Fumble’s guide to a life spent coming out the closet
“Coming out shouldn’t be a big deal.”
This is something non-straight people hear a lot, and much of the time, it’s straight people saying it.
In reality, for those of us who have to ‘come out’, whatever feelings we have about our sexuality, or whoever it is we are, it feels like a pretty massive deal.
Sure, we live in a time where queer folk are more accepted than ever, and some of us are envisioning a world in which nobody need come out at all.
Those of us who have been through it remember the build-up in emotions before you take the plunge – the nerves, the fear, the shame, that unshakeable sense of doom. It shouldn’t be a big deal; but in all honesty, it feels like you’re about to jump off a cliff.
Once it’s all out in the open, and the dust begins to settle you might even look back and ask yourself what the big deal was.
Well, it might not be over yet!
For a lot of people coming out is more than just a one-time event. Chances are, you’ll find yourself doing it again, and again, and again – to new friends, in a new job, at university, to new housemates, at family get-togethers.
And while the world is (slowly) improving its attitude to queer folk, that same world still likes to assume that we’re straight or cisgendered.
Here are 5 easy tips to help you come out (again)
The first thing to remember is don’t freak out. When someone at work assumes that you’re straight and asks about your opposite-sex girlfriend or boyfriend, it’s OK to be thrown. We spend a lot of time as teenagers having people assume to know who we want to have sex with. When it happens after you’ve come out, it can be uncomfortable; but use it to your advantage!
If you’re comfortable, one way to resolve this might be to jump in with a joke about your same-sex girlfriend or boyfriend. Laugh it off, and make them feel silly for assuming to know who you’re attracted to (after all, it is 2018). And if you’re not ready to share yet, that’s fine – brush over it for now, nobody’ll notice.
This links to our second pointer – it’s OK to be nervous. Don’t feel guilty because you’re not as comfortable talking about the kind of person you’re attracted to as Queer Eye’s Fab Five. That confidence comes with time.
Some people prefer to keep their sexuality to themselves. Just because we are queer, doesn’t mean we need to be queer, or anything other than we already are. However you feel talking about your sexuality, that’s fine – it’s yours.
This takes us to our third point. Just because you’re already out in your personal life, you don’t need to send an all-staff email to new colleagues telling them that you’re whatever you are. Pick a good moment: one that’s good for you, not anyone else. The same rules apply here as the first time: you don’t have to tell people right away. It’s on your terms.
When you’re ready to come out (again), remember that the hard part is over. Chances are, many of the people in your life who truly matter already know that you’re queer. This new lot didn’t know you before, so why should they care? They probably won’t bat an eyelid.
Which brings us to the final thing: remember to be proud. Always. We all want new people to like us; but don’t let the desire to fit in take over the conviction and bravery that empowered you to come out in the first place.
Regardless of how well your family and friends took the news, we still live in a world that likes to tell us that our sexuality is a problem. What you did was incredibly brave. Hold on to that person, and be proud of yourself, because who you love is entirely normal.
So there we are! You’re ready to come out again (and again…and again). It can be frustrating, and tiring, but don’t hide yourself away; it gets easier. Promise.
Not a big deal, right?
Words by @_samuelkier
For more advice on coming out click here to read more on the Brook website