Confessions of Coming Out The Closet

When I came out, it was during my bar mitzvah. It started when my friend found out. I felt like it would define me for the rest of my life. I assumed, mostly out of fear, that everything else wouldn’t matter anymore because I’m gay.  It was like the Joker knew Bruce Wayne was Batman and Lois Lane knew Clark Kent was Superman. I felt like my secret identity was taken away from me.

Ironically, coming out of the closet was the best thing that happened to me. There were a variety of reactions, most of them were positive. Every time I think about it, I learned at least a couple things I wish I knew beforehand to save myself some time and unnecessary worries from my confession.

One thing is announcing it in public. When I came out, I told a friend I knew I could trust first, then I told my parents. Then I had to let everyone know individually. It was exhausting! Whenever I mention this, most people tell me that I was very fortunate, but in truth,  I didn’t want to have to tell my enormous family or all the kids at my bar mitzvah individually, so it would’ve been better if I just made an announcement before we left and ripped off the proverbial Band-Aid of heterosexuality.

As a matter of fact, it shouldn’t be necessary. I thought people can tell. Don’t everybody have an internal Gaydar system?  I wish they would’ve announced it loud and proud. My sexuality accounts for one of the thousands of things about me, and it’s not all that I am. I think I’m a better friend and son than I am at being gay.

The other thing is standing by my decision mostly because I think it’s funny that I already knew many ways to handle the ordeal better. When I told my parents, my dad reminded me that my uncle is gay and it would be a good idea to talk to him about it. When I spoke to him, I carried the feeling that he shared with me as he told the story when he came out. “When I came out, people change the way they look at me.” he told me.  “What didn’t seem gay before now started to look gay.”

When he was growing up, a lot of things change for him when in reality it didn’t change all that much. I had to remind him that he haven’t changed but rather decided to share something about himself. The one thing I learned about his experience in coming out was with everything else that was attached to it.  He came out to my grandparents at 25, and I thought they already knew because he was really freakin’ gay, at least, enough for everyone else to notice.

I remember my mom’s eyes looked like they’d pop out of her head and roll onto the floor when my dad told her about my uncle. My dad, on the other hand, insisted he has known since he was a child. Nobody didn’t say a word as others reacted in a variety of ways, ranging from slight disgrace to never speaking to him again. For the most part, every expectation I had thought he received was wrong.

“You don’t know how people will react, even most of the time, no matter how well you may think you presented it.” said my uncle. “You will get many reactions wrong, so don’t try to get them right. Instead, put effort into preparing for various responses.”

He started analyzing my past actions, looking for long-existing signs, and acted a little surprised when he realized my parents were accepting towards raising a gay child. Since I have accepted it as a part of my identity, I try to think about and notice how my parents accepted me because it helped to have my uncle pave the gay way for me.

If someone hates me, if they love me unconditionally, or if they don’t care, I have to consider the reactions anyone could have rather than thinking about specific emotions. I’m glad that I chose to confess to an accepting group of people. I didn’t plan it out in that moment, but I came out feeling confident because there was someone else who had to handle that tough situation in the past. It still deserves to be something that matter to this day, so I’ll never forget what I had to go through coming out of the closet.

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