It made me think about stuff I don’t think about that much anymore, now that I’m a bit, shall we say, older… It reminded me of just how hard it is to take those first steps.
I get emails all the time from people who are in the process of coming out, and I tend to say similar things in my responses to those people:
2) Before you come out, make sure you have a support system in place, and make sure you are safe and have a place to go in case things don’t go well.
3) It’s going to be fine in the end. You will be able to find, somewhere in this world, people who will love you for exactly who you are. Hopefully those people will be the people closest to you now, but if that turns out not to be the case, it’s not the end of the story — just the beginning.
I think these are solid points, but I realize I give them without always re-living what it feels like to be coming out. How scary it is to stand out on that ledge and wonder if it’s worth it. If being fully authentic is worth the possible repercussions with family and friends. And it is, by the way. But still, I need to remember just how frightening that was to me.
It almost ended my life. It really did. Those who knew me back when I was a teenager know just how sad I was. How much realizing that I was different than my family of origin in a significant way simply destroyed me. I’m a sensitive bloke; but I think it would be hard for anyone who is being honest with themselves. At some point, those of us who happen to be LGBTQ have to look at this issue of authenticity, and damn. It’s rough. Even today, when it’s less rough than it used to be.
So anyway. To those of you going through that today, know that we on the other side are cheering you on, and that we have your back, and that we’re so Goddamn proud of you. Because we are.