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Go ahead. Come all the way out.

06/09/2010

I know several guys who are out to some people and not out to others. I don’t want to be judgmental here – we all have to walk our own path –  but I just don’t get that.

You may be scared to death about coming out as you read this. I remember the feeling clearly. The unknowns just keep on coming at you. What will people think? What will they say? Will they shun me? Will my wife shoot me? Will my kids run away from home? Will I get fired? What will my parents say?!? Egads! That’s a scary one!

Coming out when you’re no longer a sweet young thing ­– maybe after years of marriage, fatherhood and/or membership in Kiwanis – can be rough. All sorts of difficult things can, and sometimes do, happen. Wives sometimes become hateful. An old friend may drop you like a hot rock. Your church may throw you out on your ass. You could get fired for being gay. In most states that’s legal.

But, this is about living honestly – as yourself. You probably wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t out or somewhere on the path to coming out. That alone says a lot about you. It says you are brave enough to face facts and acknowledge that you can’t live with the lie any more. And that says you need to suck it up, face the shit-storm (And it may be a real doozy, honey!) and get to the other side. I was lucky that I didn’t have to deal with as much drama as some of us do. But, I can also say this: Life on this side is so much better, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat – and maybe walk through fire this time – just to get here. No one I have ever talked to has regretted coming out.

So, if you are going to go through all this, what’s the point in stopping before you get all the way there?

I met a guy at a social event last year. I thought he was sort of cute and when I found out he was fluent in French (hot, hot, hot in my view) I knew I needed to see him again. Well, it turns out that he lives with his boyfriend of several years, and the three of us went out for a sort of awkward dinner.

Where dinner really ran off the rails, though, was when the boyfriend told me he was not out to his mother. Say what? He’s an almost 40-year-old adult, his mother lives in a town less than 50 miles from Nashville, he has co-owned a condo with another man for two years, and he hasn’t come out to Mom. OK, fine. Whatever. But it gets worse – apparently Momma doesn’t know the French-fluent guy even exists! (Which I find hard to believe unless she’s a total cretin. Denial is a mighty big river, babe …) Anyway, Mr. French-fluent has to make himself scarce when the old lady comes to the condo to visit.  WTF?? That is just nuts!

I’m not talking about the moral dimension here – honesty vs. the big lie. I’m talking quality of life. Just thinking about the logistics of all that hiding and dodging, verbal and otherwise, makes my brain hurt. These two poor slobs have the worst of both worlds. Coming out (to some people), buying a condo with your sweetie and failing to tell your mother (who lives at most a 40-minute drive away) is like having gallbladder surgery and refusing to let the surgeon sew up the incision. Nothing is ever settled. Nothing ever heals. It just keeps on hurting.

My point: Face it down an do it. Yank out the bad tooth, stop the bleeding and start living again. No matter how much you fear the pain, or how much it hurts right now, the pain will never completely go away until you are fully out and can be fully yourself.

I know, boys, this is very, very tough advice. I resisted it for a long, long time. But it is sound advice, and I’m sooooo glad I finally followed it. Do it! Do it for yourself.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. 06/10/2010 4:51 PM

    Nice work, David! I’ve enjoyed what you have written so far, and am looking forward to more! I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like coming out after making the realization that you are gay. It had to be rather nerve racking! Of course, I’ve always held you in the highest regard. I’ve always enjoyed our conversations, and continue to look forward to more. I’ts always enjoyable to discuss “hot button” subjects with intelligent, open minded people, and no doubt in my mind, you fall into that category! Keep it up!

  2. 06/10/2010 7:14 PM

    Thanks for your kind words. It’s been an interesting couple of years, but not without an internal logic that makes everything seem right-side-up for the first time. Nice.

    I haven’t jumped into the fray on some of the more heated exchanges on yours. But I have been watching, and plan to drop a comment in now and then.

  3. cloverbell1280 permalink
    06/13/2010 2:00 PM

    I agree with all your points here. Do you think maybe, just maybe, that some people (not fully evolved or along their path perhaps) enjoy perpetuating the secrecy just a little bit? It’s exciting and binds you together with the other secret keepers and gives you something to talk about, roll your eyes at, get worked up about. I mean, once we’re all living completely “authentically” and sent all the postcards in to Post Secret we might look around and say “that’s it?….now what?”

    • 06/13/2010 2:08 PM

      You may be right, though I still don’t get it. Though I can’t be certain, the particular guys I wrote about seemed to be keeping the secret because this guy simply didn’t want to confront his mother. I’m sure there are also lots of other reasons. In my case, and only speaking for myself here, I was soooo glad to get free of the secret that I wanted to tell everybody. The “now what” was a real life. Which is what I wanted.

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