10 June 2018

Something That's Never Discussed About Coming Out

Seeing as it’s Pride month, I thought I’d write something along the lines of being queer, but something that isn’t discussed that often. When we’re born, every little girl is expected to grow up and find her prince charming, get married, have 2.4 children and live the stereotypical heterosexual lifestyle that is so commonly referred to as a ‘normal life’. The same can be said for little boys, except they’re expected to find their princess instead of prince charming. Even from a young age, family members will describe little boys as heart-breakers due to them being potentially good looking and women will be falling at their feet. It’s very, very rare that parents and family members expect their child to be queer. When do you ever hear a dad talking with his mates at the pub about his newly born son growing up and having men fall at his feet? Unless of course, they’re talking about him being the next Maradona. Essentially, what I’m saying is, children are born and expected to be straight. 

When children grow up, go through puberty and begin to realise who they are, it can be extremely confusing, emotional and incredibly hard to realise that they’re queer, when their entire life, they’ve been told they’d grow up and live a heterosexual life. This isn't the fault of the parents, of course, it’s just how society and life is. Why would we assume a baby will grow up to be queer when the vast majority of human beings are ‘straight’? What this means is, there comes a point for queer folk, usually in their teens but sometimes later, to have to explain to their loved ones that they aren’t straight. Coming out is a huge thing to do. It’s more nerve-racking than a job interview, driving test or public speaking. It’s hard for the person involved, but it can also hard for the parents if they’re not as liberal as you’d hope. 

So, once you come out, that’s it, right? Wrong. If you’re queer and it isn’t particularly obvious, you will spend your entire life coming out. You think once you come out that’s it and you can move on. But it’s not and coming out only gets slightly easier. The first time will always be the hardest but the tenth, twentieth and fiftieth times are as difficult as the second. Whenever you meet new people and you’re not overtly camp or feminine, they will assume that you’re straight. If you’re a man, they will ask you if you have a girlfriend, and if you’re a women, they will ask you if you have a boyfriend. It’s very rare to meet someone new, say at a new job, where they ask you, ‘do you have a partner?’. Occasionally people ask ‘are you seeing anyone?’, which is good. But that’s often followed up by ‘what’s his/her name?’ as they assume you’re straight. I’ve often been in situations with overtly masculine guys who speak to me about ‘birds’ and try and joke about meeting girls as they assume I’m straight. I usually jump in and that’s when I have to come out again, but sometimes they don’t let you speak and they continue, which is only slightly hilarious. 

I don’t think this is something that will ever change. Queer people will always have to come out and if you’re not obviously queer, you will have to come out over and over again throughout your life. It’s just one of those things, but I don’t feel like this is something that isn’t often discussed. There are countless coming out videos on YouTube and the act of coming out is widely spoken about. However, having to come out to every new person you meet isn’t something I’ve ever seen or heard discussed. I know some people don’t feel the need to come out because it doesn’t ‘define’ them as a person, but I feel like if you don’t discuss personal things such as relationships, there’s only so far you can go to get to know that person. Coming out is a part of being queer and it should be embraced. Even if you have to do it every time you meet someone new.

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