Why I Came Out
I make no secret in this space that I consider myself Bi/Queer. Comments I’ve made on other blogs hold this fact in no secret either. While it took me some time to become comfortable with this aspect of my personality and my being, it took me much longer to fully come out, despite the the fact that I knew growing up that I liked boys and girls alike. I first started with very close friends in my early-mids 20’s, and I was up-front about it with my now ex-wife when she and I began dating. For nearly a decade, though, I held that part of myself secret from my parents and my brother. I knew, considering the environment in which I was raised and the religious proclivities of my parents, that such a revelation would prove disastrous to our relationship. Despite the very Christian claims of “Love the Sinner, hate the Sin” I knew from my experience in my early 20’s of my parents finding out that I don’t consider myself Christian that the amount of preaching about my “choices” would be a large contingent of every conversation we had for months, if not years, after I told them. I knew they would withdraw from me, and I from them; that I would, in effect, lose my family. Why, knowing this ahead of time, would I choose to come out instead of just keeping things quiet and following the established protocols? Why would I choose to alienate myself from people who might not be able to handle the news?
Quite simply, I was tired of hiding. For years upon years I had hid my nature from my parents and from my brother for fear of how they would react. While the promises of endless love and support always stemmed from my mother’s mouth during our various correspondences over the years, I had enough evidence from her over the years to know that she viewed any act of love or lust between two people of the same sex or gender to be a sin. In early 2004 she attempted to get me to sign a petition encouraging the proposal of a national constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman. This sparked a long email chain between us where I shot down every one of her claims and informed her that I refused to support anything bigoted, hateful, and restrictive to a single group of people like that. She informed me that because it was a choice, those people weren’t being denied anything. We did not speak for months after that incident, and never spoke of it again. I’m fairly certain she has since forgotten about it. Her Bi/Queer son has (obviously) not. How much more effective would my arguments then have been if I informed her that I was one of the people she was fighting to restrict? I may never know.
By the time I left my ex-wife and came out to my parents (all in the same week, which I am sure traumatized them exponentially more than doing either individually) I had reached such a strong depressive state that I no longer cared what any person anywhere thought of me. I wanted to reboot, to get everything out in the open and rebuild without having to keep straight who knew what things about me. I wanted the freedom that only comes from being forcefully open and brutally honest with myself and with others. In the same way reformed Christians seek their version of the divine to help them through a crisis I sought exposure of my core.
My parents did not take well to this new knowledge about me. Surprisingly my aunt stated that she had always thought I was gay, so that me being Bi made sense. Who knew? My brother also failed to take well to his adjustment to his view on me, and he has drifted further from me since. As I both feared and expected, the core group of my relatives, including my mildly homophobic uncle, distanced themselves very quickly from me and dropped all semblance of emotional support or availability. Were we not already somewhat distanced due to years of extreme physical distance from each other — we’ve lived anywhere from 800 to 2000 miles apart for all but 2 of the past 13 years — I probably would have taken this distancing harder than I did, but I still had times where thinking of it too strongly would send me into a weeping fit for hours. My family, my relatives, my own bloodkin couldn’t handle me being who I am. It was like being a stupid hormonal teenager all over again at age 29.
Nevertheless, it is a decision of which I remain steadfastly proud. While some would argue that I did not need to burden my parents with information they clearly could not handle nor support the fact remained that I was limiting myself so severely in how I interacted with them that I no longer enjoyed even talking to them, much less being around them. My mother stated for years that I always seemed depressed, when the reality was I was shutting down around her. Being around my parents reminded me of the oppressive state in which I felt I was raised. Once I realized that I could continue to live under those negative circumstances or choose to live openly and freely, I chose freedom.
Now I am one of those who can claim truly that It Gets Better. I have an amazing partner and future wife in Mrs. AP who embraces every facet of my being and encourages me to live openly, honestly, lovingly, and happily. I have a support group of small but dedicated friends who are always available for help if I need it, even if they do mostly live in other states. I have a growing number of community members here among the sex bloggers of the world who offer advice and entertainment on a daily basis. Most importantly, I have acceptance and peace within myself. I am unabashedly proud of my Kinky Poly/Open/Sometimes-Swinging Bi/Queer self. I call family who I choose and who chooses me out of love instead of my blood.
I came out to be myself, and in the process found everything and everyone who truly matters to me.
Stay SINful, friends