Lessons Learned From ‘She Called Me Woman’ (Entry 17)

Lessons Learned From ‘She Called Me Woman’ (Entry 17)

LESSON 17

From the chapter, ‘Same-sex Relationships Are A Choice’, HK says:

“I used to think that coming out was unnecessary. Like, why do you have to explain to anyone that you are gay? However my perspective on coming out has changed. I went from, ‘Oh I can live a quiet life and mind my business and all will be well’ to ‘OMG! People need to know it’s okay to be different. It’s okay to be gay.’”

 

I have actually encountered opinions like this. Why do I have to come out to anyone… It’s my life and nobody’s business… Straight people don’t come out, so why should gay people do so… My sexuality is what happens behind closed doors, and so no one has the right to know…

These are varying forms of the one opinion that seeks to perpetuate the invisibility of LGBT people.

Coming out IS necessary.

Sometimes when I say this, I imagine the people opposed to it are seeing coming out as synonymous with a Bisi Alimi live television interview or a Kenny Brandmuse viral Facebook post. These are very powerful statements, very impactful instances of coming out. But they are not all there is to coming out. Coming out doesn’t have to be so public. Coming out can be as sly as it is exclamatory.

A few days ago, I was having a phone conversation with this straight friend who I’d never identified as gay with. And because straight people have this thing where they assume that everybody is straight until proven gay, he was lamenting to me about the woes of having a girlfriend; he was speaking to me with this camaraderie that expected me to understand absolutely where he was coming from. I didn’t, not absolutely though. And so at some point, I responded: “I quite feel your pain. Even though this kind of wahala is the kind only women can give, gay men also experience our fair share of relationship troubles like this. So I understand.”

He had started saying something in response when what I said registered and he choked to a stop and said, “Wait, dude, you’re gay? Did you just come out to me?”

“Yes,” I said.

He paused for a moment, and I could hear his breathing through the phone as he no doubt struggled with his impulses, hefted the weight of what I had just dropped on him, unpacked it and gave it a good look. I gave him time, hoping he knew how crucial this moment was, that he would realize that our friendship was hanging in the balance in that moment.

His next response showed that he’d made the right decision.

Coming out IS necessary. Coming out begets visibility. Coming out provides the opportunity for those who have biased preconceptions of LGBT people to have their minds educated. Coming out is not what straight people do because we live in a world where they already are out. They’re on the outside and we’re inside closets, and they will not know of our existence until we come out. Coming out doesn’t mean that your private business is now suddenly out from behind closed doors; it simply lets people know that behind those closed doors is a private business they should respect.

Coming out can be painful, stressful and bring it with unnecessary drama – but coming out is important!

Written by Pink Panther

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