What’s In Your Closet? (1/4)

Emily Haase
Entertainment Editor

Episdode 1: Coloring Outside the Lines

So I suppose this is sort of my ‘coming out’, at least as the writer for the CS News’ column for LGBT issues. While coming out as a writer isn’t something that’s too difficult, coming out as part of the LGBT community is an entirely different story.

For a little background, I’m bisexual and came out at 13 years old. My experience was both positive and negative. My peers were less than accepting; I got called names daily, girls refused to hang out with me because they thought I would hit on them, and I basically had no friends until high school. But my family met me with nothing but unconditional love and acceptance, and reassured me that if I was happy, they were happy.

However, that isn’t the case for everyone, especially as a college student. People are (generally speaking) more mature, and don’t think you’re going to give them gay cooties.

Now, the choice to come out of the closet is a very personal one, and I can’t tell you when or how to do it. All I can do is give you my little bit of insight and hope it helps.

So, how exactly do you come out if you haven’t yet? There are quite a few ways to do it, and when I came out to my parents I personally wrote a letter. I was much too afraid to tell them face to face, as a lot of people are. I wrote a long, heartfelt letter about who I was, and I hoped they accepted it, etc. My mother’s reaction was a hug and an “I knew that”.

For some people though, they feel the face to face approach is the only way to really do it, out of respect or whatever other reason. If you choose this way, I give you props for being so bold. That takes a lot of guts, and if this is how you choose to do it, just sit your family member or friend down and let them know what’s on your mind. The only down side to this is you have to deal with their immediate reaction, but you’ll have to deal with it eventually so why not go ahead and rip the bandage off all at once?

Of course, you could just bring your partner over for family dinner every week for a few months and they’ll probably get the hint. But that isn’t an approach I particularly recommend, mostly because some parents really are dense enough to not get it, and if they do, no one likes drama at the dinner table.

And there is the fact that you don’t have to come out to anyone you aren’t comfortable telling! People feel a sort of pressure to let everyone know about their sexual preferences, but how often do you hear people come up to you with tears in their eyes professing their heterosexuality? It isn’t a big deal, and it doesn’t necessarily require a specific conversation with anyone you don’t feel should know, or who you think probably knows already.

Then of course there’s the issue of people’s reactions if you do decide to come out. All I can say to that is almost always the person you’re telling won’t react as well as you wanted or as badly as you thought. They may not throw you your own pride parade, but they probably won’t hit you with a car either. Odds are, it will be somewhere in between.

If you are ready to come out, however, you have to deal with the possibility of the person not reacting well. All I can say to you there is it happens, and no matter what you are never alone in this.

I suppose it isn’t much help to say that everyone’s coming out story is as different as they are, but it’s very true. You’ll be met with negativity, but you’ll also be met with undying support, especially by me. There’s an entire community of us, so never be afraid to be who you are. But also remember that it’s your news to tell, and you don’t have to if you aren’t comfortable. It’s your life, and your business.