Sorry Glee, Coming Out Of The Closet Was Actually Super Fun

I have been openly gay for seven years, which means that today is my gayaversary! I realized it this morning when I was reading over “Dear Gay Dude” questions and subsequently got lost in a “coming out” K-hole.

So I have a confession to make. I know that coming out of the closet has been portrayed as this incredibly tortured thing and I’m sure for many {or most} it is. But that wasn’t my story. My coming out experience was actually spectacular. Instead of being greeted with a cold slap across the face, I was showered with penis pasta and a dildo. Literally. Allow me to explain.

I came out of the closet on the second to last day of my junior year. I had wanted to do it for awhile but was obviously afraid. I knew my parents and friends wouldn’t care {in fact my sister talked to me before about being “honest with myself and others”) but it was still scary for me to identify as gay. In the middle of my junior year, however, I met a boy at my school who was also gay and developed a crush on him. Soon he was all I could talk about. “OMG, what’s he doing? Should we hang out with him? I love him!” My friends were like, “Uh, yeah, he’s cool but why are you foaming at the mouth?” I wanted to shout back “Because I want to S his D!” but I couldn’t. It was frustrating because I knew that if I wanted to pursue this dude, I had to come out. I didn’t want to harbor these feelings for him while pretending to be straight.

So I came out. It was after school and I was driving with my best friend at the time. I think we were on the coast near Santa Barbara when I told her I had something to tell her. She immediately got super nervous and later admitted to me that she thought I was going to reveal that I had feelings for her (LOL). She pulled over on the side of the road because we were such teenage drama queens and I said, “Um, I think I’m gay.” She started to scream and was so happy and I was so happy. It felt amazing, like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. We then went to California Pizza Kitchen to eat spinach artichoke dip and talk about boys.

The next few weeks were insane as I embarked on my Coming Out tour. I basically told everyone I knew in the span of two weeks. I was averaging three people a day and it was actually exhausting! To expedite the process, I decided to just throw a party where I would sit everyone down in my living room and play them a video of me saying that I was a big fat homo. Looking back, it was sort of genius. The video started with my best friend (and now roommate) and I slow dancing in my room when all of a sudden she tries to kiss me. I tell her “No, I can’t!” and then turn to the camera and say “BECAUSE I’M GAY!” I know, isn’t that just the queerest thing you’ve ever heard? My friends cheered for my homosexuality and then we all proceeded to get wasted off of two and a half Mike’s Hard Lemonade’s. To decorate for the party, I went to one of those weird novelty stores in the mall and bought penis pasta and other gay shit to put them in gift bags that I would give to my guests. It was probably the best party I ever threw in my life. Here’s an embarrassing picture from that night:

Anyway, that was that. I was here, queer, and so ready to deal with it. That summer ended up being everything I could ever ask for. I got to be with the dude I liked and finally be real with myself. My life felt like one of those cheesy coming out movies that you could rent at Blockbuster.

I know how lucky I was to have this experience. With the recent coverage of gay bullying, suicides, and anything that’s ever happened on Glee, people are constantly reminded that not everyone has such an easy road to acceptance. That being said, I feel like coming out stories such as mine also deserve to be a part of our cultural narrative. It doesn’t always have to get better because for some, it starts off great. I get frustrated with the media sometimes for painting such a bleak picture of homosexual youth, and I guess that’s why I chose to tell you my story— to remind you that sometimes coming out of the closet can be really amazing. You can get a boyfriend, penis pasta, and have a great excuse to throw a party when your mom goes out of town. TC mark

image – Wikipedia

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

Read Here

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  • http://staugustine2.wordpress.com/ STaugustine

    I can't wait until a certain percentage of the People Who Came Out have to face the fact that they only did it to be trendy and actually don't like cock/pussy that much after all. On the other hand, the new phenom I've been tracking for about ten years is Progressive Parents Who Predict (actually Hope) That Their Toddlers Will End Up Gay. Only in one case (thus far) has it turned out that way. The disappointment! The heartbreak…

    • guest

      OMG, are you *the* St. Augustine?

      • http://staugustine2.wordpress.com/ STaugustine

        Depends on what you mean by “the”

      • guest

        I REALLY LOVED YOUR BOOK CITY OF GOD

      • http://staugustine2.wordpress.com/ STaugustine

        asslicker

      • riles

        OR LIKE THAT ONE FLEET FOXES SONG

        heh

      • http://staugustine2.wordpress.com/ STaugustine

        yup!

      • http://valentine-kitchenson.tumblr.com valentine-kitchenson

        or Band of Horses??

    • FC

      You are tracking this “phenom”? More like trolling, but watch this: http://vimeo.com/22633337

      • http://staugustine2.wordpress.com/ STaugustine

        retahd

  • Aaron

    Yeah, I grew up in an incredibly small and incredibly redneck town… I never came out, but then everyone knew I was gay from the start. I had a boyfriend my sophomore year, we even kissed in the cafeteria and on stage in front of everyone… sure there were a couple rednecks who would try to start shit once in a while – but my incredibly small town and it's incredibly conservative inhabitants looked after me. It's funny, I dont have a “coming out” story because I never needed to come out, people just knew, and I have been loved and supported regardless.

  • http://twitter.com/_daybreaks jacob walse

    while interesting, that kind of coming out story isn't what majority of the youth go through.  so while it's valid and part of the cultural narrative, it isn't one that needs to be put a spotlight on.

    • Bobby

      While this particular coming out story obviously isn't the norm I don't think you should assume that the majority of youth are going through painfully traumatic experiences while coming out. I lived in the conservative town in texas and was the first one of my peers to come out. Needless to say, without any knowledge of how they would react besides the horror stories I read about and saw on TV I expected the worst. Much to my surprise I didn't get a single negative comment and it was all very anticlimactic. Most of my gay friends experienced the same thing.

      I'm not going to sit here and claim that me and my friends represent the entire gay community but I think the spotlight could be shared between heartbreaking stories of abuse and heart warming stories of acceptance. While it is important to aknowledge how far we have to go it is also equally important to show how far we have come. It's stories like these, stories of love and acceptance, that can give a young gay teen the courage to come out; or if not that, it can give them the hope needed to carry on in troubled times.

      • http://twitter.com/_daybreaks jacob walse

        aaaand you completely missed the point. point being that because it's not something the majority of the viewers/etc. go through, it's not something that is focused on. because honestly, how many gay youth who've come out went through a happy, peaceful coming out as opposed to those who got kicked out or something.

        also, sometimes giving someone hope when the outcome could most likely turn out horrible is a terrible thing. the kid's expecting hugs when suddenly they get slapped because they were thinking the happy coming out story is the norm? oh man.

        i'm not saying it isn't valid, i'm just pointing out the reason why it's not being spotlighted on in popular media. okay? okay.

      • Lesharo

        I think, though, that the point of the comment and the article was that, yes, people do go through hardships coming out and they should be forewarned that it may be a very trying time in their life, but that every now and then, the happier stories do need to be shared. 

        Yes, you are probably more likely to have a bad time of it than a good time when coming out, but, it's not necessarily going to be doom and gloom.  Be brave.  Be yourself.  The rest of the world can get over themselves if they don't like it.

      • http://twitter.com/_daybreaks jacob walse

        “I don't think you should assume that the majority of youth are going through painfully traumatic experiences while coming out. “

        Also please stop being so American Imperialist or something. Think about world context okay. More homosexual kids are actually going through “painfully traumatic experiences while coming out.”

        I hope you understand this, and that the rest of the world is sadly still backwards.

    • OpusDea

      I feel as if Ryan made the same point you just did in this post.  He clearly understands each story is different, and expresses that all stories of either positive or negative experiences should be shared.

  • AndrewJC

    Thanks for sharing your story; coming out in American culture is a complicated thing. I believe that your experience is probably not representative of most, however, and I want to temper the sentiment with a different anecdote. I lived in Germany until I was 11, then spent the remainder of my formative years in southeastern Virginia during middle and high school and throughout undergrad study. The Hampton Roads area is dominated by military bases and the headquarters of Pat Robertson's CBN and Regent University (both under 30 minutes away from my parents' house). The area is dominated by social conservatism; I've had friends sent to “pray the gay away” camps, medicated for “mental illness,” and forced by family and community to remain in the closet through the first years of our adult lives (I am now 23). I was much more fortunate than most to have a supportive and loving family and a close network of progressive/supportive friends — and college proved to be a real awakening for me in terms of my personal/sexual identity; however, again, that is probably not the typical story here or in many places in rural America or the Deep South. 

    I think your story is really helpful for people on the cusp of coming out — they've already decided that it's time and while they may be nervous about what is to come, they are committed. For those individuals, your story is inspirational and will give them hope looking forward. But, for those individuals who have not come to that decision yet — who struggle with their identities at a fundamental level or suffer with extreme depression — I'm not sure they will be able to believe it, yet, and may be turned off by what they could perceive to be a fantasy. The horror stories and saddening anecdotes are not so much useful for those individuals either, but, rather, useful for the people around them — Glee, the Trevor Project, and countless advocacy groups work to provide the worst (re: most realistic and unedited) possible perspective in the hopes that collective rather than individual behaviors will begin to change. Parents, brothers, and sisters are less-likely to badger and bully, more-likely to be open-minded and seek answers rather than ideological reinforcement, if they see that the alternatives are grim. Nevertheless, my parting sentiment is that a combination of these perspectives is ideal — giving young LGBT individuals access to the information they need, the anecdotes that may be useful to them, etc., irrespective of where they are geographically/ideologically/religiously/developmentally. Keep doing your thing — I'm an avid reader, Ryan!! :D 

    -Andrew J C

  • http://profiles.google.com/petertiso Peter Tiso

    Please, Please share that video.

  • Indescifrable

    I can totally relate to your coming out experience, mine was also very positive, my friends were very supportive, got girlfriend kind of soon and it's been a bliss ever since.Actually none of my queer friends had any problems while coming out.

    The few gay guys that I know had to endure hard times in high school were the “losers/nerdy” type so I guess they were gonna get bullied anyway, because all of their not-gay friends ALSO had to take it (it's still wrong obvs).

  • http://twitter.com/790FM Frank

    amazing, hilarious, inspirational, etc. etc. etc. hopefully this will become the mandatory method to come out, sort of like a quinceañera or your first communion.

  • http://twitter.com/SisterSoda Eva

    Happy gayaversary! I lost my virginity on a June 2nd. Coincidence? I think not.

  • yosoyrichie

    this is a wonderful story. i think it is very ironic that media focuses on the bullying and on how things will get better eventually to encourage closet gays to come out when all it does is intimidate them. nothing is better than being who you are. people may or may not appreciate that, the iportant thing is you know how to give love and respect to yourself. kudos!

  • simón

    You should totally share the video. Honestly, I think it'd be amazingly inspirational. And congratulations by the way!

  • meg

    Love this! =]

  • http://twitter.com/thedavidou David Ou

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I'm sick and tired of every show on tv playing the gay card on every other episode. it is a phenomenon plaguing our television sets and netflix cues. The media is definitely making coming out harder than it has ever been because of the portrayed drama that accompanies it when all of that can be avoided. I'm happy for you and all of my gay friends who have had a good coming out experience and your story further proves that while many gays still face enormous criticism for being gay, there is also a substantial number of gays who have had toned down, normal, and at many times, joyous experiences coming out. American media is simply using this dramatic, overstated (and formerly taboo) occurrence to boost ratings and viewership among the many straight people who are finally accepting the gay community. This is probably more detrimental to the gay community than ever, but who knows…

  • miamkhan

    ryan, this post is fantastic like most of the stuff you write and while i'm at it i just need to lay it out there that i am a usually disdainful of blogs female unhealthily obsessed with you(r) (writing)

  • hhlk9
  • Alex Keen

    This reminds me of a conversation with a lesbian friend of mine a few months back. We came to the realisation that we both felt like outsiders in the gay community because we couldn't identify at all with the stereotypical story of struggling with one's sexuality, coming out against adversity, losing old friends and making new ones, having a sense of pride about one's sexual identity. Of course it sounds like a whiny first-world problem, and I hate the accusation that gay people flaunt their sexuality unnecessarily, but it's incredible how a cultural narrative of triumph against adversity and battling for acceptance can become so predominant that you end up feeling like less of a 'real' queer person if you aren't wearing a rainbow flag as a cape and your parents don't talk to you any more.

    • glacierbay81

      Odd to feel bad for not feeling bad.  I don't wear a rainbow cape, but I'd rather have less adversity, family that was more accepting and a party when I came out and then feel left out for not facing adversity…Anyways, these stories of triumph still need to be told–good or bad. Glee has been melodramatic about coming out, but I remember high school — it was hard to be gay. Maybe it's not now for high school kids, but in a few years when they grow up and write shows, that will probably be reflected in the stories and plots, I would hope.

  • hhlk9
  • http://ethecofem.com Bema

    Your Coming Out Tour showed sparks of creative genius at an early age.

  • guest

    …So did you ever get to S his D????

  • wbwcw7
  • Fox

    I can't stand cross dressing and flamboyant gays. I actually have a lot of gay friends (mostly from Florida) and we constantly talk about a shared hatred for fags. Try to figure that one out mainstream PC. I mean, its not like I constantly shout that I'm heterosexual to every living creature like they should give the ultimate fuck. That being said, its the 21st century and people only really give a shit if your gay and annoying. It just so happens most gays think they have some point to prove to people who care less whos dick they sick.

    • Scottie

      You are a fucking idiot. Why do you give a fuck if someone crossdresses or is flamboyant?

      You don't need to shout that you're heterosexual because everyone ASSUMES that. That's one of the benefits of being straight, you fucking twat.

      • Fox

        And vagina. Don't forget that. Oh and boobs. I loooove being turned on by boobs. Hey you guys got… hairy dick in the ass… thats kinda the same?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=567590480 Ng Lay Peng

    Want some penis pasta!

  • respectableslut

    i MAY be pmsing or something, but this literally made me so happy i cried.

  • Notatirem

    Getting wasted off two and a half Mike's Hard Lemonades! LOL! Those were the days.

  • M.S.

    The reason the media paints such a dreary picture of gay youth is because being young and gay, for most people, sucks. I came out at 16 when I was a sophomore in high school to a mix of reactions. However I think the REAL issues that make being gay so difficult aren’t so much the coming out process and all that (though that’s not to say that isn’t important) but rather the after effects.

    Like you’ve mentioned in your other posts, we are a culture who reportedly doesn’t want long-term monogamous relationships. The only people I’ve ever met who truly “enjoy” being gay are naive people suffering from severe tunnel vision. They can’t see beyond Friday night or see past their next fuck. Then again I’m one of those “holier-than-thou” bitches you talked about so maybe my opinion doesn’t mean anything.

    It’s just that I’ve noticed when you’re growing up gay and you are a “serious” person who wants a steady relationship in your 20’s, people don’t really respond to that. The HRC and other groups sell the idea we all want to be in happy, loving, monogamous relationships but when you really step back and look at the big picture the majority of gay youth are doing everything BUT that.

    Like you said in “This Gay Boy Wants A Boyfriend”, maybe our fate IS just to end up like your uncle in his huge mansion. Certainly looks that way, especially when we’re apparently willing to put up with partners who cheat because it’s “better than the alternative.”

  • John

    Hi ryan I love your blog. I am semi closeted and am so envious of you. I wish I was out in college and no reasoni shouldnt have been cuz im in massachusetts but im coming to terms with it now. Its much harder coming out as an adult I wish I did it younger. Keep up the good work

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