This post and others that may follow are meant to be provocative and somewhat tongue in cheek. I am taking this approach in order to encourage an interesting discussion of the issues I raise.
That said, I hope no one takes what I say too seriously. As a general rule I believe that every gay man, lesbian, bisexual and transgender person should be "out and proud." Where my opinion my differ from others is whether there are exceptions to that rule or not.
If I were to make exceptions, the group I would most puzzle about are married men and women who are in their middle years or older. Quite frankly, there are a lot of societal and practical advantages to being married. Is coming out of the closet over 40 always the best decision? I'm not so sure...
Single Guy at Single in the City recently posted about "how very appealing the concept and strength of family is."
He says, "you can always (usually) count on your family. At least I can…ultimately they are the ones who are there for me when boyfriends, partners and friends have moved on. I wonder what will happen when I get older.
"Who will look after me in my old age? ... I fear being alone but nothing scares me more than being old and alone. I get many phone calls from older gay men through the counseling line. Their parents have passed away, friends passed away and they are left all alone."
Unlike many (most?) gay men I haven't been single since days after my 20th birthday. That's nearly 24 years. I probably have no idea what "alone" truly feels like anymore.
But even so (or more so?) I absolutely, positively, without any doubt know that I do not ever want to be one of the MANY older gay men calling a single guy on a counseling line because I'm completely alone. I'd much rather be deeply in the closet than be that lonely.
When a married man (or woman; using male pronouns generically for both genders from now on) comes out of the closet over the age of 40, he does not do so with the expectation that he will be alone. In fact, often the only reason some married men come out at all is because they've found a lover who will provide emotional support during the split. If they didn't have a partner, they'd stay married forever.
How many of those support-me-while-I-divorce relationships survive very long? Some. Not many. And once the old married guy is single, does he have an guarantees that he'll ever be partnered again? None. Generally speaking gays are not known for valuing long-term relationships.
In theory, a married man will never be alone because he has children. Therefore, if a closet married man with kids comes out, he will never be lonely.
But this may not always be true.
Perhaps coming out will alienate him from his kids. Or, maybe he'll move away from the kids so he can live in a more gay-friendly city. Or, maybe when he gets older the kids will be so busy with their lives that they won't have much time for their old fag father. Bottom line: kids are a great hedge against loneliness, but they are certainly no guarantee.
If you think about it, the single best chance for a closeted gay man to never be lonely is to stay with the old bag he's been married to for decades. The truth is, as the two of them get older and uglier, no one else will want them.
So, all things considered, when it comes to never being lonely, closeted gay men should stay in the closet.