Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Why be gay, when it can be quite disappointing?

Please be sure to read the comments for these 'why be gay' posts, they're the best part!

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When I asked, "why be gay and lonely?" the first time, two closeted gay or bi men gave shy replies that affirmed they had that fear. For the second installment, two more married guys spoke up, but they were much more vocal.

Lion Queen of 'I Don't Understand It Either!!!' was especially pointed.

I think he spoke for many, many married men when he said, "I don't see me ever coming out, I've never had a desire to come out and personally think it would only make my life more difficult.

"I think it depends on what would make you less miserable ... Sure, you can be true to yourself, stop living a lie (and all the other bullshit) but what about in 6 months time, in a years time and in five years time, would you still be happy?

"As married gay men we often long for what we can't have and when we have it it's normally quite disappointing.

"... Some will tell you coming out is the best thing they ever did, others will say it was the worst decision they ever made."

If you read Lion Queen's comment in its entirety, not just what I quoted, you will see that his point is not to denigrate being out or being gay, rather, that he believes every man should be free to choose his own destiny.

So why is that words like Lion Queen's make many "out and proud" gay men shake with anger?

Here's a typical reply:

"Nothing educates the ignorant or demonstrates our reality or defies the hatred or refutes the lies or provides a better argument for full equality than simply… coming out. Every gay person MUST come out!" - http://bstewart23.com/blog/2008/11/22/every-gay-person-must-come-out/

Not so long ago, I could understand that argument. But just within the last few years, public attitudes about gays and lesbians have dramatically shifted. And that trend will continue because young people are the most accepting. The gay train has left the station. Gay marriage and full, equal rights will happen, sooner rather than later.

Ultimately the question of coming out is no longer about civil rights, it's about individual choice.

How is demeaning a gay person for being in the closet any different from demeaning a gay person for being out? In both cases, the individual is being insulted and degraded - for matters that are personal and private.

I don't want to rehash the out vs in argument. Neither side will ever convince the other. But is it possible that the 'rational majority' can agree that the individual has a right to their sexuality and that as long as they aren't hurting anyone else, they should be permitted to live in peaceful acceptance, either in or out?

Bottom line: shouldn't acceptance work in both directions?

4 comments:

  1. I agree with The Lion Queen. Gay men (or women) shouldn't have to come out. One's sexual orientation is a personal thing. I agree - if every gay person lived their life out - there would probably be more acceptance. But that doesn't mean that all gays need to slap equality bumper stickers on their cars.

    Some people are comfortable being out and proud. Good for them. But some people are very private. They cringe at the thought of other people knowing anything about their private life.

    I call it the Anderson Cooper effect. He's gay. We all know it. There's a huge controversy surrounding his potential coming out. Should he come out publicly? Or should he just live his live in private and not worry about what others wish him to do?

    I say leave Anderson alone. If he's happy - that's all that matters.

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  2. Thanks for mentioning my comment. I certainly don't mean for it to be controversial.

    Maybe I'm wrong but a lot of out-of-the-closet gays seem to think because they went through the difficulty and "pain" of coming out that everyone has to.

    I totally agree with NewLeaf the most important thing to do is that what makes you happy. I'm very happy with my life and the path I have chosen to take. Sure, it wouldn't suit a lot of people, but it suits me and makes me happy and for me, that's the most important.

    Sometimes I'm miserable (everybody is sometimes gay or straight) but I think living my life as a gay man wouldn't make me happier. The first few months of freedom would be great, doing what I want, when I want, wherever I wanted would be a huge change and very liberating - but then what - when the novelty wears off - when I've exercised my new found freedom - I'll be on my own.

    TLQ

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  3. acceptance is not directional - it's either there or it isn't ....

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  4. No one is talking about the wife. What about her?

    I have written about this on my blog before. Before I came out to her and others I also did not think it was anyone's business but my own, but there is one other person who's business it is. The wife.

    If you (I mean a generic "you") are cheating on her then it's her business. By cheating I mean having sex with anyone, man or woman, who is not her, without her knowledge, then you are breaking the promises that you made to her and it's wrong. I think that is pretty black and white.

    If you are not cheating then it is not so black and white. Then it's more about how you feel about her. If you are staying with her, just because you are too scared to come out that could be unfair to her. If you do not love her like she thinks you love her, that may be unfair to her. Why should she have to sacrifice because I am too scared to be honest about who I am.

    Yes, it was a hard road for my wife and I to get to the place we are now, but I think that in the end we did the right thing. Will everything be perfect, no, but they were not perfect before I came out. In fact I might venture to guess they are closer to perfect now. I am free to be who I really am and she is free to find a man who loves her like a straight man will.

    I am not saying it is easy. It is by far the hardest thing I have ever done, and there is still much more me to do.

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