Happy Outday to Me!!!! (LGBT Dopers, How long have you been out?)

I was posting in Great Debates when I looked over at the calendar and saw that it’s November 4th. Eleven years ago today I went to an LGBT youth center for the first time. I was chatting with the people there when a guy asked me pointblank if I was gay. It was the first time in my life that I honestly addressed and answered that question. I said “yes, I am”.

The world’s been changing since then. Ellen Degeneres, Will and Grace, Massachusettes, Canada, and more have made this world a little more richer and there’s a long way to go too.

My partner just called and tonight we’re off to celebrate with some friends as a little milestone in my life.

So…for the LGBT dopers, how long have you been out?

Congratulations!

I accepted myself and came out to the world about nine years ago, and it was the best thing I’ve ever done. I was 24 at the time, and I wish I had done it sooner. Before that I was miserable, uptight, timid, self-hating, and terrified of being found out (not to mention sexually frustrated).

But a psyche can only bear a burden like that for so long; sooner or later it has to either break under the weight, or cast it off. I chose the latter, said “Screw it,” and embraced all of the wonderful things that being gay has to offer. As you know, when you make that leap it’s the most liberating, exciting, exhilarating, intoxicating feeling imaginable.

Needless to say, I made up for lost time. :smiley: I eventually found the love of my life, and I’ve been with the most perfect guy on earth for six years. I’m a completely different person than I was ten years ago. Life is good, and every day I thank my lucky stars that I’m gay.

By the way, stpauler – you’re cute :wink:

Congrats stpauler,

As for myself, I have trouble answering that question. I knew I was gay when I was 12. However, I came out to various people at different times of my life. I think the first person I told was my sister, when I was 15. I’d say I’ve been fully out for ten years. At any rate, it was about ten years ago that I stopped making a point of “announcing” to people I already knew that I’m gay. In fact, the last two people that I made a point of coming out to told me that they already knew I was gay and didn’t think it was supposed to be a big secret! (boy, that was embarrassing!)

Thanks! (and blush!)

Depends on what you mean by out. I first admitted to someone that I was queer when I was about fifteen/sixteen. Came out to my parents when I was 19; the Sunday before Thanksgiving, 1999.

What else does being gay have to offer than boning someone of your own sex?

My outday is January 29, 1993. That makes 11.5 years for me :slight_smile:

Of course, I knew before that, but I spent a good five years trying to change myself before I came to accept it myself.

I won’t dare to answer in behalf of the gay people – but surely you have other interests than “boning someone of the opposite sex” – at least while waiting for yourself/him to be able to get it up again?

Yes but how does that differ from what straight people do?

I’m not sure I was ever “in.” But I began living as a woman the summer of '77, when I was 20. Had surgery in '78, the minute I turned 21.

Four years this month (I tried at one point to figure out what day it was but gave up).

Looking back, I should have seen it in high school, but given the sort of person I was back then it would not have been a good realization.

Going on six months now.

And yeah, stpauler is cute.

Congratulations stpauler (and everyone)! And happy day to you.

Knowing my best friend, having a social life for literally the first time in my life, getting into politics, changing my religion, coming into contact with the music I like, expanding my sexual horizons (not just with regards to gender of partners), learning vast amounts of stuff about human sexuality and gender identity, falling in love with Margaret Cho, 90% of my friends, my favourite clubs, drag shows, Dykes to Watch Out For, my multiple fag hags, the nice guys who came to pick me up at Barajas Airport and showed me around Madrid, marching in pride parades, getting closer to my mother, lesbian comedy, attending a foam party in Barcelona, shounen-ai anime, and seeing the Pet Shop Boys in concert are all things that happened to me or that I discovered as a direct consequence of my sexual orientation.

Not saying all gay people come into contact with these things or that they couldn’t conceivably have happened if I’d been straight… but they would have been a damn sight less likely.

Being gay itself is, indeed, simply a difference in gender preference – but there is a Queer culture and a Queer community which have brought me, at least, incredible gifts and blessings.

And to answer the OP, I’ve been out to myself since December 1996, out to my first person (my English teacher) since February 1997, and out to the world since January 1998.

Six years, baby. Thanks be to Goddess.

Out to myself since 1993 (@ 14) , out to the world as of 06/22/2001 (@ 22). That was a long 8 years, lemme tell ya.

And matt’s right: There is very definitely a queer culture in the US and Canada that I would miss if I were not part of it. The hags, the Cho, the house music, the humor… Quite definitely a separate subculture.

I’m still not out in real life. I realized I was bi a few years ago, but I only really accepted it as part of who I am about three months ago. Even so, coming out as bi seems almost not worth the trouble unless I’ve got an actual boyfriend to show for it.

Hmm. Sure is easy to come up with excuses, isn’t it?

Ah, but consider: it’s much easier to get a boyfriend in the first place if you’re out.

Isn’t that enough? :wink:

Seriously, as matt_mcl illustrated, for someone who’s been made to feel like a leper at the prom his whole life, joining the gay community is a whole new world.

I treated mine like everything - a matter of policy. I was 21 at the time, and didn’t know how my parents would react.

My parents reacted well. Stage Two Implementation remains in effect, as does related legislation concerning personal integrity, honesty about myself, and sexual practices. Matters of relations with the “Gay Community” were held up in committee while the Community was studied - open dialogue was ultimately settled on, while more closer integration is being approached cautiously, mindful of homoskeptic elements. :wink:

Indeed. I’m trying to decide whether I’m Switzerland, Poland, Germany, or Canada to the GC’s EU. :smiley: