Coming out of the closet

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Is coming out of the closet as a gay man or a lesbian an act of liberation or an act of selfishness which places negative feelings on others?

Simeon03, Monday, 13 January 2003 15:56 (eighteen years ago) link

How can it ever be viewed as 'an act of selfishness'? Don't understand.

stevo (stevo), Monday, 13 January 2003 15:59 (eighteen years ago) link

Well I suppose the people deserve to know the truth way of thinking is often selfish!

jammey, Monday, 13 January 2003 16:04 (eighteen years ago) link

It's a totally different area than if you were to say, "I know you don't need to know why I hate you but it makes me feel better to get it off my chest." That'd be selfish. Saying you're gay wouldn't, because if it makes people uncomfortable that's due to their own insecurities, not because you've said anything insulting or hurtful.

Maria (Maria), Monday, 13 January 2003 16:06 (eighteen years ago) link

Maria = OTM. Obviously.

Archel (Archel), Monday, 13 January 2003 16:37 (eighteen years ago) link

i am really a homosexual.

anthony easton (anthony), Monday, 13 January 2003 16:50 (eighteen years ago) link

There's an altruistic element too. When I was married, it was easy for me to live as if heterosexual, but I was open about being bi. I was conscious of how difficult it is for people to come out if they so desire, and I think that the more people who are out the easier it gets to take the step. I've been open about this with everyone except my family for many years. So far, it's turned a couple of people against me, but it's caused me no serious problems.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Monday, 13 January 2003 18:53 (eighteen years ago) link

Staying in the closet = lying, so once you figure out whether lying is bad or a necessary evil or the only thing that makes life interesting or whatever, then you can figure out your moral stance on coming out.

Chris P (Chris P), Monday, 13 January 2003 18:54 (eighteen years ago) link

I think there's a difference between coming out of the closet with a great deal of show and simply not lying about who/what you are. (the former being rude in the same way PDAs are; the latter not)

, Monday, 13 January 2003 21:46 (eighteen years ago) link

oh dear, that sounds an awful lot like "don't ask, don't tell"

, Monday, 13 January 2003 21:47 (eighteen years ago) link

Well what's the alternative of "don't ask, don't tell"?

"EXCUSE ME, ARE YOU GAY OR STRAIGHT?"
"GAY."
"OKAY."

A person's sexuality goes far beyond gay/straight. Some people are uncomfortable in overtly sexual situations, and the above could offend anyone, heterosexual or homosexual.

Curtis Stephens, Monday, 13 January 2003 21:56 (eighteen years ago) link

I am a firm believer in the "ask/tell" policy. In fact, everyone whould be made to wear buttons that say where they fall in the Kinsey scale.

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Monday, 13 January 2003 22:07 (eighteen years ago) link

in a perfect world, no-one would have to come out. i mean, het people don't have to come out about their sexualities, because heterosexuality is assumed. i don't know how to get around this, because if you decide not to come out in protest, then everyone assumes your straight and nothing is solved. urrgh. so i guess, by default, coming out is good.

di smith (lucylurex), Monday, 13 January 2003 22:33 (eighteen years ago) link

how does one come out if one chooses not to define their sexuality?

di smith (lucylurex), Monday, 13 January 2003 22:35 (eighteen years ago) link

Oh, this gave me the best idea for a new thread.

donut bitch (donut), Monday, 13 January 2003 22:37 (eighteen years ago) link

I have mostly 'come out' not by announcement, but implicitly while joining in conversations about fancying people, things like that.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Monday, 13 January 2003 22:41 (eighteen years ago) link

how does one come out if one chooses not to define their sexuality?

Saying "I choose not to define my sexuality" is pretty much tantamount to coming out of the closet in most people's eyes. They'd interpret as merely a way to keep one's options open, and only a person not categorically interested in erotic relations with the opposite gender 100% of the time would want to do that, hence, the person is marked bisexual or a 'confused' homosexual.

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Monday, 13 January 2003 22:58 (eighteen years ago) link

Does that make any sense? I guess what I'm trying to say is that conceptual system of straight/bi/gay has such conceptual force that people aren't really allowed to opt out of it.

(Sidenote: some people whose erotic imagination doesn't stop with the opposite gender don't like to term themselves "bisexual," much less the more categorical-sounding "gay" or "straight." Not sure if that'll be news to some people.)

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Monday, 13 January 2003 23:04 (eighteen years ago) link

They'd interpret as merely a way to keep one's options open, and only a person not categorically interested in erotic relations with the opposite gender 100% of the time would want to do that, hence, the person is marked bisexual or a 'confused' homosexual.

(Little do they know that the person described only likes having sex with pita bread!)

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Monday, 13 January 2003 23:05 (eighteen years ago) link

(Little do they know that the person described only likes having sex with pita bread!)

GODDAMN PITAPHILES! SHOULD BE LOCKED UP FER GOOD!

donut bitch (donut), Monday, 13 January 2003 23:06 (eighteen years ago) link

I'm aware of that, Michael. I flirted with describing myself as polysexual very briefly (it had the advantage of also including liking sex with more than one person at a time), but immediately realised it was intolerably twattish.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Monday, 13 January 2003 23:09 (eighteen years ago) link

I'm aware of that, Michael.

Oh, I figured. But this is sometimes a revelation to the nice straight people I have befriended in my time. "Why don't they just call themselves bi?" "Oooh, long story, that..."

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Monday, 13 January 2003 23:11 (eighteen years ago) link

People make assumptions that bi = precisely equal interest in each sex, which is rarely the case. They also assume you are promiscuous and unfaithful, as you need to be regularly fucking men and women.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Monday, 13 January 2003 23:13 (eighteen years ago) link

or when you're a girl, people think bisexual means you have a boyf who likes to watch you fuck other women. ugggh. thats probbly the main reason i have rejected the term. nothing else seems appropriate tho either.

di smith (lucylurex), Monday, 13 January 2003 23:16 (eighteen years ago) link

i meant some people.

di smith (lucylurex), Monday, 13 January 2003 23:17 (eighteen years ago) link

Well, no matter what, I think having to force oneself to call one's sexuality a single syllable word is going to be interpreted differently by everybody. So, no one wins.

I get more crushes on girls than guys. I feel I can only sustain a long term relationship with a girl. But I find some guys attractive. If this means I'm "bi" to some, then so be it.

In other words, I completely understand what Michael's talking about. But if I were asked "are you gay, bi, or straight?", I'd say "straight", only because it's the closest answer I have right now. Life's too short to have to struggle to defend your sexuality in the form of an essay you tell every time the question pops up.

donut bitch (donut), Monday, 13 January 2003 23:18 (eighteen years ago) link

Trying to explain my sexuality to my family has produced some amusing comments:

"So,does this mean that there's a 50-50 chance you'll end up with someone that you could biologically have children with?"

"I understand you believe in monogamy, but what if you have a Coke and you really want a Pepsi, what will you do?"

"It's just a 'phase' your going through, even though it has been ummm 35 years?"

Simple answer: For me,the person is more important than the gender.If you don't like it or don't understand it, it's your problem, not mine.


whatzitzname (whatzitzname), Monday, 13 January 2003 23:24 (eighteen years ago) link

GODDAMN PITAPHILES! SHOULD BE LOCKED UP FER GOOD!

DB is my hero.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 13 January 2003 23:32 (eighteen years ago) link

GODDAMN PITAPHILES

Does this include Pita Townshend?

Jody Beth Rosen (Jody Beth Rosen), Monday, 13 January 2003 23:36 (eighteen years ago) link

I am probably the last person on the block to know, but I am waiting for Dan to announce where he falls on the Kinsey scale.

Even though, historically speaking, I've always dated/been attracted to/fallen in love with/schtupped males, I still don't like the monosyllabic sexuality label. Then again, I'm not entirely comfortable with male/female labels, so clearly I'm a silly goose.

Chris P (Chris P), Monday, 13 January 2003 23:48 (eighteen years ago) link

I am jealous of people with gender-neutral names who can get away with being ambiguous.

kate, Monday, 13 January 2003 23:53 (eighteen years ago) link

I have thought, at times, that I should take more advantage of my gender-neutral name. But... eh. It's not as if physically I could really pass for female. (Being 6'3" and having a somewhat prominent adam's apple kinda make that tricky, even if I don't grow much facial hair.)

Chris P (Chris P), Monday, 13 January 2003 23:57 (eighteen years ago) link

You will be a vision to behold, young man.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 00:30 (eighteen years ago) link

Until this moment, I did not know, nor could I guess. I think that's probably a compliment. Every time I try to pass myself off as a male, even on the internet, I blow it. Hey... enough thread mutation, new thread...

kate, Tuesday, 14 January 2003 00:34 (eighteen years ago) link

Hell with the Kinsey scale!

Tom Millar (Millar), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 00:53 (eighteen years ago) link

Oh no, not the gay test! I am something like 70% gay according to that test, and I SLEEP WITH BOYS!!! Long-haired, girly-assed boys; but still boys.

kate, Tuesday, 14 January 2003 00:57 (eighteen years ago) link

I'm 28% gay, which is less than average for a straight guy (39%). Those were the lamest questions -- even for a Spark test.

donut bitch (donut), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 01:04 (eighteen years ago) link

If people ask, I tell them I'm a lesbian. Actually, I find it hard to say the word lesbian without sounding like a nunga (thanks to the taswegian accent) so I'm more likely to tell them that I'm into women and that I'm not interested in guys.

Usually it is not relevant though. I don't have intimate or personal conversations with people I'm not already friends with. Like, I only tell people I work/study with if they are someone I've become good enough friends with to discuss love, sex & relationships.

Even then I don't just say "by the way I'm a lesbian" because I don't like the whole *assumed hetero* thing so I just talk as if being lesbian is not unusual and they tend to pick it up & sometimes they still need to ask to confirm.

Anyway, I'm single at the moment so it doesn't come up a lot with people I don't know fairly well but I would never be backward about having a female partner.

I prefer the word partner to boyfriend or girlfriend - regardless of whether the relationship is gay or straight. Part of the reason for this is because I like the way the word partner includes both options and it's ambiguity makes people stop and consider the possibilites and I think it's good for people to think.

Girlfriend is so commonly used by women to refer to close female friends that the status of the relationship is not made clear with this word.

toraneko (toraneko), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 01:06 (eighteen years ago) link

I *HATE* the word "Partner" to mean lover more than any other euphemism ever. I was getting angry at the Jobcentre forms when they were asking about "partners" in that capacity. And as a verb? Fuck off, "Are the people you share your living accomodation with partnered?" Swing your partner, do-si-DUD!

kate, Tuesday, 14 January 2003 01:10 (eighteen years ago) link

I thought this thread was going to be about wanking in people's wardrobes.

N. (nickdastoor), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 01:17 (eighteen years ago) link

Ah, Kate, I guess you haven't been reading all my silly postings to the "coming out" threads. Although I guess even that plus my pining after awkward guitarist boys wouldn't necessarily mean a damn thing, really.

I will always take gender ambiguity as a compliment. Er, except in the sack. It should be quite clear then, ahem.

Chris P (Chris P), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 01:17 (eighteen years ago) link

I am 56% gay. The average gay man is 52% gay, which apparently makes me "gayer" than most, although probably not with any real statistical relevance.

I am so boring.

Chris P (Chris P), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 01:22 (eighteen years ago) link

Why am I so gay, then?

If I remember the test correctly, it doesn't actually measure how "gay" you are, but how your stereotypical gender traits correlate with your physical sex. I am not a very "feminine" person != I am gay, which is the mistake that they make.

kate, Tuesday, 14 January 2003 01:26 (eighteen years ago) link

I hate the word lover. It implies no commitment and because of it's historical use it also places all it's emphasis on the sexual side of the relationship.

Partner is good because it also covers people who are de facto but don't like to call their partner their spouse or husband or wife and people who are married and don't like husband and wife.

toraneko (toraneko), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 01:27 (eighteen years ago) link

I don't know what the hell I am anymore. But every lesbian tendency I've ever had comes bubbling right up when I see a picture like this:

http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,4-2003020332,00.html

Jody Beth Rosen (Jody Beth Rosen), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 01:29 (eighteen years ago) link

http://boymeetsboy.keenspace.com/comics/20030112.gif

Maria (Maria), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 02:38 (eighteen years ago) link

i'm totally with toraneko re: partner, as it has no specific implications, of marital status or even the gender of ones partner.

di smith (lucylurex), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 02:42 (eighteen years ago) link

Or species

Tom Millar (Millar), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 02:45 (eighteen years ago) link

I turn out to be 57% gay! I'm more gay than the average gay man?? I'd say I doubt that, but what the hell.

Sean (Sean), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 02:51 (eighteen years ago) link

Although these days, in a business situation it may be necessary to preface partner with business, if you know what I mean.

toraneko (toraneko), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 02:58 (eighteen years ago) link

I think from now on I'll just refer to my girlfriends as 'my business' instead

Tom Millar (Millar), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 03:03 (eighteen years ago) link

Re; heterosexuality being assumed, through his paranoia or whatever (I didn't play rugby) my Dad assumed I was gay until I was about 17, not that that makes any differnece to society at large. "Partner" sounds yr going to play bridge or something w/them.

Andrew Thames (Andrew Thames), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 03:05 (eighteen years ago) link

'Mind your own business!'

'That's my own personal business.'

'Got to stay in business!'

'I'm going out of business.'

'I got down to business.'

Tom Millar (Millar), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 03:06 (eighteen years ago) link

The test sez I'm 34% gay and that that is gayer than 65% of other women. Gee, you learn something new every day.

Kim (Kim), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 03:11 (eighteen years ago) link

I think it should be perfectly acceptable to say that I'm not very gay for a straight guy and leave it at that.

Tom Millar (Millar), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 03:13 (eighteen years ago) link

kate - trick the test by telling it that you're a boy instead.

Kim (Kim), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 03:15 (eighteen years ago) link

My friend Craig used to go with "straight not." Not the most elegant solution, but it had its uses.

Douglas (Douglas), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 03:26 (eighteen years ago) link

my Dad assumed I was gay until I was about 17

I had a friend who had to come out to his parents as straight... twice. (And of course at the time -- when we were teenagers -- I had a massive crush on him. See kids, you should listen to your parents!)

Chris P (Chris P), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 07:56 (eighteen years ago) link

'It's the person, not the gender'? Like individual people are so fuckin' important, tell that to the bag of DNA and neurotransmitters telling you what to do. The amount of ways ppl try and convince themselves that they're not just another resource-eating reproductive species is truly amazing!

dave q, Tuesday, 14 January 2003 10:58 (eighteen years ago) link

I did that Spark test now (couldn't access it from work!) and it said I am 68% gay and the typical lesbian is 45% gay. I surprised as I'm a really girly-girl, well, maybe not actually.

toraneko (toraneko), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 12:26 (eighteen years ago) link

That test suddenly seems lind of stupid. 45% gay= lesbian? I can't remember what I got, 10% more then most straight guys, something like that.

Andrew Thames (Andrew Thames), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 12:29 (eighteen years ago) link

or KIND of. I usually find online tests astonishingly perceptive and accurate, obviously

Andrew Thames (Andrew Thames), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 12:32 (eighteen years ago) link

I am probably the last person on the block to know, but I am waiting for Dan to announce where he falls on the Kinsey scale.

Of course, I don't actually REMEMBER the Kinsey scale...

Anyway, I'm a tiresome, sarcastic straight boy.

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 13:38 (eighteen years ago) link

Well, yeah, I figured that much, Dan, but the great thing about the Kinsey scale is its Pitchforkian shades of grey. As I remember, 1 is "as straight as the theoretical line intersecting any two theoretical points in Euclidean space" and 6 is "a big flaming sack of gay". But you are supposed to tell your impossibly specific rating on this Cartesian reduction of sexuality -- "I'm a 2.3" or "I'm a 5.6" or "I'm pi! I win!" and give your terrifying admission as to why you're not a rock-solid 1 or 6.

That's the fun of the game, and why that Kinsey perv came up with it.

Chris P (Chris P), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 16:55 (eighteen years ago) link

There's a test for this somewhere on the net, isn't there?

Anyway, the phrase "big flaming sack of gay" is being incorporated into my personal lexicon as I type.

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 18:31 (eighteen years ago) link

six years pass...

I can't stand the closet or even being around people who are in one. I grew up around a lot of conservative Catholic people. I am not gay but my parents are really gay friendly and encouraged people to be who they are, we can't stand being around these fearful and repressed religious people. We left our church because of it when I was a kid. I hate being nice just so Aunt Ruthie doesn't get offended. It's so bad that my family avoids religion altogether. I have to live and work in a very liberal community, or I am unhappy. There is no point in denying who you are, if you stuff it down, it comes back up in other ways!

Department of Energy Department (u s steel), Sunday, 19 July 2009 16:50 (twelve years ago) link

six years pass...

1955 film of a college student's "I want to change my homosexuality" therapy session

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8NDuSYQfOA

we can be heroes just for about 3.6 seconds (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 27 April 2016 18:16 (five years ago) link

omg the advice to read Plato! amazing!

the tune was space, Wednesday, 27 April 2016 18:57 (five years ago) link

yes, that got quite a few chuckles at the Lincoln Center screening last night!

that kid would be about 78 to 81yo now. I wonder what happened.

we can be heroes just for about 3.6 seconds (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 27 April 2016 19:08 (five years ago) link

five years pass...

What are your stories? Here's mine.

Of course, it's not one story.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 12 October 2021 01:21 (one week ago) link

I don't have a reference point for the story, but your writing, as always, is wonderful.

Hannibal Lecture (PBKR), Tuesday, 12 October 2021 01:31 (one week ago) link


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