Today is National Coming Out Day! And what better way to celebrate it than to reminisce on all the ways we homosexual people have come out! While for some, coming out may be a glorious moment where they finally put their fear aside and decide to be honest with themselves and everybody else, it can also be agonizing and extremely unpleasant for others.
I’ve written my first post about homosexuality a few months ago here, but I don’t think I’ve made my point quite clear. Well, the whole point of that post was actually that coming out of the closet should be a choice. We should be free to decide whether we want to admit that we’re gay or not. Like they say, “Being a homosexual is not a choice, but coming out is,” but is it, really? What with the trouble that comes with it, it hardly seems like a choice. Once you’re out, you’re bombarded with prejudice, discrimination, bullying, and the like.
So for National Coming Out Day, I’ve decided to come up with a short list of “coming out problems”
1. Jargons and Euphemisms
The term “coming out” seems to have become common knowledge now, but I have talked to people who still don’t know what it means. It’s kind of frustrating when you tell someone “Okay, I’m coming out of the closet,” and they just look at you weirdly then you’d have to explain. Sometimes, we homosexuals (and bisexuals, but for simplicity’s sake, we’ll just use “homosexuals” from here on) also like to use euphemisms to make situations less awkward, like “I’m a vegetarian” or “I’m AC-DC.”
“You know, I’m queer,” “really? I think you’re pretty normal”
So yeah, jargons and euphemisms may make it a little less awkward, but it can be very very frustrating as well.
Let me just clarify first that stereotyping is quite different from discrimination. Stereotyping is a very normal thing that everyone does because we have this code in our brains that tells us that this should be like that, so as to organize data. That said, there’s nothing really wrong about stereotyping, but it can be annoying sometimes. I’m sure most of our “straight-looking” homosexuals have been told, “you’re joking right? You don’t look the least bit gay,” many times.
I’ve once been told, “your hair is too pretty to be lesbian hair.” I’m sure she meant well when she said that, but that sounded more like an insult than a compliment. Which brings me to my next point,
3. The “sayang” or waste
In the Philippines, when someone finds out that an attractive person is gay, you’d usually hear, “Sayang siya!” which roughly translates to “S/he’s such a waste!” So what, gay people can’t have attractive partners? If you’re a Darwinist (which I highly doubt you are) and your line of thinking is actually “S/he’s such a waste, s/he would’ve made beautiful babies,” then you’d still be objectifying the homosexual, and yes, it would still be insulting.
“This sausage is really good, honey, would you like some?” “No thanks, dad, I’m a lesbian.” “WHAT?!” “What?”
Boy, that escalated quickly! But to be honest, it’s really hard to find the perfect timing to come out, especially to someone you’ve known for quite some time. I’ve written about how accepting my mother was when I came out to her, but it’s a whole ‘nother story with my father. Let’s just say he’s not very fond of gays and that he’s said some things I’m not proud of. Don’t get me wrong, I love my father, and if given the chance, I would totally want him in my wedding walking me down the aisle. But right now, I just can’t find the right timing to come out to him. Truth is, I’m hoping ten years from now, he’d just figure it out when I’m living with my girlfriend and trying to adopt a baby… or a husky pup… or both… probably both… most definitely both.
5. Social Media
One of the supposed easier ways of coming out is through social media, where all of your family members are probably stalking you. You’d think it’d be so easy just posting “I’m gay” or simply changing your relationship status. Ha! Think again. “I’m gay” is probably the most over-used post by hackers. Nobody would really believe it. I don’t know about the other cultures, but here in the Philippines, young women like to “play house” and pretend they’re married to someone from the same sex when they’re really just best friends, taking it as far as posting it on Facebook. I have friends who call they’re best friends “wifey”, “my boo”, and other romantically endearing terms supposedly saved for the real thing.
Fact is, social media is just a page on a monitor where you can choose to put whatever you like with nobody stopping you. What you put there does not necessarily have to be true. So no, not even an instagram of you kissing your homosexual partner will prove that you’re really gay.
Most of these things on the list have already become instinctual reactions to us that we just brush them off. I know some gay people who even set these coming-out-traps themselves. It’s become “the norm” so why fight it? I’ll tell you why. It’s still demeaning. Even if you don’t mean it, it still comes out badly, and it still hurts sometimes. Plus, you’re contributing to the societal point of view that “gay is synonymous to the lesser” (thank you, Macklemore) with every demeaning thing you say. The “sayang” term? Yeah, it kind of sounds similar to when you say, “oh he became a drug addict and a convicted murderer? that’s such a waste.” The term faggot or “bading” in the Philippines is used in disgust, used to belittle people.
Not very encouraging, yeah? Well, like I said before, coming out is not really easy. The problems I’ve posted here are just the trivial ones. Homosexuals go through way worse things than these. But in my opinion, none of those hardships would matter as much as not being able to love freely. Everybody tells you how hard it is, but no one ever mentions how beautifully easy it becomes afterwards, when you’ve got your partner’s hand entwined in yours.