What Coming Out means to me

Although I am relatively content with my life and I have come out of the closet to some people, I have equally chosen to not come out of the closet to others.

Coming out of the closet to everyone in my life and to people who know me continues to scare me profoundly.  I can only call this a form of profound fear because I am afraid of the awkwardness it might create for me and I fear the negative consequences of losing the things that I hold dear – this includes my sense of self, the validation and respect of some friends, some colleagues, some relatives and my in-laws – I fear what they would think and how they would react. Do I really want to know what they think about my sexuality? NO! Do they really need to know what my sexuality is? NO!  Do they need to know I am not monogamous sexually? NO!

Why? I obviously (rightly or wrongly) fear the opinions and judgment (including condemnation) of other people; and I fear being placed in a box and being labelled – heterosexual or gay or bisexual or promiscuous – I just want to get on with my life without having to justify my sexuality and lifestyle choice to other people unless it is absolutely necessary.

My approach to life at present is that I do a cost benefit analysis. I undertake a risk analysis. What do I have to gain and what do I have to lose by sharing something as personal as my sexuality, my sexual preferences and my sexual activities? Do I stand up and get counted on matters around the human rights issues around sexuality when it counts or not? My honest answer can only be not always.  Perhaps anonymously, but not by holding my head up high and saying this is who I am to the world – I am gay and live a bisexual lifestyle.

I determine who to come out too based on how comfortable I am with a person and the nature of my relationship with people. I don’t want to be excluded by certain people. Exclusion for me (in some instances) is a worse fate than being condemned as guilty of being my authentic sexually diverse self, because it means forfeiting some relationships which I truly cherish and value.  Why do I need to share or impose my sexuality on the people in my life? What added value is this to them or does this create for me and my self-esteem?

Does this mean I am living a lie, that I am grappling with my conscience and that my integrity is not always a constant? Does this mean I am weak? Does this mean I am selfish? Or does this mean I have made informed choices to deal with my inner emotional turmoil and mental wellbeing in the best way I know how? In my case, the answer is all of the above.

Coming out is quite therapeutic and cathartic for some and can in my opinion be quite damaging and traumatic for others. We all have to make informed choices about whether to come out or not. Is there a right or wrong time to come out? Is coming out a good thing and a sign of progress? I would suggest coming out should be a well thought through process for each and every person.  I doubt if there is a right or wrong answer to all the questions that I have raised. Everyone will have an opinion!!!!!!!!

I often wonder if I am good person or am I a bad person?  I often wonder if there is a right or wrong answer to many of the questions above. Right and wrong in my opinion are often abstract concepts (a juxtaposition) usually informed by societal, spiritual and personal values.

Paradox © (2012)

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. keredim69
    May 08, 2012 @ 09:05:13

    Very candid post and a pragmatic approach to coming out. Coming out in my opinion, should be a personal choice. I don’t think other people should suggest when or if one should come out.

    Like we say in Nigeria, “Na person wey wear shoe know where e dey pinch am”

    It’s your life, it’s your choice, so long as you are happy and true to yourself!! And we must remember “happiness” is relative.

    Reply

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