By: Jane Jett of DiskretAdultLife, February 2nd, 2019
In this day and age, you wouldn’t think that sexuality would not be something that people would be ashamed of, let alone revealing feelings of desire for people of the same sex. The truth is that the world is still to judgmental and not completely open to change and or acceptance. On this blog, I want to talk about the importance of sexual acceptance with one’s self and having compassion for those that are not the quote in quote in a heterosexual relationship. If you’re gay, lesbian, bi, or anyone who may be struggling to come to terms with their sexuality, at the beginning of your journey, you may have a humungous mountain to climb before you get to the top. For some people, they will have to simply walk up a hill, while others will need to climb Everest. Coming out to others is a different experience for everyone who faces the challenge depending on who they are coming out to, where they are coming out, and of course their own thoughts and feelings.
Coming Out 101:
If you’re someone who has the mountain before them, then I’d love to be of assistance to you. Here, you’ll read up on the importance of coming out and being comfortable with your sexuality. It’s time to break free of those chains!
Before we move forward let’s break down the subcategories –
Gay- The adjective used to describe people whose enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attractions are to people of the same sex (e.g., gay man, gay people). Sometimes lesbian (n. or adj.) is the preferred term for women. Avoid identifying gay people as “homosexuals” an outdated term considered derogatory and offensive to many lesbian and gay people.
Lesbian: A woman whose enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction is to other women. Some lesbians may prefer to identify as gay (adj.) or as gay women. Avoid identifying lesbians as “homosexuals,” a derogatory term
Bisexual -A person who has the capacity to form enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attractions to those of the same gender or to those of another gender. People may experience this attraction in differing ways and degrees over their lifetime. Bisexual people need not have had specific sexual experiences to be bisexual; in fact, they need not have had any sexual experience at all to identify as bisexual. Do not use a hyphen in the word “bisexual,” and only capitalize bisexual when used at the beginning of a sentence.
Heterosexual – An adjective used to describe people whose enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attraction is to people of the opposite sex. Also straight.
The Importance of Coming Out:
Coming out is something most people who are not heterosexual will face and triumph over. However, the key word there is “most.” Some people don’t face this despite knowing that it is something everyone who has found themselves and came to terms with their sexuality will face. It is known that coming out is the hardest task that someone who is gay, bi, etc. will face on the journey of their sexual orientation, but unfortunately, not coming out and suppressing yourself can lead to some dire consequences.
Coming Out Consequences:
Of course, not everybody will face consequences when deciding not to come out of the closet because some people can live with it and avoid the question for a long time. Maybe the truth will come out in their future either willingly or by mistake, but who knows? If you’re here reading this, it’s likely because you are conflicting on coming out yourself and looking for advice online, and I hope you’ll find what I have to say useful to help you on your way. If you’re just someone thinking, or have an interest in the topic, then I hope you learn something too!
Everyone wants to be comfortable in life living where they are, around other people, and with themselves. Being uncomfortable with your sexuality can prevent comfort in life at all levels, which is why it is so important. You may have come to terms with your sexuality and accepted who you are, but what prevents many people from coming out is what other people may think of them. It is another example of humans preventing themselves from being who they are out of fear of judgment. You may feel like the fear must be crushed for you to be comfortable, like many others. So let’s begin to crush fear beyond recognition!
Coming Out: Never suppress your true self, you’ll only damage yourself and possibly others.
If you’re having trouble revealing yourself to people, and refuse to come out and reveal your sexuality, essentially, you’re simply suppressing your emotions and your true self. As you may know, by not telling anyone essential information that you need to get out there, keeping information which bottles up inside you, can damage you mentally. The bottled up emotions inside you will eventually explode. A problem which isn’t resolved overtime begins to change you in an awful way, like nuclear waste, leaking out and destroying the purity of everything around it. It’ll make you feel down at first, but then the real emotional trauma can develop, and it’s something you don’t want to face. Eventually, signs that emotions are being suppressed will become increasingly obvious to others such as your friends and family, making it possible that they may catch on that something is wrong, hence why it becomes hard to hide after a while.
The emotions you suppress are negative ones, and keeping negative things inside you is bad. Plain and simple. Several things occur when you suppress negative emotions on a sensitive topic inside you over a period of time. They lay dormant in our subconscious and develop in the form depression, mood swings, and stress. It can eat you up and spit you out.
Bare in mind that by keeping it hidden, you can hurt others too. I’ve had an experience with someone who I knew who was bisexual. He was okay with telling the closest people to him of his sexual orientation, but his parents were against it. They didn’t know he was bisexual and didn’t care about other people’s sexuality, but wouldn’t have approved of their son if he wasn’t heterosexual.
Coming Out: Emotions
This caused him to bottle his emotions to the point where he wasn’t himself, yet he hid it extraordinarily well. He wanted a relationship with someone, he built them up from the ground but destroyed them as soon as they were at their hight of their friendship because he tried to suppress his emotions and hide them from his parents. The two aren’t as close as they were, and despite how much I try to explain to the one who suffered, he is convinced he done something wrong that day. The damage was done, but it could be reversed. I guess you could say that’s why I decided to write this article.
One of the biggest consequences which can occur when suppressing your emotions after trying to come out is the damage you can do to yourself mentally and the effects it can have on others. It must always be remembered.
2) Coming Out: Judgment can be scary, but are people really judging you?
People refuse to come out and avoid the task because maybe they think their friends may reject them or their parents may disagree with their choices. These reasons are common, especially within young people who are finding themselves. But it is also common that these are all in your head. Many people will not judge you for your sexuality, and especially not in today’s society. People will ask questions, but they will be ones which relate to your sexuality and you that you can probably likely answer, and if you don’t want to, you don’t have to. Simple.
“When did you find yourself?”
“What made you realize?”
“So… do you ‘like’ anyone?” (Yes, when people find out, they may want to know more, such as when questions like this are asked.)
Yes, people will question you, but it is likely because they are interested, not disgusted. Most people are civilized human beings, they will respect you and your choices. Your friends and family may throw digs at you, but that’s to be expected. Just always remember that they’re your allies and if they’re true allies, their heart will be in the right place and they won’t mean anything by it. Play along and don’t be shy!
On the other hand, some people are not so accepting and may genuinely dislike you for your choices despite it not affecting them what so ever. Homophobia exists, and a small group of people, the people that make you want to suppress yourself, will hate you for your sexual orientation. But just remember. These people are small, small in the sense of the group of people who share their negative beliefs, and small in the sense of the person themselves.
Coming Out: Friends
Friends may turn your back on you, but keep in mind that the rest of your friends will be behind you to protect you. Coming out is a sensitive topic and they will know that. Your allies will be there for you against anyone who will try and attack you for it. Your family may dislike you for it, and there have been instances where people have been disowned by their families because of their sexuality, but always remember that your friends and other family members will be there for you, and society is on your side.
You could always make arrangements for temporary accommodation with them if you need to or forced to move or get away for a while. There will be official local, regional, or national support groups for you to get in touch with and speak about the issues you face and they can be found with a simple search online. These support groups can be contacted before you come out so you can talk to them about your feelings and discuss your options. If you are in school or college, they can also help you.
Coming out: Homophobia
Homophobia still exists today, but so does racism and sexism after everything we as a society have done to progress these past decades. Simply look at how racism and sexism are treated and seen in society today. Negative right? Well, homophobia is seen in the same way. Bigots will always exist, but we’ve gotten this far while they exist, and we will continue to progress as a society when dealing with these issues in the future. Don’t let them lock the closet door! Break through it, because in the bigger picture, that lock is a plastic one you’d find included in a kids toy at the dollar store. It’ll break with the slightest breeze!
Coming Out: It may seem terrifying, but it’s not all doom and gloom!
Yeah, keeping it all in can create some huge problems, but that’s all the more reason to let it out. It can be a burden and can create a lot of trouble, but you must always remember there’s support for you everywhere, may it be from the people you know or official groups and organizations. On the other hand, things may go extremely well, all of your fears may just be in your head. Worries can warp things to the extreme. Perhaps you can practice saying it, imagine some scenarios and play them out!
I wish you luck taking on the task of coming out. It may possibly be the hardest thing you encounter when dealing with your sexuality. I’m not here to force you to come out with your sexual orientation. I hope you can take something from this and it gives you confidence that you can do it. You can be you and you deserve the right to be. Below you can find a few links that I hope will help you on your journey as you are not alone.