For some people this question might seem stupid, but I’ve thought about it many times and didn’t come to any conclusion.
Since I know that I’m gay I confront myself with the question whether to come out or not. Four years ago I decided to come out to my friends and since then I’m out to them. Fine. But since then I frequently ask myself “Do I need to tell my family or my fellow students, would that change anything?”
I’m not asking that because I’m curious (indeed I am), I’m asking that myself because I couldn’t feel this super-great relief that some people pretend to feel when coming out.
To give you some background: I’m living in Germany, quite liberal country, my parents are liberal as well, and I wouldn’t have to fear any rejection from them. My sexuality has never been a topic for them (at least they never asked me) and I don’t feel the urgent need to tell them. And even if some of my fellow students are somewhat retarded (I’m studying economics) I’m quite sure that folks I actually care about wouldn’t mind if I’m gay or not.
By the way, I’m the “average” gay, not that kind of flamboyant queen that is recognised as gay by everyone, so there is (from my point of view) no need to be open to everyone to live my life.
So my question is: If you are out to the world or at least your family, did it make things easier? Do you feel some advantage or is it still the same as before? Why do gay people (still) consider being out to everyone being a good thing (better than being out to no one or just some people)?
If anything is unclear, please don’t mind to ask. English is not my mother tongue and therefore it is way harder to express myself.
Coming out started as a political act for many.
As early as 1869, a German psychologist advocated that self diclosure of ones sexuality might break down the invisibility of homosexulaity that was partly responsible for ongoing oppression. There are still many who see coming out as a way of revealing just how many homosexuals there are and how they are peppered through every walk of life. Not being out is to recognise that our society still punishes and persecutes gay people. Most people freely admit that they play tennis, for there is no shame in it.
For individuals, keeping a secret can come as a terrible cost in their lives if it forces them to change their behaviour or not act the way they want. Many find it liberating to be open, in varying degrees, with those who matter to them.
I would say, the most important thing is to be honest with yourself, open with your closests friends and private when you feel that it is no one else’s business. The privacy matter is much like any personal issue. Perhaps you like spanking. Perhaps some others wouldn’t approve. You can choose if you want to discuss it with anyone based on their “need to know” and your choice to conceal it.
Back in the 70s, coming out was a very brave act. It helped the political movement that changed laws in many countries and it helped many people’s mental heath. It also got kids beaten up, sometimes to death, disowned by their families and fractured friendships. It was avery big thing at that time. Now, in a liberal democracy, I don’t see it as much of a big deal. The acceptance we feel now was paid for by others. It is entirely your own choice. But one small point, the more gay people everyone knows, the harder it is to try to deny us rights.
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