A few years ago I used to read an excellent blog called Closetcase written by a guy called Stuart. He decided to stop that blog and these days he Twitters, blogging very rarely. His blog was very good and I was sorry it ended as his humour was/is very much like mine.
During the last few months of Closetcase, the blog seemed to feature more about the worries of being gay and in the closet and less about his life. I am really pleased to say that Stuart has just told his parents that he is gay and now has a boyfriend (which he refers to as "the boy" which sounds a bit controlling, but never mind). For those who are coming out, his story will be familiar.
Like many gay guys (including myself), Stuart found every excuse not to come out and even used the line many of us have relied on: "I will come out when...". If you hear a guy making excuses and maybe getting defensive too, you know that coming out could easily wait until they are 40+ years old unless they decide to do the deed or are outed (which has to be far worse). I appreciate that it's not easy and for me it was stressful, but I'm glad I did it.
I agree that each guy needs to come out when he is ready and comfortable with his own sexuality, but one excuse that rarely stands up, is that they will wait until the right time. There will never be a right time... people and situations are unlikely to change in their favour. So guys have to decide when and how they will come out.
Stuart has found that having a boyfriend has focused his mind and forced him into making the decision. I suppose that, unless you are forced to make a decision (like having a boyfriend that you don't want to hide), you need to force yourself. Just like my story, Stuart's coming out to his parents was an anti-climax. He wont remember, but I once wrote a comment on his blog saying that he needed a plan to come out and he replied: "you don't know what you're talking about, my Dad will never understand". Like most coming out stories, the reality was nothing like we could imagine and his Dad was fine with having a gay son!
This was what I said in the previous blog posting and I stick to it:
To all of you that are coming out to friends and family, my advice is to get on with it. I am guilty of making excuses in the past and even recently but, without doubt, coming out makes life easier. If you are finding reasons not to come out or saying "I'll do it before I am 30" etc, you are never going to do it and you will find more reasons not do come out in the future. You need to make a plan and do it OR decide that you will never tell a specific person and just get on with your life. If you hide behind excuses or timelines, you are just going to stress yourself out. I am trying to be honest with people and I fail sometimes, but being out to my friends and family is more important than I ever thought it could be.
Please remember, each of us has had years to get used to being gay, so we can at least give our parents, brothers and friends the time to get used to the fact that the person they thought they knew is actually a bit more interesting!
I wonder of those who are in the closet and reading this, do you think that people don't suspect you are gay? There will be some that are professionally closeted, but for the majority, questions will have been asked by family and friends. If you think you no-one knows, you are likely to be very surprised and wrong - they are probably just waiting for you to confirm their suspicions.
So to Stuart and all of those who have "done the deed" recently, congratulations - it's a tough thing to do and takes a lot of bravery. I am not as "out" as I would like to be (at work for example) and my progress of being an out gay man is ongoing but as I've said it so many times before, coming out takes a huge stress out of your life.