National Coming Out Day: Share your stories

In honor of National Coming Out Day, here is my coming-out story, which I don’t believe I’ve ever posted here before.

I was raised Italian Catholic in a medium-sized city in central Pennsylvania (Altoona, for those who know what that is). The usual drill, Catholic school throughout elementary, junior high and high school. I had a couple of childhood girlfriends because that was what you were supposed to do. Never went further than kissing, because I was a)only feigning interest, b)a good Catholic boy and c)the most risk-averse kid you’ve ever met or will ever meet outside of therapy. I’d had attractions to men since I was at least five years old, because I remember the funny feeling in my tummy when I would watch Ron Ely running around the soundstage jungle in his Tarzan loincloth on Saturday afternoons.

When I was 14, I started being involved with “tea rooms”…pursuing gay sex with strangers in public restrooms. It was the only way I knew of to try to achieve that sort of intimacy with other men…I knew there was a gay bar in town in the way that EVERY junior high and high school student knows…as the subject of jokes. But I was obviously never going to get in at 14. So the restrooms were it. It was stupid, it was risky, it was illegal, and I was taking these men’s lives into my hands every time because I was underage (and didn’t look it if you didn’t look too closely).

Strangely, even while I was doing this, having anonymous sex with strangers in public restrooms, I was denying my homosexuality. It’s amazing just how much we human beings can hide from ourselves when we really don’t want to acknowledge it.

After graduating from Bishop Guilfoyle High School in 1989, I started college at Wheeling Jesuit College in West Virginia. West Virginia in the 80s. Yeah. I got through my first semester (barely…I was, in high school, a “gifted” student. Unfortunately, not having to work hardly at all to get good grades in HS, I was completely unprepared for college, with is more a difference in quality than simply degree), but started to flounder in my second. I became friends with Jeannie, the high-school-age girlfriend of one of my dormmates and she was the first person I came out to. Ever.

Jeannie and I were inseparable by then. Bestest friends (or BFFs, as the kids say today). And I could sense that she was starting to have feelings. In the face of possibly misleading this person that I loved more than anyone else ever, just not in a romantic way, I had to face the truth. I was gay. I came out to her…can’t remember exactly what part of the year this was. Probably just after the winter break, when we came back. She was…not shocked. Surprised, maybe. At the time I was very rigid in “acting straight”. (I’ve since loosened up a little…I can queen out with the best of 'em!) I’ve been told I have “good cover”.

Well, as anyone who’s ever come out knows, it’s like potato chips. Betcha can’t tell just one! I subsequently came out to my mother in the worst possible way…I wrote her a letter. Jeannie (my BFF), bless her, knew I needed to tell my mother, and while I was dithering at the mailbox, grabbed the letter from my hand and threw it inside. About a week later, I got a call on the dorm payphone (no ubiquitous cellphones back then), my mother sobbing and asking me where she messed up. It was an intense phone call. (She has since done a complete 180 on that…she loves my partner (more than me…okay, not MORE, but she does take his side more often than mine) and has more or less completely accepted my orientation)

Of course, again, the urge came upon me and I told my roommate’s girlfriend (who I was friends with). She encouraged me to tell my roommate and I did, later that evening. He handled it well.

Soon after this, my story got ahead of me. Eventually, the whole campus knew…to their credit, the administration of this Catholic college never discriminated against me. My failure was entirely my own fault, through my (non-coming-out-related) depression and sleep apnea.

As prologue, let me note that Jeannie, my bestest friend at the time, would several years later call me in my dorm room at Penn State (where I started to go after I came home from Wheeling) and tell me that she was seeing someone. “What’s his name?” I asked. “Sarah,” she replied. Just goes to show…you never know.

Ironically today is also my mother’s birthday :smiley:

Two friends of mine came out to me today but before you posted that I had no idea why.

Amusingly, the first one I was meeting up with for a drink and greeted him with “hello you mincing faggot” (I had no reason to think he was gay, it was just a salutation made in jest) to which he replied “actually POC it’s funny you say that…”

Hilarious actually! I’ll still be calling him a mincing faggot but then I don’t have friends that are offended easily :slight_smile:

I’m really lucky to have very open-minded parents. I’ve heard the horror stories of upset or angry parents. Way before I knew what my orientation was, my parents told me that they were ok with whatever I turned out to be (it was part of the Big Sex Talk, actually, which I got when I was 4 and asked where my new baby sister came from). Because of this, when I first started to realize that I like girls, I never had the “OMG what if I’m gay!” terror that some people go through. It was more like “Huh, I wonder if I’m gay?” It turns out, I’m bisexual.

It took me a while to actually come out, mostly because it took me a while to figure out exactly where my orientation was. I was of the opinion that “bisexual” just meant that someone was “on the way to becoming gay”, due to a few people I knew that went through the “I’m bi-curious, ok maybe I’m bi, ok actually I’m gay” cycle. Once I was sure that I’m really, truly bi, I told my parents. They were like “Oh ok.” and we chatted a bit about it. It really wasn’t any bigger of a deal than telling them about a new job or something. :smiley:

A while after that, I was introduced to polyamory by a married couple that I started dating (he’s straight, she’s bi). When I told my parents about that, they were a bit more reserved, but it was more due to the specific situation. The couple had been together for about 8 years before I started dating them, and my parents were concerned that if things went south, I would be the one left alone. As it turned out, that was exactly what happened, but we parted amicably enough, and I don’t regret getting involved with them. On the whole they were, and are, ok with the poly thing too.

I don’t have a story, but I could make something up if you like. :slight_smile: I like to say that I never had to come out because my mother saw me take my first step so of course she knew. My one regret in life is that I’ll never need to really come out to anyone and have them be shocked. I would love that JUST ONCE!

Like Jayjay, I’ve also known I was gay since I was around 5 since that’s when I had my first crush. Cute little blond boy in my kindergarten class named Brandon.

I think that’s why I have problems relating to people who had or have issues with being gay or struggle over coming out. I never went through that. It was something that just existed, I knew that being sexually attracted to other guys instead of women was just something that was simply true about me.

My best friend and brother are both bisexual. I don’t remember my brother coming out, I remember my best friend saying she was bi during a meeting of the Gay-Straight Alliance, and I don’t particularly care in either case. They’re both currently in relationships with a member of the opposite sex, fortunately. I say ‘fortunately’ because being out can lead to problems anywhere, and she’s in Virginia and he’s in Texas.

I come out to people on a semi regular basis. They respond by pointing out I’m mad about women and have no interest in men.

Today is national coming out day? I think I’ll call mom and try one more time.

Happy day! I’ve been out for more than 30 years now.

I’ve just recently found myself back in the closet and trying to work out how to come out again. This seems to be as good of a thread as any to share that story.

In college, I was out. I knew that I was more or less gay when I got there, so I just lived as if I was out. By the time I graduated (May 2007), most of my family knew. There’s still my mom and one of my sisters/BIL. There’s a very real chance that I’ll never come out to them. You see, I’m working on becoming a nun. It isn’t related to being gay, but it does give me a free card for not having to come out to my mom.

Anywho, I’m living at a monastery and the subject of former relationships came up over lunch one day. I realized that I’m not out to the sisters and in the dining room over lunch didn’t seem like the right time to come out. They’re Benedictines, so they’re pretty liberal as far as nuns go (kind of like the Jesuits didn’t discriminate at the OPs college, I can’t see the sisters discriminating against me). I don’t know though, lunch just didn’t seem like the place to do that. There were only five other people at my table, so by dinner the rest of the community would have heard through the rumor mill.

I’m not really sure what to do now though. Not having mentioned my ex-girlfriend when it would have been subject appropriate makes me feel like I’m hiding. It’s a small part of who I am and not even a part that I will be particularly active in acting out on if I continue on this path, but I still don’t want to be in hiding about it. Bleh. The view from inside the closet sucks even more second time around.

I’m not religious (either in adjectival or nominal form), but isn’t that why convents have mothers superior? To go to with problems you’re having? It gives you the advantage of talking one-on-one with someone who understands the way the order works. It has the disadvantage that it’s pretty much the person who runs things.

I would suggest it, though.

Mine went pretty easy. Except for the disowning and histrionics. And the suicide note stuck to my boyfriend’s door with a knife. And my boyfriend almost burning down his house while on the run from my mother who was vowing to kill him. There was some really good quiche though at a little restaurant downtown.

Right now, my go-to person is my live-in director (live-in is my title in the community, kind of like postulant or novice, but less official). I’m pretty sure that the prioress* is who I’ll go to if I make it to full profession. My live-in director would a good person to talk to this about. I’m being wishy-washy about it because it seems silly somehow. I mean, it isn’t like I’m going out to the lesbian bars on the weekends. As far as my day to day living, me being gay doesn’t affect anything.

*Our community had a mother-superior up until Vatican II, after that the title switched over to prioress. Mostly its just a semantics thing, but there are some minor, but very real, other changes that go along with it. Most notably, the prioress is still called Sr. So-and-So while she’s in office. It makes her far more real and approachable than Mother So-and-So.

MissMossie - How’s the living-in going?


Busy, but awesome. One of these days I may get around to doing an update thread.

/continuing hijack

Please do. I would be very interested in reading it.

/end hijack

Well I will admit the show tunes, bitchiness:dubious:, club dancing:cool:, general fabulousness and free toaster oven were enticing, but in the end I just coudn’t get over the “Penis goes where?!:confused::o:eek:” part.

The first person who knew about me being bisexual was my best friend, but I never really had a moment of “telling her”, because I didn’t have one solid moment of realization, either. We actually kinda shared the coming-out process together. (No, not like that. :p)

The first inklings were born in early high school, when she and I shared the discovery that slash fiction was pretty freaking hot. :smiley: We both got absorbed in various Harry Potter M/M slash fanfiction stories, which got us accustomed to the idea that “gay = sexy.” Then it progressed to playing the “If you were gay, who would you date” game; this, when being contemplated by a hormonal teen desperately wishing for a relationship, quickly led to the “If I were bi, that would make dating twice as easy” thought. (My younger self had a few sliiiightly misconceived notions about the “real world.”) We shortly followed that discussion up with conversations like: “Well, Friend A is kinda cute…” and “Celebrity B is really pretty…” This easily progressed to: “If Friend A asked me out, I would definitely say yes…” and onwards, to: “I think I might be, um, sorta getting a crush on Friend A…”

By that point, it was pretty obvious to both of us that we’d somehow meandered across the bridge into rainbow territory of a Questioning variety. And after our many new experiences with attractions (both male and female), we’re pretty comfortable here, so we probably won’t be heading back anytime soon. :slight_smile: