Gay Women and Men Coming Out - Three Personal Accounts

We Are All On A Journey

Some people just seem to be born knowing who they are. For others, the voyage of self-discovery can be difficult, even dangerous.They can be cast aside by friends and family - they are often ostracized and shunned.

Their normal curiosities must be hidden, and their fumbling first experiments must be carried out in secret. Otherwise they open themselves to ridicule and, all to often bullying, and abuse.

A climate of fear and hatred still blankets much of our world. Children are taught to go in fear of those perceived as different.They are taught to attack anything that is beyond their understanding, sometimes by the very people who are in a position to, and who should, protect all the innocent lives in their charge.

Gay Pride Rainbow Flag
Gay Pride Rainbow Flag

We are fortunate that some enlightened souls and brave activists in this country have stood and been counted. They have raised their voices in protest. They have fought for and attained legislation that protects some of our charter rights, but the struggle for equality and acceptance is far from over. Every step forward is hard fought: every small concession, hard won.

...but it is worth the risks and the heartache, for who is anyone among us that can exisit for long cut off from their innmost being. Who among us can do more than just exist if they cannot realize and be completely who they are.

Give Them Hope

Behind The Title...

The reason behind the hyphen in the title of this hub is one of the reasons for my writing it. ..."How To Tell - If you are gay..." - more particularly, if you happen to be the gay person who is doing the telling.

Outing another gay has become a popular pastime for some who seem to find it impossible to "tend to their own knitting", as my granny would say. Many eloquent arguments have been made on both sides, and though I, too, would like to live in a world where sexual orientation is a non-starter in the "issues" category, I do not propose to begin to try resolving that question here.

I happen to believe it is the sole prerogative of the gay to tell or to not tell whomever they choose. Too many unhappy and dangerous situations have resulted from well-intentioned and/or downright malicious "outings".

That said, how do you, as a gay teen or adult tell those you love, whose acceptance and support you most need, that you are gay? Once the words are said, they can never be unsaid, so they must be chosen carefully.

I have no hard and fast answers, but I can tell you the stories of some gays I know who took these same steps you may be contemplating: one took them in fear and trepidation; one, with great courage; and one, who had the choice taken from her.

Pride Flag - Long May She Wave
Pride Flag - Long May She Wave
Sculpture by Antonio Canova - "The Three Graces" The three goddesses are shown nude, huddled close together in an embrace in what many have referred to as an ‘erotically charged’ piece, which is often used to portray love between women.
Sculpture by Antonio Canova - "The Three Graces" The three goddesses are shown nude, huddled close together in an embrace in what many have referred to as an ‘erotically charged’ piece, which is often used to portray love between women.
The Poet Sappho
The Poet Sappho

Three Tales:

A good friend of mine told his family via a little maneuver I like to call the hit-and-run. He realized he could no longer keep his secret form his parents. Life was becoming far too complicated, and he was beginning to suspect they might be catching on, anyway.

He spent a week agonizing over a letter describing his journey to personal discovery. He talked about feelings he had been aware of as a small child. He talked about his own gradual acceptance of his nature. He talked about the support of his friends and classmates. It was a beautiful letter, full of love and hope.

At first he told me he would read it to them., but I think he lost hold of his courage while traveling to the family "homestead" for their annual summer vacation together. Whatever that reason, he later told me that on the morning of the second day, he simply placed the letter on his parents' pillow while they were at breakfast, and took refuge at a friend's house for the next three days.

On his return, he was greeted warmly. Nothing was ever mentioned about the letter or his absence, but his sister related the events of those three days to him in a rather pungent phone call.

His mother cried for three days while his father paced and roared and fumed. Both parents were upset at his news, but worst of all, they were shattered that he had not come to them, nor had not spoken of it sooner. Though his vanishing act seemed to give them a chance to get over the shock, I suspect his relief at the "no discussion" policy has always been tinged with the tiniest crumb of remorse for not staying to help them through it all.

My second tale is one of misadventure. A devotee of Sappho, aware of her nature from almost her first baby steps, had always taken great care to be discreet. Her mother was of Italian descent, her father's family came from England. She did take lovers but never for any length of time, and was most secretive about her comings and goings.

She loved to host gatherings of family and friends - never at the same time, though, for obvious reasons. Her partner at the time was of a rather unstable, volatile nature, and had already caused some consternation.

Our lady was to attend a family function out of town and had not included her partner because of the growing strain between them. Her partner took grave exception to this and immediately went to confront the woman's parents.

On hearing their daughter was gay, both responded, "She is not! How dare you come here and tell such lies." The outraged partner then returned home and proceeded to cut up as many of the woman's family photos as she could lay her scissors on - removing her face and the woman's from each photo.

Fortunately, her vandalism was not too widespread as she could only find one album. Nevertheless, the woman was distressed at the wreckage and devastated by her parents response. Their rejection of even the idea she might be gay felt like the total rejection of everything she was as a person.

To this day, it is still a sad and painful point with her. Though her father has passed on and she has had several partners since, she has never tried to raise the issue with her family.

My third friend was faced with a rather scary situation involving her job. Several of her managers were well aware of her new alliance. Indeed, several of her co-workers had remarked on the spring in her step and the twinkle in her eye after so many years alone. Working in adult education, though, she felt she should try to keep a low profile. She had successfully adopted the office dress code and culture, and fit right in to the very feminine environment - "passing", as it is called by some, "keeping your head down", to others.

Flying under the radar could be tricky at times but fortunately she had a son by a former marriage, and could trot out the required credentials during the "getting to know you" and "comparing notes" segments of morning coffee.

Her boss was a different matter, though. The office handled many government contracts, and proprieties were all important. Unwilling to have the rumors go past the nudge-nudge, wink-wink stage, and to forestall further comments, she decided to approach her boss.

As luck would have it though, her boss preempted her, inviting her and several of the managers into her office for a "wee chat' at the end of the day. An invitation to a "wee chat" could mean anything from a firing to praise for a new idea, so she was a tad trepidatious about the meeting.

"I understand you have something to tell me," was the stone-faced opener. Already, this was not going well.

Clutching her courage in both hands, she lifted her chin and managed to convey her good news, outing herself in a reasonably steady voice.

"Well, I'm sure I don't have to caution you to be discreet," was the brusque rejoinder. With a nod, her boss handed her what, on opening, turned out to be a lovely congratulatory card and gift certificate to a day spa - for two. Before she could open the envelope, though, her boss swept from the office leaving the grinning managers to uncork the bottle of champagne that had been hidden behind the desk.

You just never know...

Walk On...

Whatever our path, whatever we face as we travel along it, however dark the night, or stony the way, we owe it to those who have traveled it before us, to walk with courage, to walk in the light, and to walk together.

Be kind to each other, and know you are never really alone.

Last Words Of Harvey Milk

More by this Author


46 comments

Whikat 7 years ago

Thank you for the excellent stories Red Elf, I really enjoyed your style of story telling and I liked how you just stated the facts with no opinions. Thumbs up.


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 7 years ago from Canada's 'California'

Really well written stories - you definitely have a flair for story telling, or writing as it were lol...thoroughly enjoyed it, thank you. :D


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

Well done with these three "tales" -- I swear it sometimes pains me that this is STILL an issue at all, but just like you describe, these things happen and are more common that I care to keep track of. 

I'm with you on outing folks.  I don't think the closet is a place to be, but that's a personal choice if one wants to keep company to brooms.  In a manner of speaking. I don't like it at all that some groups make it their mission in life to out others, mostly public figures, especially when the outed persons aren't living lies.  I rather enjoy when hypocritical idiots that preach one thing and practice another are outed :-)


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, Whikat. I love story telling, and I am so glad you stopped by and that you enjoyed the hub.

Enelle, always a pleasure. You say the nicest things.

Elena, I, too, enjoy seeing the biters bitten, and the hypocrites exposed...and you're right about the brooms. I'm told they're not much fun in a clinch, lol :)


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall

I read this with great interest, so many react in different ways to situations, it really is not surprising that some fear to tell.


ralwus 7 years ago

It's so another life. More power to them. Our eldest grandson is gay and a hairdreser. I don't think he ever kept company with brooms. It was fairly evident in his chidlhood that he was effeminate. I think it is getting easier for the younger ones today.


Charia Samher profile image

Charia Samher 7 years ago

Great stories; not all had turned out well but we really can't please everybody. Maybe someday the 2nd one will also get the acceptance and support of her family. =)


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

You're right about that, Hawkesdream. Always a pleasure when you stop by. Our minister once likened fear to a dragon, and said if we run away from the teeth and claws (the scary face of fear), we will get smacked by the tail. Better to face Fears and maybe get bitten than to be hit from behind when we least expect it. That dang tail can kill ya, lol.

I certainly hope so, ralwus. The more it is all out in the open, the less chance the secret sneakers have of doing damage. Good to see you, btw :)...

Charia, second one has support now of sister and brother - neices, nephews, all the younger family are very supportive, so she is much happier. She is still not open around her mother, but mother is 92 and not likely to change at this stage - would probably be very confusing for her. My friend says lots of things seem to confuse her these days....and thank you.


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

RedElf the stories could very well be a superb material for a play. Thumbs up for a hub with a heart and soul. Be blessed:)


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much dayzeebee. So pleased you stopped by, and many blessings on you, too.. :)


sneakorocksolid 7 years ago

When did sex stop being private and personal? Please don't come out go back and close the door. We all love you and you'll be okay just stop. If you want to show off do something cool like knife throwing not weird relationships! RedElf I want you to know its emotional, heartwarming, touching and still weird, but I wouldn't be any more interested if it was a heterosexual experience its personal and private. But on the whole you done good.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

That was good and so true to life. People are so unpredictable.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

sneako, thank you very much for your honesty. I am so glad you enjoyed the writing, if not the subject. I really appreciate your stopping by and taking the time to comment.

Too true, ethel, you just never know...


Watch Tower profile image

Watch Tower 7 years ago from New Zealand

Redelf

what a great hub !!!

I myself have been writing a series of hubs closely related to this subject.

cheacking out your other hubs as they are such great reading


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Greetings Watch Tower, so nice to meet you - and thanks so much. I shall have a look see at yours.


DarwinsLaureate 7 years ago

Personally, I can't understand the madness. Why are people so concerned with how others decide to live and love?

But bravery in the face of admonishment is always a good quality to have.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

I'm with you all the way, DL.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

I do agree about Dayzeebee's sugesstion of a 3 act play. It would give a lot of people things to think about.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, Rochelle. I shall have to give that one a serious think. I appreciate your comments, and making people think has always been high on my list. ;)


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, Shedate. I really appreciate your comments, which I have included without the link.

Shedate says:

10 hours ago

These stories are such an inspiration! You ladies should consider sharing them on this coming out story celebration/contest we are having.


janiek13 profile image

janiek13 6 years ago from Florida's Space Coast

Nicely done!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, janiek13! Nice to meet you.


Revive@OwnRisk 6 years ago

What a wonderful, hopeful hub. I love your fluid style which flows so effortlessly. I'm only out to a few people, one of my children and one sister and most all my friends. However, family and church are a different matter. Brutality still lives on, and so I take care not to victimize certain family members. Congrats, also, on your new hubnuggets team assignment! I'm definitely a fan!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, R@OR! ...and thanks so much for your well-wishes! I am really looking forward to my assignment. On a more serious note, though, you are so right about the brutality. It's a shameful indictment of our so-called "righteous people".


treasuresyw profile image

treasuresyw 6 years ago from Savannah, GA

Great hub. It was a refreshing change to the angry, though I understand, opinion pieces. I would read those too however :-) But this was a subtle nudge to be free to be you and just live hub. I enjoyed it and will be reading more of your hubs. Peace.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks treasuresyw! I find you the anger is counter-productive. Peace to you, also.


Dan 6 years ago

Terrific piece, great stuff! Thank you so very much for this thoughtful article. As a man who didn't admit my homosexuality to myself until I was 35, and didn't begin tip-toeing out of the closet until I was 43, this article really resonated.

Dan


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Dan - thanks so much for sharing our story AND your link! How marvelous when a person is able to claim their true nature.


Instant-Immersion profile image

Instant-Immersion 6 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

While I know that it's common, I just don't understand the perspective of some family members when they don't like the manner or the timing that a person comes out to them (as in the first story). That young gentleman staying away for three days should have clued them in to the fact that it was an extremely difficult issue for him to be dealing with as well. I know that it's hard for family members to hear sometimes, but something I read recently seems to be appropriate here. It said, "Have some compassion. Everything is not all about you."


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

II, how nice to meet you. Thanks so much for sharing your words of wisdom - I have heard them applied in other situations as well ;)


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 6 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

I just discovered this hub. Very well done.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, UW, nice of you to comment.


dan 6 years ago

Beautiful piece, just beautiful. Thanks so much from one who didn't acknowledge my homosexuality to myself until I was 35 and didn't begin my coming journey until I was 43.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, dan! We all start from a different place, but hopefully come to bloom in the same light! God bless!


d.william profile image

d.william 6 years ago from Somewhere in the south

wonderful hub. I enjoyed it very much. After spending most of my life in the closet, it is refreshing to finally get to say who i really am without fear of losing my job, pension, etc.., or worse. I Wish i had been braver in my younger years. Thanks for your honest heart warming stories.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

You are most welcome. d.williams. ..and welcome to the outside world, as it were ;)


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

RedElf, I am impressed on how you handled a subject that can be very semsitive for many. As far as outing someone else - what a pity there are people who feel they need to announce something that is so personal. It is a shame that there are those who feel they need to 'stay in the closet' but it is their choice. I hope someday people will be able to live and let live. Each person needs to be able to choose their own path. and not be ridiculed for it. Afterall, it really is no one else's business. Loved the three stories. Well done.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, Gals! always a pleasure to have you stop by - your comments are always so thoughtful and thought provoking :D Glad you enjoyed the article.


atlovesbm profile image

atlovesbm 5 years ago from Orange County, California

Excellent hub! Thanks for sharing :)


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks for commenting, atlovesbm!


dating4singles profile image

dating4singles 5 years ago

GReat hub, thanks!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

You're welcome, DFFS.


Niki 3 years ago

The statue is not greek. It's "The Three Graces" by the Italian artist Antonio Canova (1757-1822) and the three graces were sisters.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 3 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks for the correction, Nikki.


j-buchanan profile image

j-buchanan 20 months ago from Athens, Georgia USA

I really enjoyed reading your hub as it reminded me that everyone's "coming out" story is different. Some like myself chose to come out, and then forced back into a closet and then forced to come out again. Yes, I was forced to come out or else at one point, even though I had already come out. I was made to do it in a public setting! Excuse me, but the last time I checked you can't force someone to do that legally? Anyway, recently I have had Mormom missionaries coming to my home, and I am a very welcoming person so they kept coming. Honestly, because religion interests me, and I know nothing of their religion. After about the 10th visit, finally I wanted to know what their position was on homosexuality. I got the whole "love the sinner, but not the sin" speech which I said well that is where we disagree. I don't believe it is a sin. Then last night they came back over with an older gentleman. I guess to address the issue more clearly. I was told that I am welcomed at their church, but only if I do not act on my desires. Well of course, that means I'm not welcome. I'm welcome if I don't BE who I am as you put it. I was looking for inspiration b/c I plan on writing a letter to these missionaries and tell them they are no longer welcome in my home until they recognize that their human desires are the same or equal as mine. As far as I am aware, they act on their sexual desires. So, either they welcome me fully acting upon my God-given desires the same way they do, then I will not be welcoming them into my home. We all have to stand up and say....NO! This is how it is, you are wrong, and until you admit you are wrong I will not support your church or welcome you into my home. Thanks this was what I needed to read.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 19 months ago from Canada Author

You are so right, j-buchanan - everyone has a different story to tell. Thank you so much for sharing part of yours. As far as I know, "outing" someone is not illegal, but as far as I am concerned, it is certainly unethical. I believe many churches/religions/groups behave in the same way. As long as you act as we do and shut up about things we don't want to hear about, you are welcome - a sad commentary on "welcoming."

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