he not know?

    But Jim had made it clear to me that this wasn't about me, so I put my anger aside and I wrote a letter to C and I gave it to his mom with his homework the next day.

    C was at school the next day, and we never spoke of my boneheadedness or that letter ever again (yeah, i know... guys), we just resumed being best friends.  I'd like to tell you more about his experience coming out to his family and folks at school, but that's his story.  

    Sixteen years later, and he was the best man at my wedding, and two years later he accepted responsibility as godfather to our only child.

    It's only by grace that my being a complete and total idiot didn't result in the loss of my best friend. I like to think, also, that my being a complete and total idiot was the crucible in which the friendship of two boys became the friendship of two men.

  •  fascinating. Didn't know that about coming out. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, Penny GC, commonmass
  •  I'm straight and well into (7+ / 0-)

    middle age and I have no personal stories of people coming out to me.  (I really didn't keep in close contact with people from High School or college when it was still a thing, so no one I had known from before might have felt the need to come out to me later.)  I suspected my brother might have something to tell me for a while -- he didn't get married until he was 45.  Turns out he was just really finicky.  The friends that I have now who are gay or lesbian just introduced me to their-then significant others (now their spouses, yeah!).  Life is easier now, even for allies.  No tiptoeing around and pretending that you don't know, and no pain that a friend has to hide a significant part of their life from you.

    But, I did read a coming out story that I really liked.  This guy was ready to come out to one of his older female relatives.  I don't think it was his mom, I think it was his favorite aunt.  Anyway, he went over to see her and he told her he had something very important to tell her.  When he said he was gay. she started to cry, jumped up from her chair, ran over to him and starting hugging and kissing him and saying, "Oh, thank God!"

    Needless to say, not the reaction he was expecting, so he asked her about it.  She said, "You were so serious, almost grim, I thought it was something terrible like you had cancer or a fatal illness.  Thank God you're fine.  And don't ever do that to me again!"

    •  My sweet little sister gets so many questions (4+ / 0-)

      and I get interrogated a lot as she just retired last week after 3o years of teaching and she never married.

      I suspected my brother might have something to tell me for a while -- he didn't get married until he was 45.  Turns out he was just really finicky.
      People always suspect my sister but she had 2 very serious relationships but neither ended up working out. In one case, the guy was just too conservative, old fashioned, and self involved. In the other case, the guy was a tennis pro who spent almost all his free time playing golf. They could never go out on weekends because he was working at the country club teaching tennis. So he would have a weekday off and my sister would be at work and he would go play golft and then be too tired to do much of anything.  

      She said she might be one of these old ladies who marries a widower in a retirement village someday. But she also decided when these relationships did not work out, it gave mer more time to devote to her career. So she put her heart, soul, energy, and most of her time at the school. She was rewarded by being named the first female athletic director in her school;s history and one of the first in Georgia.

      Not to bring politics into this but the guys that kept asking her out were all conservative Evangelical wingnuts and very old fashioned in their expectations.

      Her friends said her problem was she was too independent and too modern for these southern guy
      s.

      My response.

      .Good for her.
      One of my dear friends came out to me when he was in his early 40s. We found him online , our gang from college, and asked him why he had been hiding from us for years. He never responded to all of our wedding invitations and we thought this once loving and caring man just did not want to be friends anymore. Well he was afraid to come out to us. I was the first one he felt he could tell.  Now our little group from college gets together once per year for a little reunion weekend and he is always there now.

      Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at http://keystoneliberalsforum.aimoo.com/

      by wishingwell on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:04:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for sharing your story in such a thou... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, a gilas girl

    Thank you for sharing your story in such a thoughtful, articulate way. My story is a bit irreverent, but as honest as I could think to make it: http://youtu.be/pncvW5avy_Y Happy Pride Month!

  •  A certain young person I know (0+ / 0-)

    has a feminine legal first name, a gender-neutral nickname, and a gender-neutral "preferred name" (made up by this young person) which is known to all of the friends of this young person.

    The parents don't ever refer to this young person except by the feminine legal first name. They appear to know no other names.

    Since I only know this young person because I know some young people who travel in the same circles, I'm a rather distant observer, but I wonder if the parents are being willfully blind. If so, it's a very sad situation, and not a good omen of things to come in family relationships. I just hope that the social changes rolling across the country will come to Texas soon.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    •  P.S. to the above (0+ / 0-)

      sorry if this description seems rather lifeless, but considering the situation, I don't want to make things difficult for this kid-who-is-almost-adult, because things are probably going to be hard enough as it is. How much easier it would be if parents worried less about their social position and more about their child!

  •  I am a straight, old married lady, but I would (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CyberLady1, LuvSet

    guess that at least half of my male friends are gay.
    The first of my friends to come out to me was my friend 'Harry' (not his real name as this is not my story). We had met the first month of freshman year at a small town community college. We were fast and furious friends. We would skip classes and drink or smoke and were in the Theater Group together. One day we sitting in the car trying to decide what to do (drink or smoke or both;) he said 'I have something to tell you, I am gay.' Just all 'matter -of- fact, my answer was 'yeah, so what are we gonna do?!'
    We decide to see a movie and that was that.
    He latter told me that he had told me first because he knew that would be my reaction and it had given him courage to 'come out' to the harder people to tell.
    My husband comes from a conservative, slightly religious family. (I say slightly because they do not go to church, but think they have all the answers.) When we first got together one of my flaming gay friends had a dinner party. On the way home in the taxi that night, he was all, 'So your friend Darwin...he's...gay?!' My response was, 'So this is how we will do this, if you think one of my male friends is straight how about you ask me that, otherwise just assume my male friends are gay and you will be mostly right.' The taxi driver chuckled to himself and my husband never asked me again.
    I have 2 daughters and my oldest, just turned 16 she has had a friend 'come out' to her already when she was 13. And just last week we were talking about family that isn't blood related (Like 'uncle Harry') and how if anything ever happened to both Mom and Dad that these non-family-family were still going to be a big part of their lives and they would 'do anything' for them (her sister and herself). She nodded and then exclaimed that her unborn children already had a 'gay uncle Harry'!!! Everyone needs a gay uncle!!!!
    I often reference my gay uncle Michael, he is not blood related but he was my best friends gay uncle and he had told me I was just like his niece, so feel I can claim him as mine.
    He was instrumental in so many small ways for making me the adult I am today.
    RIP Uncle Michael!!!

    “When you victim-blame, be aware that in all likelihood, at least one woman you know and love silently decides she cannot trust you.” ` Steph Guthrie

    by Penny GC on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 10:09:37 AM PDT

  •  well done! Enjoyed the read. Cheers from E. Wash. (0+ / 0-)

    State!

  •  Wonderful coming out story! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smileycreek

    Greetings to you, CommonMass. Do you remember a certain Episcopal Sister with a bit of a potty mouth who sang in the Schola? I would love to re-connect and play catch-up. I'm now causing (good) problems in the Episcopal Church in MN.

  •  Sorry I missed this when it was fresh! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge

    There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

    by slksfca on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 12:03:56 PM PDT

  •  Sorry I did too. (0+ / 0-)

    Seems to me I've told my own story in drips and drabs, but that sounds like a diary I should write myself, next week.

    Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall

    by Dave in Northridge on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 03:10:23 PM PDT

    •  Great diary. (0+ / 0-)

      Just one thing, though:

      I invite queer and transgendered folks to share their coming out stories in the comments
      Don't include the last "ed". But I know you don't mean it pejoratively.

      On a different note: I am male, but I began to feel attracted to a male friend of mine late last year. It grew into feelings for him that I've never had before for anyone else. I'm so glad that I've been able to realize this about myself.

      •  Sorry Dave. (0+ / 0-)

        I did not mean that as a reply to you, but just as a general comment. I accidentally hit "Reply" instead of "Post Comment". I felt it necessary to clarify that because of my note about the word "transgendered", which you didn't use.

  •  Too late to tip your excellent diary, commonmass (0+ / 0-)

    I did not know this history and find many parallels to the "coming out" emancipation process in my own life, even though I'm as straight as can be.

    Republished to the "Walking on Eggshells" group with this editor's note:

    Originally published on June 2nd. The history of the term, "coming out" and the process of self-disclosure as emancipation has many parallels to the process by which men and women decide to "go public" with their stories of abuse, assault, and sexual violence.

    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

    by LilithGardener on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 11:12:52 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site