Coming Out

by ethankilgore

I don’t struggle with my sexuality. In fact, my sexuality is one of the simplest things in my life. What I do struggle with is facing the challenges that come with being gay in this society.

Being gay is never going to be an easy path – no matter how accepting the people around you are. The world is heteronormative, so you are forced to adapt and fend a path that is still quite untouched. When people talk about the confusion that comes with acknowledging your sexuality, they are often referring to trying to fit into a culture that is geared towards the heterosexual person.

Gay people are constantly coming out – it isn’t a one time deal. Straight people don’t need to clarify their sexual preference because it is just assumed they are attracted to the opposite sex. LGBTQ people are forced to inform people that they don’t fit into the standard box that society puts people in – so they have to come out over and over again with each new person they meet. It is emotionally exhausting, and can often be isolating. It is a tricky thing, figuring out when to tell someone you’re gay. My handshake isn’t paired with me coming out every time I meet someone new.

There were a lot of factors playing into whether or not I would come out during college. Staying in the closet would probably have made my life at college a lot easier, but that wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to stop lying to people – I didn’t want to have to deceive anyone about my true self anymore. I knew that being truthful about my orientation would lose me a few friends, but it was just the price that I needed to pay in order to find some sort of peace.

I started off telling a few of my closest friends – slowly building a group of support around me. It shouldn’t have to be such a big deal, but it is – it felt like I was dropping bombs every time I said those two words, “I’m gay.” Most of the time the person you told won’t look you in they eye after you tell them – it is the discomfort from such a personal exchange, and honestly understandable. Almost indefinitely in Christian circles the very first question you get is, “Will you act on it?”

Eventually I told enough people that I knew it was no longer in my control who knew and who didn’t. That was when I decided to seal the deal with an article in one of Gordon’s student publications. When I was coming out I didn’t have anyone to talk to who understood what I was going through. I didn’t know any openly gay people well enough to seek out their advice. I felt very alone and isolated – trapped with no knowledge of resources to help me survive the path that I had decided to take. I was going to have to do it on my own. I don’t want other people to feel that way – I want them to know that they are not alone. If anything I pray that my article let any one person know that they’re not alone.

Everyone deserves support in times of strife. You’re not alone. Someone will be there for you, and it might not be the person you think. Cling to the knowledge that though you suffer silently, you do not suffer alone.

Once again, feel free to contact me with any questions you might have.