It's Pride in my part of the world. I know that there are probably like, ten people reading this because one person has commented and that is how representation works. I figured that I'd pass on how Coming Out works.
So. I come out all the time.
I came out for being a lesbian. I came out for being bipolar. I came out for being asexual. And having come out that often there is a few things I’ve learned about coming out that I’d like to share.
For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction.
Yes, that’s right. Newtonian physics make a great understanding of social interaction. The first time I came out it was a Big Deal. There was crying and hugging. My friend, who is also my ex-boyfriend, actually skipped my first ‘I need to come out’ appointment because he thought I was angry with him and that was why we need to Talk.
Everyone took it quite well. This isn’t to say that everyone is going to be this lucky, but I know my worst reaction was the patronizing eye-rolls of ‘sure you are’ with the it’s just a phase but we are will to pander to your quirks right now. My aunt was really cool and asked me if I was trans in a totally non-judgemental way. And she’s from the deep country and was raised by her Irish Anglican mother. For those who don’t know, Irish Anglicans fought with Irish Catholics because the Irish Anglicans thought that Irish Catholics are liberal. And grandma was Very Irish Anglican.
But going into it I was prepared to lose friends. That being said I am of the firm opinion that the caliber of my friends reflects upon me. This doesn’t mean that I don’t hang with people who ‘lower my status’ in the arbitrary way of constructs. It means I don’t hang out with bigots. So if someone in my friend circle was a giant homophobe then coming out was the quickest way to root them out so that when I did need them I didn’t have to deal with the drama of my main issue and discovering that my friend has a lot of other phobias and biases that make the situation worse.
So the second time I came out, with the bipolar, I toned it down a little bit. I didn’t make specific meetings but I did go out of my way to gather my friends and do the ‘I have something important to tell you” in big groups. It went well enough again. I only have had one person who I was barely friends with (he was a friend of a friend) try and take advantage of my mental disturbances, and now he is just a friend of a friend and so not my problem. I did tell my employers because I like medical accommodation and I had been at my job long enough that I couldn’t just be fired.
The third time I came out as asexual I tagged the people who needed to know, took the “What about second breakfast?” Lord of the Rings meme and made it about second coming out. Yes, I used second because people don’t realize that disclosing a mental illness really is coming out. My tag line for it was something along the lines of “Yeah, I’m asexual. As you can tell I’m deeply concerned about how you are going to handle this. Deeply concerned.”
And by going through this, all of this, I learned a couple of really valuable things I’d like to share.
1) Saying “I’m [insert here]” doesn’t make it any more true. I was just as gay as I was the year before I came out as I was the year after. I was just as bipolar. I was just as asexual. Saying it doesn’t suddenly cement it in stone, like making a pact with the universe. It’s true, whether or not you say it. That doesn’t mean admitting it isn’t liberating, but it’s a lot like saying that you really do just enjoy the taste of tofu. Most people won’t care, some will look at you funny and edge the way out of your life, some will try to convert you to vegetarianism, and some will just gladly hand you all of their tofu. It doesn’t change how much you like tofu, but it does allow other people to act on that information and for you to go get all the tofu you enjoy. dAlso, if you suddenly hate tofu you are allowed to change your mind.
2) How big of a deal you make is how big of a deal everyone else makes. When I came out as gay, as I said, there were a lot of affirming hugs and ‘we love you for who you are.’ When I came out as asexual, no one told me this. There was no affirmation because I wasn’t asking for it. It was here is a fact about me. Cope. So people coped.
3) The relief is totally worth it. One of the things that has made me the most uncomfortable with orientation was trying to have friends include me in the game. I understand that this came from love, like lending a friend your favorite books. You keep doing this in the hopes that they will love one of them as much as you do. But for me this was a huge problem because it made me feel broken. I’d go somewhere with a group of female friends and they’d go, “That guy is so hot! Don’t you think so?” Unless they pointed or there was only one guy there I’d actually have no idea who they were talking about. If I could figure it out through guess and speculation, I’d still not know why he was hot. I’d smile and nod and go totally and hope no one asked me any skill testing questions.
After I came out it got a bit better, but then everyone, guys and gals, would ask me which celebrities I figured were hot. I made up a lot of stuff. When I finally came out as ace that all disappeared. Yes, I can recognize aesthetic appeal, but that is built on very different components than sexual. Breast size is not a big thing for me. Bigger boobs actually freak me out a bit, especially when they aren’t proportional to the person they are on. It’s not an aesthetic I find appealing and I’m letting those who do like it to know that I’m not competition. But now a lot of the pressure to engage in sexual game behaviors has adjusted to fit me, instead of me having to pretend to fit it. It’s an enormous relief.