My first coming out experience was messy. It involves me, my diary and a very snoopy sister. As you can guess, she read what I had poured out into the diary. Fortunately, she was okay about it, and after swearing off writing a revealing diary ever again, I began to search. I searched for articles on how to come out, what to do after you come out, when is the right time to come out, basically the whole deal.
After I became well versed in the art of internet self-help, I decided it was time to come out to my friends. It felt awkward, but most of the times, I didn’t care what anyone thought about me, and I ended up with a group of close friends who accepted me. I was 18.
After that, all was good and peachy for a while. I had this idea of what being gay meant, and you can say I tried a tad too hard to fit into the new definition of who I was. I had to be loud and proud, I need to go clothes shopping with my girls, I need to act fabulous, etc.
Looking back now, I realize how misinformed I really was. I am not against the stereotypical image of a gay man, but rather I am against this idea I had that being gay meant behaving in a certain way. It took a lot of time for me to realize gay people came in all sorts of forms and characters. It took even longer to stop buying into the label and to just be me. But I had already put up this constructed view of who I was to my friends, and had this irrational fear that changing who I was would lead to rejection. And then I moved to college.
In this new place, nobody knew me. It was a clean slate. I was overjoyed at this opportunity to completely reinvent myself. It was at this point that I decided I would not tell anyone about my sexual preferences. You never really stop coming out in your life. It is a continuous process. A process that I quickly grew tired of. I didn’t see why I had to come out in a place where most of the people are still more than slightly homophobic and where gay people still had no legal rights. Why would I want to knowingly jeopardize my social life for the sake of being true to who I am? And so for the past 2 years, I am back in the closet and it quite honestly has been a less stressful life for me.
Sure, pretending to be straight requires you to make some false comments about girls, and how you think they are hot, but pretty much nobody really gives a damn what is going on in your private life. It takes a little effort to effortlessly squeak under the radar, and every once in a while, you slip up and make an inappropriate comment about a hot guy in front of your straight guy friends. Just ignore the stares and change the subject to how hot Jennifer Lawrence is (it really is as easy as that). Ultimately it all came down to the fact that I have always, always been afraid to be who I really am. I’m not justifying what I have done or not done. Not living life as a gay man may or may not be the best option for me. Heck, I might even have set the whole LGBT movement a step backwards. The fact remains that I am in the closet and I am perfectly happy where I am. And I am still trying to figure out how that is possible.