Very few gay folks are open from the time they realize they’re gay. Thanks to the world we live in we keep our same sex desires a secret, whether it is due to fear of persecution from strangers or loved ones, or because our religion makes us feel guilty or wrong for having these feelings or various other reasons.
Luckily we have progressed overall as a people and it’s easier to be open about being gay than it ever has been. That being said, even in the most gay friendly places coming out is always difficult, just for the sheer fact that being gay is “out of the norm/not of the mainstream”. Witness the suicides of the past month, some happening even with loving people supporting them.
I am in the closet except to a handful of close friends and my brothers. I finally accepted I was gay at the beginning of this year. I told my friends and they were extremely supportive though my best gay pal said he never thought I was gay, straight, maybe, asexual, even more so, but gay? Nope. Everyone has been immensely supportive, but it was weird hanging out with them at first. They included me in their conversations about cute women and the gay community. It made me feel weird. They were more accepting than I was. At that time in my head I was simultaneously coming to terms with being gay and trying to prove I wasn't.
I fully acknowledge my big fat gayness now. I feel comfortable being gay and dressing in a more butch manner around my friends that know. However I am in the closet to everyone else. The main reason why is that I’m planning on joining the military (if I get into medical school, and even if I do not). With DADT still hanging on and a Republican majority soon taking over the House, it’s easier to stay in the closet. But even this is a bit of an excuse.
Truth is I’m scared.
I’m not an overly open person, particularly not when it comes to the important stuff. I’m quiet and stoic except with my closest friends. I wish I could tell my church friends. My church is very open to gays and lesbians. And at a progressive church, my church friends make up the most liberal part. Included in my group is a bisexual (now more into men), a committed gay couple, and staunch gay rights supporters. Yet even as my appearance gets more alternative, I maintain my straight-ness. I am coward, letting my fears dictate my actions or lack there-of. Why?
The closet is comforting. Sure it’s lonely, but it keeps me safe from bigots and prejudice. And from relationships I might actually lose myself in. I am a control freak. Love is unrestrained and I am so entirely restrained it’s ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong I’m laid back, and mostly easy going when it comes to others, but I am restrained. That surrender of self is terrifying. I see myself in lesbian characters such as Naomi, Shane, and the Shane clone, Frankie, (from the new BBC series Lip Service) in that I am afraid of love. However I know this and I want to change.
QBP: "The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety." -Henry Louis Mencken