“not-out” phobia in today’s gay communityI had somewhat of an epiphany tonight, ironically, while I was browsing Adam4Adam (this is a gay dating/hookup site – yes, there is dating if that is what you are looking for) . I got a message from a guy – seemed nice enough, we chatted a bit, he’s cute, on and on. It eventually comes out that he isn’t out of the closet. He’s 23 years old, almost done with college. It seemed so foreign to me – and I remembered my typical (and rather callous) line “Well, I don’t date guys who aren’t out – I had my identity crisis, I don’t need someone else’s”.
I came out of the closet at 16 years old, then I took that shit and ran with it. Before I came out of the closet, I was pretty much your stereotypical picked-on kid – socially awkward, short tempered, fat (200 lbs at 13), and friendless. After I came out of the closet, my life did an almost complete 180 – I lost 50 pounds, had all kinds of friends, and juggled about 3 different guys off and on for my entire junior year. It was, by far, the best thing that happened in my entire life – even if the rest of my life is a total disaster.
While this is “*not a typical experience “ , as they say on late night TV, it seems that more and more LGBT people are coming out at younger and younger ages, and there’s a sizeable component of the gay community that takes a negative attitude towards those who do not feel comfortable enough to be openly gay. It may be unspoken at times, but the attitude is there, coupled with the unspoken thought that “it’s the 21st century”.
It’s a super conflicting issue, because while the attitude is wrong, I don’t know if I would want to date someone who was not openly gay – simply because my life is kind of gay through and through. I write about gay topics, have mostly gay friends, and my sexuality, for better or worse, has defined my being. I can’t have a partner who forces to me to return to denying that existence.
But, I think we could all be a little nicer to those who do not feel comfortable stepping out of the closet yet – even 10 years ago, most people weren’t coming out until 24 or 25. So many of us live in the “gay bubble”, where we see little homophobia throughout the day that we forget the bullied lesbian girl in Arkansas, or the boy in West Virginia who knows, in his heart, that he feels like a girl, and has to hide his true self or face getting kicked out – or worse. Much like racism, homophobia will never truly be over – and it’s important to have perspective for those of us who weren’t lucky enough to have an enviroment that accepted and loved you uncondinally.