December 1st, 2012 marks my second year of officially being of the closet. Last year I created the blog post “The Light Behind the Closet Door” on common questions/situations when coming out. This year I decided to talk about seven things I wish I knew or wish those coming out of the closet to know.
1.) Walk. Jog. Run – This is your marathon and the marathon is your life to complete with whatever pace you feel comfortable. We don’t come out of the closet and that is the last step. We still have to become comfortable with ourselves as LGBTQ+ individuals. We have to reach the point of being proud of our identities and voicing that pride. We need to be comfortable enough one day to hold our partner’s hand in public or call them our _____. We have to wrap our head around the idea of marrying someone of the same-sex one day and of how we might have children. It’s a marathon and you have to do it on your own time. Just be sure you’re always making steps forward, even if they’re baby steps or leaps.
2.) Dating is Location.–When first coming out of the closet, it feels like everything should fall into place, especially dating. It is not that simple to snag a guy – maybe if you have an Abercrombie & Fitch model body and masculine mannerisms. There is nothing wrong with that but life is more complicated than looks. The city you live in affects your dating pool – the amount of singles and the types of personality.
3.) Dating is Timing – Not only do we deal with everyday dating insecurities, we also deal with how comfortable and mature with their sexuality is, their family’s effects on them and their friends. Someone may be a great person but they may not be in a great place with their sexuality compatible with yours.
4.) The World at Large – By no false reality do I consider myself very masculine in the stereotypical sense. My voice isn’t very deep. I don’t like sweating unless it’s planned I love to bake. I’m an Oprah fanatic and I lack an interest in football. However, I love canoeing, don’t mind moving things, will kill bugs, like opening doors for ladies find Padma Lakshmi sexy. We judge ourselves, are judged by the world and feel a need to fit certain gender roles or stereotypes. Don’t. And don’t let a homophobic person’s stares while you’re walking with a guy friend in short shorts or while walking out of a rainbow door intimidate you. You’re amazing and respect that.
5.) I Know Someone for You – With finding other gay guys, it can be easy to have your friends help you meet someone. Many occasions you will meet someone and they will tell you, “I know the perfect guy for you.” Most likely they have one single gay best friend and really like you, so want to match you. Matching people is difficult enough when they’re straight; don’t become overly optimistic unless you’ve met them.
6.) Cookie Cutter – Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I represent the G in LGBTQ+. My gay experiences are different from other gay men’s experiences. Gay is one part of me but not all of me. I like to think being gay makes me more special, but I’m also not a prize to be had as someone’s gay friend upon meeting me. Honor yourself as a gay person to not let others treat you in that way. If my friendship with someone as a gay person happens to enlighten them, perfect, but I’m not the new best friend to pick out clothes with, talk out scenarios of why Stephen hasn’t texted you back and to figure out if that friend of a friend is gay or just friendly. I can do these things but want to be my friend for many reasons that.
7.) LGBTQ+ – there is a whole slew of sexual orientations and identities, thus the plus sign. Take the time to learn more about them but know learning about them is part of the marathon too.
Once again, as Kelly Cutrone says, “Just follow your intuition, be smart, be brave, and tell the truth and don’t take any s*#t.”
I hope you enjoyed this post! Feel free to comment, follow/tweet me on Twitter@JarrydK