National Coming Out Day was October 11th. I didn’t have it iCal, so I did not GTD it or anything. I have been slightly circumspect about explicitly stating that I was gay on this blog. I talked about the whole Mozilla thing while not stating it, I danced around it. Not because it’s a secret (go listen to Defocused, or ask me on Twitter), or because I think it’s scandalous, but because I want to treat it as something that is not important.
Maybe if I barely say it then only the decent people will hear it? Maybe if I’m not “in their face about it” then people won’t care?
I also don’t want to be known as a “gay blogger”. I don’t need the prefix. I mean, I’m not really known for anything, so it’s not super important, but what if I want to be the Prime Minister of England some day? Huh? What then? Will I have some qualifier in front of my name that states I was a good “gay” prime minister? That’s not what I am aiming for.
It does make certain social interactions awkward though. We’d all like to think that they aren’t awkward, we’re all great with social stuff here! We’re open-minded! Lay it on me! But if you say that then you probably haven’t had a conversation with someone where they break eye contact with you, where they change the subject, where they hesitate before picking their pronouns. It’s really, really, awkward sometimes. Especially if you’re talking to someone you barely know.
“He was strange, but I think that’s because he was — you know.”
“No, I don’t know.”
“You know, gay.”
That’s literally a conversation I had with someone that did not think I was gay. It happens? I guess? We resolved that, and he’s really not a bad person, but it’s just an example of something that happens. Jokes in poor taste, winks and nods, it’s all very surreal to be a party to those conversations. On the one hand, if the first thing I ever said to anyone was that I was gay, then this would never happen, but why does that need to be the first thing I say to anybody?
People also tell you how their weekend was, with their wife, and their kids, and they ask you what you did. Do you know them well enough to use appropriate nouns, and pronouns? For a long time, I would just clam up. Not because I was ashamed, but because I didn’t know if it was worth talking about myself, and someone I loved, to this stranger. “Oh, I didn’t do anything.” I sounded like the weirdest shut-in ever.
It’s always easiest with strangers though, because fuck ‘em. If they’re weird about it, then so what? You move on. The hard part was people that were close to me. People I’ve known since I was a kid, a teen, in college. People from before I had any certainty about my life. People from back in Tampa, where being gay was not a good thing. I had a bad experience with being honest about things in college, but it’s not the end of the world. It has stuck with me though.
My coworker was asking me about my commute, and I mentally did the math on whether or not I should tell him about the different commute times from my place, or my boyfriend’s place. Not that he seemed like he would care, but because I have a certain fear of making things awkward.
Sure, on some level, people know, or they have (have had) suspicions. There aren’t many bachelors that go on vacation to Napa, Paris, Italy, and South Beach with “a friend”. But there’s a mutual agreement that takes place. They don’t want to make me feel uncomfortable by asking, and I don’t want to make them feel uncomfortable by telling. We arrive at a draw.
The first family member I outright told was my sister. She was very supportive, because she always kind of knew. She pushed me to talk to my mom. I put off telling my mom until last year. That’s a really long time to keep someone out of your life. It was not worth it. It was not worth it at all. If you’re reading this, and you’re on the fence, just fucking do it. Don’t sit on it for years, there won’t ever be the perfect time to tell her.
Knowing that, knowing how it wasn’t a big deal in the end, how I should have just done it, should have propelled me on to immediately tell my other family members, right? No. I was scared because they were very traditional, and from the Northeast. There were protocols, and people weren’t open about any of their feelings. Only problem is that my sister is getting married, and my boyfriend is going. Whoops! Maybe we could do one of those comedic things where he’s introduced as a friend, and we pretend we don’t know each other, and people are running in to and out of rooms! Wouldn’t that be hilarious? No, it really wouldn’t. I had to tell that other side of the family, I had to tell my dad.
I called him up last week, and in the middle of talking about suits for the wedding, I told him. Then he said he suspected it was the case and changed subjects back to a guy he met that was a VP of a large men’s suit company. That he had some tips about suits. It was almost surreal that it was such a non-issue. So, once again, don’t sit on something for years of your life, it’s not worth it.
Basically? Not fucking worth it. There’s never the right time. Don’t wait for National Coming Out Day. It should only ever serve as a yearly reminder. Don’t wait for the zodiac to be properly aligned or some shit. Just fucking do it. Be clear about it, like I’m being right now. What benefit would I have extracted from putting this off any longer? None.