Posts Tagged ‘Coming out’

Waxing Politic

Dan Savage recommends that people who are gay and bisexual should come out because when people know that they know and love sexual minorities it helps lead to less LGBT-bigotry. Do I need to come out to my aesthetician?

I will begin by coming out about this question. My girlfriend asked me this question and at first I just laughed. I’m kind of a jerk. I haven’t written in a while though, so I thought I would use it to kick off this blog again. I also wanted to try to not misquote Dan Savage here because I personally love his column, so I pulled the phrasing of the beginning of the question from this article.

Now back to the question. I agree that coming out is really important for everyone. First of all, it is great for your sanity. Lying and hiding who you are is completely stressful. See how at the beginning of this article I outed myself as a jerk? I immediately felt more at ease after that. I know that it can be scary. I also went through a time in my life when I was really angry about it. I was so mad that people who were straight never had to sit down with people and have a super-awkward moment when they said, “Can we talk?” I thought it was a really gross phrase. Part of me still does and because of that, I like to come up with creative ways to tell people I’m gay. I find that I say it on stage a lot. I’m also trying to popularize the term “lady-gay”. That’s my own personal crusade though.

In general though, it can be scary and difficult to come out to people. It involves having to put your trust in someone, and if they react poorly, then you have to deal with that. There will be times when you meet someone and think, here’s a fine person to hang out with, and then boom, they are homophobic. It can be a real disappointment. Even worse, there will be times when it really just goes terribly. If you have had a bad experience, or want to read something really sweet, go to the website, It’s loving moms supporting LGBTQ kids at the holiday season. It makes me cry. There I just came out again, I’m someone with emotions. Also, while I’m getting into it, my parents were great when I came out and still are. I always feel pretty lucky to have been raised in an open and accepting family.

The sad truth is that not everyone’s parents and loved ones are accepting. Some will grow to be but will need to take a while to come around and accept it. Sometimes you worry for years about how you think that your parents will react and then in the end they surprise you and do a great job in the end. Until you tell the people in your life though, you won’t know. You won’t even be giving them a chance. They won’t know that they know and love a person who is really awesome and also a member of the LGBTQ community. Instead you are just closing them out of your life. It really is the worst for everyone.

Now, should you tell your aesthetician? Sure! Why not? The reason that it made me laugh is that it gets back to the thing that I feel is unfair. In the beginning, you are in a constant state of sharing the news. “Have you heard the good news? I’m gay.” When I started coming out to people, I felt like everything became a conversation about my sex life. “Excuse me sir, I need this cab to take me uptown, also, can we talk? I need to tell you that I am a homosexual.” “I’m here, I’m queer, please fill it regular!” I got weary and began to do a certain amount of internal bargaining. If I don’t tell this co-worker that I’m gay is that okay? I don’t even like this jerk. I say that the answer on that one is you make the call. If anyone asks me point blank, “Hey! You gay or what?” I will always tell them. If they say dumb things like, “How are things going on the dating front? We need to get you a man.” I would tell them I was gay even if I wasn’t because what a stupid thing to say. If you are a person who talks to your aesthetician about your life and she says, “Who’s the new man in your life?” Well, there’s your chance, and lying is the worst. Especially when you aren’t wearing pants. As to the point that this would be a particularly awkward moment to discover that said aesthetician is homophobic, I understand that point. My only thought on that is that the waxers of the world have gay men to thank for really expanding their business. Not only do gay men tend to take the time to wax and groom, they also opened the door for straight men to do the same. If your aesthetician is homophobic it would be terrible for business.

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Can we talk? A very special episode.

Do gay people get tired of having to come out to people?

Yes. A long time ago I came out. First I told my journal that I suspected myself of being gay. Then I finally told it the truth. My journal had to take some time to get used to the idea. For a while every time I would write “gay”, my journal would translate it to read “bi-sexual”—seriously, you can go back and read the entries as proof. Eventually though, my journal learned to accept it. Then I told my parents and it was pretty much the same process. By the time I got to telling friends, I had one “very special moment” in which I actually started a conversation of with, “Can we talk? For a while I have been trying to figure out how to say this…” Somewhere in the middle of that conversation I started hating myself and I haven’t ever gone down that road again. I began to find more creative ways to work it into conversation. Also, for a while one of my friends found it amusing to introduce me to anyone new as, “his lesbian friend Jess.” At first I thought to myself, but I’m so much more than that. Then I just gave up and figured, that takes care of that.

The dilemma is this, you just can’t tell everyone. People close to you know but you are always in new situations, or there are distant relatives or acquaintances that aren’t in the know and so it just feels sometimes like it goes on forever. For example, it has now been years since I came out, and yet I still have to tell people more often than you would think. Especially considering the fact that I run a blog called Ask a Gay. Actually, the entire reason for me starting this blog, might be my way of hoping to never having to tell people again. This isn’t about shame folks, this is about the awkwardness of forcing someone into a revelation conversation. Straight people, try it. Find an acquaintance. Ask them out to lunch and at some point over the course of the meal say, “I just wanted to let you know. I’ve begun dating someone new. This might be surprising, but…” Then bring it on home by flooring them with the news that you are seeing someone of the opposite sex. Even stranger, try this in the work place with your work friends. Work friends are already a strange combination of small-talk and random assignment let alone having to say to them, “So this year at the office Christmas party I was going to bring the person I am dating and I just thought you should know…” This is why I refuse to do it. I have decided to just do what straight people do. Show up with my girlfriend and head for the bar. If Dan in accounting or those extended family members look surprised, well there you go. I heard that Dan still lives with his mother, and everyone knows that Aunt Mary and Uncle Fred haven’t slept in the same bedroom since the Reagan administration. What can you do?

It works. People have a small a-ha moment and then everyone moves on with their lives. Because you haven’t asked them to weigh in with advice or opinions, they don’t. You also get to experience something that always surprises me, some people won’t get it. You go to a wedding with your girlfriend, you dance together, you have a grand old time, and yet there will be some people, often the older folks, who just think, “well doesn’t she have a lovely friend.” Really, is that so bad? There is a theory that it is really important to make Grandma face the facts, but I guess I just don’t care. I’m already doing what I want to do by happily living my life with whoever I want to and if Aunt Edna wants to google me, then she will definitely find out about my alternative lifestyle. Beyond that I had my shocking season three sit-com outing years ago and I’m ready to move on. I also encourage you to spare someone the situation. Since we all know that being gay is completely fine and normal, then if you have a friend who has not told you in a long time that they are dating anyone new and they seem to hang around with one really good friend ALL the time. Try saying to this friend, “hey are you guys dating?” Then they can say, “Yes, my goodness, thought I mentioned that.” And if they freak out on you then that will be okay too, because then they can get into therapy sooner rather than later. That will take care of that!

share save 120 16 Can we talk? A very special episode.