Wednesday, November 21, 2012
A Word of Advice for Holiday (Coming) Outings
I know that for those of us newly having come to terms with
our sexuality and identity, there can be a transformative
sense of elation and freedom...and also a desire to
share with others, since we have been
burdened with isolation for so long.
Considering this, the holidays can seem like
the perfect time to spring the news on friends
and family, while everyone is in one place and
moods are (at least in pretense and theory) high.
But I would caution folks from doing this, despite the
popularity of the action, without giving ample
thought, time, and consideration to it first.
The euphoria we feel when newly out (even if
only to ourselves) can affect our judgment on
these rather large life-decisions.
Now, the most specific target audience I am
addressing is the youth; anyone still living at home
and emotionally (and particularly financially)
vulnerable. Or, anyone of any age whose living
arrangements or physical well being are tied up
in another's good graces.
The predominant desire--at any age--is that you will
let the family member or friend whom you care about in
on the good feelings so that they too can experience them.
But there is no telling what the response will be,
and the numbers of teens who are kicked out on the street
every year for announcing being gay or lesbian (or for
that matter, questioning) is astronomical.
I don't say this lightly to produce fear; simply to be
the voice of reason and considerate deliberation.
(When I came out to my parents as a young teen,
my father raged and physically threatened me, called
the sheriff to remove me from the home, and screamed
like a madman. I escaped to my 'liberal cool' aunt's house,
where she turned me away as well. You just don't know, and
your safety isn't worth taking chances with.)
If the whole 'being out' thing is new to you,
you should try telling one or two close people
first, in a safe and intimate environment.
The euphoria of being in this new place can warp
your perceptions about whether things are really a good
idea or not. Feelings can lead your mind to think what it
wants, rather than what's realistic. Therefore, even though I
am personally balls out, I suggest others feel out the situation
and circumstances before they potentially put themselves in a
Think it through, be calm, consider it carefully,
get the advice of a great friend or counselor
or even someone else who has gone through the coming
out process. It isn't a race, and if telling people is
a good idea now, it'll still be a good idea later.
Don't rush. You have to consider the big picture.
(Conversely, you can't undo it once done, so...)
On the opposite end of things; if you're feeling
depressed and isolated because you are not
handling your sexuality and your feelings well,
please know that you don't have to go through it
alone. Many of us went through very dark days
on the road to loving yourself; this world is harsh.
But there are places to help, and people who care.
And most certainly you should avoid folks who
make you feel badly about yourself. You deserve better.
There's more to our lives than sex, there's more
to our world than disapproving people. Break out
of the bonds of fear and repression, and just
be free! It's a work in progress...but it is worth it!
For more info, support, and stories
of others, check out