When not to come out

no_he_doesntIn the gay world coming out is sort of a rite of passage. When you do it you become a hero: if you were Thor, you would finally be able to lift the elusive hammer.

Unfortunately, in the real world coming out of the closet isn’t always a source of honor and glory, but it can also bring you slamming of doors and several slaps in the face. To stay within the metaphor, lifting Mjolnir won’t be enough to become invincible: heart and neck will still be breakable. So be careful.

I’m not trying to psychologically terrorize you, nor am I telling you to lock yourself into your closet and never come out. I’m telling you to proceed with caution, wisely, thoughtfully and without rushing it. I know you must feel like you’re going crazy, crammed between matted sweaters, itchy wool cardigans and funny underwear, but you’re going to have to be patient.

If you’re still in school and you’re certain – or at least have a justifiable doubt – that your parents are not going to accept you, wait. Wait until you have a place to go, some money saved up, maybe a job. Wait until you are independent.

Coming out when you aren’t safe, when your family is your only certainty, would not be heroic or brave: it would just be stupid.

If your friends or boyfriend or girlfriend are pressuring you, explain your reasons to them. If they insist, it means that they’re not real friends, that they don’t really love you, that they don’t understand you.

No one is going to build a monument to celebrate your coming out, no one is going to write poems in your name, no one is going to think more highly of you just because your parents know you’re gay. Once you’re alone you’re just alone, and being alone at fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, isn’t all that great.

Of course you’re going to have to tell them sooner or later: hiding is wrong, it’s not fair to you and it’s not fair to those around you. But you have to do it when you feel ready and, most of all, you have to do it when you have a door: if people won’t accept you, you’ll be the one slamming it.


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