The concept of coming out is somewhat odd. It’s taking a very personal part of life, that is, sexuality, and announcing it to the world. So why do it?
In a perfect world, it wouldn’t be necessary to come out of the closet because there would never be a closet to begin with. There wouldn’t be any shame associated with being queer, so people wouldn’t feel like they had to hide it. Instead of coming out, we could just live authentically. But that isn’t the type of world that we live in.
Here, many people make a huge deal out of sexual orientation, especially within the LDS community. It is a lot easier to demonize homosexuality if it is just a title or a stereotype; if there aren’t real people behind the words. There are many stereotypes that people associate with being gay, so when I tell them that I’m gay they assume that I also fill those stereotypes: having as many sexual partners as possible, being attracted to any and every guy I see, abandonment of the Mormon faith. While these may be true for many, it would be insulting to assume they apply to everyone that identifies as gay. We are individuals just as much as anybody else is. We are more than a label.
That is part of the reason that I needed to come out; to humanize what it means to be gay. Maybe if people see that I, a gay man, am relatively normal, they will be able to see homosexuality as normal as well. Because it is normal. Not the majority, but still normal. It’s not something that someone can choose. It’s not good nor bad. It just is. And it doesn’t mean anything except I am attracted to men. So unless someone is interested in dating me, it should change nothing about our relationship. I know there will be people that don’t see it like that, and I always worry that I will be abandoned by someone when they learn that I’m gay. My family has so far been great about still loving me and having a place for me regardless of who I end up with.
I also feel that as long as I live in the closet I’m living a lie, and I hate that. Ellen Page said most of what I want to say, so watch her.
I too am tired of hiding; I’m tired of lying by omission. It’s exhausting, and I can do so much good if I don’t have to focus so much on being what others might want me to be. So starting now, I’m living authentically, publicly out of the closet. Because “a closet is no place for a person to live.”