The closet is a strange social construct that only those who have lived in it can fully understand. This post is going to hit rather close to home for me and I’m not sure I’ll get this out the right way. I’ll try.
There are people who live in the closet and don’t even know it. There are people who are painfully aware of their sexual orientation but remain in the closet. There are people who have taken their chances with society and bravely come out of the closet. It’s a rough place to be, but it’s even more difficult to leave. After that, it’s all circumstantial.
I’ll be honest, the acronym LGBT kind of bothers me. So does the word gay, even bi. When I identify my own sexuality, I’m just a guy who likes guys. If we want to get specific (not that it matters), I like some guys, and some girls. If we were to put a label across my forehead, bi might be the most accurate. Half-gay is more fun to say. Gay is easier for conservatives to understand even if they don’t like it. Which is kind of what I grew up in.
I go to a school with a student body of 230-something, and it’s a very conservative, very white school (not that that’s relevant). When I came out, I came out as gay, and I was the first and only person to come out as anything other than strictly heterosexual, and straight people don’t really come out at all. At first it was difficult, I mean, I didn’t really lose any friends. But it’s tough being the the first of your kind, just as it’s difficult being the last (I’d imagine), because it’s lonely being the only one.
Even though I knew people at other schools who weren’t straight, I still found myself feeling so utterly displaced. And some days I still do, I go to the same school. Haven’t left. A couple of guys have come out to me, privately, and I respect their privacy. But the truth is, wherever you are, whatever you are, you’re never completely alone.
Which brings me to my next point about the closet: Why should it exist at all?
Some would argue that we should stop caring about people’s sexual orientations, “coming out” shouldn’t be a thing, and neither should the closet. And I agree. But also, I value a certain level of privacy. And there was a time when I preferred it when people thought I was straight. Things were simpler back then. But this goes back to my previous post, everyone should be who they are. No one should pretend to be something they’re not.
And for the people out there who are afraid to come out, don’t be. There will always be people who will stay at your side, and sometimes there will be those who decide they disagree with something they think you are, and that’s their problem.
There’s an old Dr. Seuss quote I like, it helped me find the courage to come out to anyone at all, it goes: “Be who you are and say how you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
Good luck, stay strong. Be yourself.