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Rainbow Flags! Pride Month Post II: I’m comin’ out…

June 9, 2011
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I hope y’all are well aware that June is Pride Month, as declared by Bill Clinton in 2000.  Of course, then Mr. Bush decided to proclaim it Homeowners Month while he was president (ohhh how I miss you Mr. Bush… oh wait, not I don’t), but Mr. Obama has reinstated Pride every year of his presidency, rightly expanding it from “Gay and Lesbian Pride” to “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride.”

As I mentioned, I’m writing posts at least somewhat relevant to Pride this month, and this week I’m talking what it was like for me to Come Out as bisexual.

Today, I’d like to post a little balance on my last post. Although I did lose some people by coming out, I was overwhelmingly very lucky.

Coming out was pretty scary… but, in the end? It was also… amazing. I don’t think I can fully explain how it feels.

I mean… it seems simple, right? Sure, it’s difficult, but all you have to do is say the words, right?

Sure. Yeah. Ok.

Or not.

I actually don’t think I was prepared for how amazing it would be. How flippin’ happy it made me. Some excerpts from my writing at that time:

 It felt … so incredible to tell her. Not like a weight off, but more like … telling the truth. Like telling her who I really was. And having that not change anything? … Was pretty awesome.

It made me happier than I thought it would.

I am just so fucking lucky I can’t even tell you. I just feel like I can’t decide if I should bust out laughing… or in tears. I am a little overwhelmed. It’s just… to tell people the truth about yourself, and have them just… remind you what is important – being happy.

I really had trouble using my words. Finding my words. And, for me? That is saying something.

As I sit here to reflect on that time in my life, I wonder what it is that made the good reactions so fucking good. Why it wasn’t simple and why it did make me feel so damn speechless.

Part of it is the fact that I was so vulnerable and afraid – more so than I even realized until it was all over. I had no barriers up. There are few times when you are that emotionally nekkid in front of people… no matter how close you are with them.

Part of it is that you actually feel like you’re putting the absolute most significant relationships in your life on the line – for something you can’t control. Not because you had a fight, or did something bad, or went out with that horrible guy who was a dick to your friend… but just because you are who you are….

and they may not be ok with you anymore.

It feels like you have to tell a deep, dark secret, that other people might hate you for. Even if thought it’s not deep, it’s not dark – it shouldn’t even be secret. It’s still something that actually risks those relationships most dear to you. And you’re painfully aware of that fact.

And then nothing changes. They still love you. You are still who you always were to them. The relief in that can be overwhelming.

I am not sure if that all makes sense but… For me? I think these are the reasons why it was such an amazing experience.

However. In all that… there is some incredible sadness. Reflecting on it, I wish it wasn’t so amazing – just so these reasons wouldn’t exist. That we would already know that our sexual preferences don’t change who we are. That they are not a terrible secret. That our family and friends would already know we’re no different, and our sexual preferences are not something that could possibly change how they feel about us.

Because it shouldn’t.

And yet… it still does.

There is such heartbreak in that.

And yet. Another part of Coming Out is the incredible opportunity it provides for purging your life of people and things that clearly don’t matter. That can be blinded by prejudice and fear – even to the point where they don’t see you any more. Again from what I wrote then:

These are the moments in life where our true colors are the brightest. And they are the moments that matter the most to me. Even if I wasn’t going through this, even if I wasn’t becoming someone new, I would still only want those that would .. not skip a beat over something like this to be the ones I hold close. The ones I hold dear. If that even makes sense.

These are the moments that test the people I have surrounded myself with. This is how I find out if I want them to still be there. It’s kind of lucky, actually. In a weird sort of way. Most people never have these moments – they end up never really knowing what kind of people are close to them. Never knowing how easily someone would leave – but also never knowing how much someone truly means to them, how truly lucky they are.

This is how I learn who it is that I have close to me … that really and truly deserves to be there. This is how I learn… what really matters.

Finally, I would like to point out that, just because someone takes issue when you Come Out to them, doesn’t mean they are a… lost cause. I’ve also found that the most effective way to change someone’s mind is to make it personal. Coming out to people who have misconceptions and bias can really shake up those thoughts and feelings. Challenging thoughts on gay marriage, for instance, by forcing someone to tell YOU that they don’t think YOU are deserving… can really make people think.

So. Coming Out is a very powerful thing. For the person in the closet, and also potentially for those around you. It is something not to be taken lightly, but something you need to do – for you, for your life, and because, by living the life you choose, you can be someone who also changes minds.

And… I had to add this. I came across it looking through my old posts. Gawd I love my girls.

7:46am 6 September 2007

Ok. Here is what the response should be from my oldest and dearest friends. I tried to call her but she didn’t pick up so I e-mailed her instead.

(Do note though, _____might be slightly intoxicated. And she’s one of the few who still do better in real life than on e-mail).

“here is the deal!!!!! you are my best friend really you are the one i call when anything goes bad or happy or what ever!!! you have alwAYS been there for me no matter what!!! im always there for you no matter what you are my [ridiculous high school nickname here]!!! call me and tell me details. we have more to talk about cuz you left out details!!!! just call me please cuz you know me i can only give advice if i talk to u!!! i love you no matter what (i know you know and i dont have to say but i do love you NO MATTER WHAT)!!!!! ..

Just to give yo a laugh—-if you dated a chick like me you would be fucked well, BUT…oh you know so well i dont have to tell you!!!!

I WANT DETAILS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i love you no matter what!!! we need to talk though and not via email on the fucking phone im herefor you no matter what you be my [nickname again]  to the core!!!

love and miss you sooooooo much

you are my bestest friend in the world and dont ever let anyone tell you different!!!!! all i can say at the moment i that i love and miss you and you already know this!!! call me tomorrow!!!!!!! youre my one and only!!! peace my bitch!!!!!!”

Ahh… the things that matter…

11 Comments leave one →
  1. June 9, 2011 1:56 pm

    Hahaha OK that last email… yup she probably had a few’s hysterical! – and very sweet. It should not be a big deal but unfortunately is is most often and the way (most of) your friends responded is brilliant. 🙂

    • June 10, 2011 10:06 am

      I am sure that e-mail is even more amazing to me since I actually know her – and have since we were both 10 years old. But the love and enthusiasm are the way anyone close to you should react when you are afraid to tell them something life-altering that is actually a *good* thing, because it means you are being yourself, and finding yourself.

      But… she might’ve been a lil drunk. She does like to party. Always has, and probably always will. But still.

      Yes – the bottom line is it shouldn’t be a big deal. It shouldn’t be something we have to announce. It should just… be.

  2. June 10, 2011 6:03 pm

    Thank you for sharing this Nikki. I felt the same fear as you felt when you came out when started telling people I had been abused. I know that sounds odd to correlate the two, but people saw me as someone who wouldn’t tolerate that kind of treatment. I saw myself as someone who wouldn’t tolerate that kind of treatment. To reveal myself as a person who had been a victim of abuse was incredibly scary, because in my mind it painted me as the opposite of how other people saw me, and how I saw myself. In hindsight it was a silly worry – those who were important loved and supported me through everything – the same as your true friends did for you.

    • June 11, 2011 12:14 pm

      I, too, have been thinking about how “coming out” doesn’t necessarily mean just as gay/bi/trans/queer/etc. It can also mean coming out as poly, or BDSM, or any number of things. It’s about choosing to live your life in honesty about who you are what you want from it, regardless of what other people think. Not because their opinions don’t matter in a general sense, but because their opinions on your sex life or orientation or gender aren’t open to their judgement, nor are they something that should cancel out who you are as a person to them.

      It can also mean being honest about some shit too. Like being abused. Or raped.

      In the end, it’s being honest about your life, the experiences and the choices that are socially stigmatized. Instead of leaving them in the closet, you force other people to come to terms with their own prejudice, hate, and fear. Because, when they judge you for bringing any of these things to light, that judgement is about *them* – not you. Perhaps that’s why it’s so scary, too. For them, to be shown their true colors. For you, to see them clearly.

      It is a silly worry in the sense that it shouldn’t be one. But, unfortunately, it’s still a real one. The only way to change it is for all of us to empty our closets.

      • June 11, 2011 3:26 pm

        Yes, the social stigmatism is what makes speaking about any of these things so difficult. But they have to be said. To act in congruence with who you really are – even if it is not socially acceptable – raises the awareness of people close to you. It also forces them to question their generic, one-size-fits-all beliefs that are made so much more personal when they have to be applied to people they love. If a person you love doesn’t fit your mold – you either have to rework your mold, or risk losing that person as part of your life.

  3. June 13, 2011 12:06 am

    Your friend is an inspiration. I’m going to start ending all my emails with “peace my bitch!!!!!!!”

    • June 13, 2011 8:38 am

      I think that is a most excellent idea.

  4. June 13, 2011 12:36 am

    now, i’m not coming out or anything but i will say that last week i may or may not have been photographed dancing in a cage at my favorite gay bar down town.

    word on the street.

    • June 13, 2011 8:43 am

      That’s quite a rumor there, Blunty. I’ll wait til the photos surface via twitter and you can deny them before I out you.

      Dancing in cages is way better than hiding in closets.


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