Unless born in a very open-minded family or society, every gay person in the world has probably felt it. Pulse racing, thoughts scattered, heart thumping so fast he worries it may explode. Every gay person in the world has probably felt the horror, the fear of coming out. I know, because I’ve felt it.
Our stories differ, this I’m certain. The feelings we felt when we first revealed one of life’s biggest secrets vary from fright to excitement. The feelings we felt when that someone whom we shared our real story to also vary from relief to sadness to joy. But one thing remains: we did it, and we succeeded with rainbow colors (pun intended).
What follows then is simple advice from someone who’s done it, which I hope will somehow inspire or at least give much clearer insights to other gay people who are still hiding in the closet.
Not everyone is going to accept you, and that’s okay. Even before planning how you will tell anyone that you’re gay, you have to accept that not everyone will accept it and that’s perfectly fine. By everyone, no matter how painful it may sound, this includes our colleagues, our friends or our own family. It will hurt because – quoting a little John Green in this – they matter. They are what matters to you the most, and what they think about you just simply matters. Once this happens, perhaps all it should need is time. Give them a little time and space and maybe, just maybe, a day will come that these people who once did not accept the life you’re living, will open their arms so wide for you that you and all your worries will fit into it.
You don’t have to come out if you’re not yet ready. Even the leaves in the trees fall at the right time, during the right season, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself in handing out coming-out fliers to everyone close to you. No gun is pointed at you, ready to shoot unless you scream of your gayness. Take your time. It should take a lot of preparation for one gay person to finally be ready. Because you have to realize that you have to be, more than anything else, emotionally prepared for everything that you’re bound to feel once you let your secret out in the open.
Lastly, if there’s someone who should first love you for being gay, it’s you. With a gender that’s admittedly not yet accepted by the entire world, you owe yourself some love—that love that homophobic people couldn’t dare to give us and, to be frank, probably couldn’t even give themselves. It’s the same as accepting that you’re actually gay; you have to be able to embrace the gay in you before you can actually, genuinely, without any prejudice, embrace another gay person. Because ultimately, if you don’t love yourself first, who will?
So what comes after finally doing it? Think of every feeling you’ve ever felt in your life; you are going to feel all that, and more. It will be overwhelming, that’s why you had to take your time and prepare yourself in the first place. There might even be a moment when you’d wish you didn’t do it, but you will soon realize that you only did the right thing.
You were, after all, just being true to yourself. And that’s all that matters.
You will often feel two emotions at the same time. You will feel happy because you finally revealed your long-overdue secret—and because most people accepted this fact—but you will also feel sad because of those who felt otherwise. And that’s okay, because it’s normal.
The hate, the disgust, the objection from other people will not die, but love will live. Although there will always be people who are not ready to accept our fates, love will continue to live. Love will remain, and it will protect you from all the pain. Love—whether from family, friends, or even from strangers who smile at you upon seeing you holding hands with your same sex—will remind you that you are still living a good life, a good world.
Love will live in all kinds of forms: a gentle kiss, a warm embrace, accepting words, or even the simplest among them, a genuinely normal look or smile that as if nonchalantly says “So what?” after finding out that you’re gay, you know?
And finally, you will be free. You have struggled to gain freedom and once you come out of the closet, I promise you this: you will be free. Of course, freedom always has exceptions but the freedom you’ll gain from jumping onto that rainbow is from within. Not only will you feel as if your self-esteem has increased by several notches but you will also realize as if a thorn that’s long been pricked in your heart has been taken off.
You will let out a huge sigh of relief for a burden has been lifted off your chest. You will come to a point in your life where you actually feel that you’re stepping onto a brand new chapter in your book. You will realize all the things you’ve missed before your coming out, and even all the things you are to look forward to.
So, by any chance, if someone asks you why you did it, why you came out despite the negative outcomes, all you have to tell them is: “Because I want to finally live the life that I deserve.”
Go live. Feel the breeze outside the closet. Be gay; be happy.