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How Old and When Did You Come Out???


Godiva
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I currently travel in two worlds..My Straight World and My Gay World. I am thinking about comming out this year and I have been mentally preparing myself for the family, friends and community surprise. I have been fortunate to create a support network of gay friends over the years so it won't be that hard of a fall.. Which leads me to my Question..Some of you here are probably out..How Did It Happen? How Old Were You? Your response will help alot of viewers here who are walking the thin line..

 

I am sure there are as many Happy Situations as well as Horrible..Both are welcome I am particulary interested with how your straight macho best close friends responded..

 

Also any serious advice form ya'll would be appreciated..

 

Godiva

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Guest JustANametoPlay

I always knew I was gay, but did't come out to anyone (even gay friends) till I was almost 30. For me, the reason I did it was that I was tired of hiding. I was tired of being evasive or lying if someone asked me what I did the night before (for instance if I went to a gay club, of course a gay club not in my area so I wouldn't see anyone I know).

 

However, coming out is not a one time event. Every day you are in situations where you have to in some way either say nothing or out yourself. For instance, I have just started a new job. The issue hasn't come up yet regarding this, so at some point a question or comment will be made and I will have come out again in some way. It actually happened for one of my employees this week. he and I were speaking, and he said something about owning a home with someone and I said "Oh your married" and he said "No I live with my domestic partner Fred" So he in essence came out to me. Now I could have at that point said "Oh I am gay too" but I didn't.

 

There are many drawback to being out, but then everything in life has them. For me it is just simpler!

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I'm pushing 50 now, but the realization that I'm gay didn't hit me until I was 26, married and with a son. Don't get me wrong. There is no question in my mind that I was always gay. But I married young and what ought to have struck me as attraction to men seemed, instead, a much less problematic lack of attraction to women.

 

Once I did acknowledge my homosexuality, things didn't improve much. Anybody can put a man's dick in his mouth, and that's about how I felt. Sex was mechanical at best. Or at least until I fell in love with a man who liked putting his dick in my mouth. With him, when he did put his dick in my mouth, or anywhere else for that matter, my heart sang. This was not just physical. I mean, the whole world changed as a result of my feelings. Suddenly, I LIVED for somebody, an experience totally new and lasting, as you might expect, all of 18 months.

 

After that? Well, it got human. What can I say. But I think I answered the question, yes?

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Guest SFJEFF

I grew up in Indiana and I didn't know what being gay was. I knew I was attracted to men but I just thought it was because I wanted to look like them. So I dated women all through graduate school, but of course thought of Jeff Stryker while I was having sex with them. I came out after my first male/male experience (as an adult) while I was living in Germany. And this experience was with a straight (yeah, right) married man (hotttt Italian man, I might add). So when I moved back to the states I picked the south to move to (big mistake) and came out then. And YES, as a previous poster stated, the biggest surprise was that everyone already knew. I was 26 at the time. I only regret not telling my mother before she passed away. Although I'm sure that she always knew. In fact I think that may have lead to her heart condition on some level after I moved to NYC. My brothers and sisters have all been supportive. I even work as a fairly high executive in a fortune 100 company and am so far the only male to bring male guests on company sales trips and other events. And it has been completely accepted which is amazing to me considering that the company is VERY conservative. But I was instrumental in getting the benefits changed to include same-sex partners and I helped get the policy of no discrimination to include sexual preference. I'm even on the corporate minority list, which I thought was interesting.

 

So all in all, it has been a positive experience, although I still find myself hesitant to tell just anyone in my business environment, although if asked I always tell the truth now.

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I came out when I was 18. I've never met anyone who has regretted "coming out." I can't stand lying, so for me it's a particularly easy decision. Anyone who would only like me if I were straight doesn't really like me anyways, so what's the point? Certainly, there are jobs where you can't come out completely (the military being obvious). I would personally do anything I could to be in a job where I could be out, though. Every person I've known in the military hates the pressure of being out, and can't wait to leave. If a "friend" doesn't approve of your being gay, he doesn't approve of you period, so who needs him? It's not that difficult to find good friends!

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I came out to myself at 13, and had my first sex with another gay male when I was 17 (he was slightly older and picked me up in a public restroom). My family was more puzzled than upset when I came out to them. I didn't have any macho, straight best friends to come out to (when I came out to my best friend, he admitted that he was gay, too).

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Guest SFJEFF

I told my brothers and sisters in letters to them. They all responded via letters as well, then we talked about it live. They had questions, like: Are you safe? Do you have HIV? (which is an unfortunate association); I always responded with "do you?" and then explained that it is not a gay disease. These situations always come with the need to do some education at the same time. That's tough because you may not always be thinking clearly. But it was important to do.

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Guest blankman

It's a cliché but it's true: coming out is an on-going process. It involves changing from an automatic effort to hide being gay in all situations to one in which you make no effort whatsoever to hide it, and even volunteer the information in appropriate settings.

 

I know this because I came out to my best friend (also gay) when I was 18. Then I came out to more gay friends, then a couple of straight friends. Then most everyone who was a friend. Then family members (starting at age 21) one at a time. First, siblings. Parents not until I was 30 (mother knew of course, father in denial).

 

Then there's co-workers and your professional persona. I never "hid", but then there's a kind of don't-ask-don't-tell limbo which you can inhabit indefinitely if you want, most of the time. My boss never brought the topic up until he wanted to invite me to dinner and needed to know whether to invite my bf. I think his wife had pointed out to him the obvious. You'd be surprised how little anyone cares nowadays.

 

Then there are professional contacts. I occasionally have to deal with people from other cultures, China, Egypt, Korea, etc. I don't bring up being gay. It gets in the way and is not useful. So you see, I am not "proactively" out.

 

The question is very complicated. One even talks about when one comes out "to oneself". In my case I had some epiphanies, but I didn't understand what being gay really WAS when I was a teenager. How was I supposed to know, with no role models?

 

Because coming out is a process, I think most of us come out or don't come out over and over again, day after day.

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Remember that coming out is a two way street. You have been worrying on the question of what it would be like to tell people, and, at the same time, other people have often been worrying on the question on what would it be like to be told. So don't be surprised if you receive some "prerecorded" speaches, but also don't be surprised if someone backs away from the subject. Let them. They need time, too.

 

My father was a scrawny little Irishman, never, in his later years, what we would really call in very good health. So, I waited until after he died to come out to my family in respect of not wanting to put a shock into his health. At the time he died, I was living with my first lover, John (believe it or not). Several months later, he died in a car wreck. (sure you're a wonderful driver, but not everyone else is. Be very defensive on the road, please, guys.) I was blown away and felt like I had to explain to Mom why I was so blown away, so, over a phone call I told her, her response was "I'vebeenafraidofthatforaverylongtimeWhenareyoucominghomesowecanfinishyourChristmasshopping?" all in one breath. It showed I was still loved and watched over, but wasn't quite the emotional support that I had hoped for. But I gave her her time, and eventually she was much more supportive than most of the other mother's I've met. ("Why are you dating him? It doesn't seem to me that he could be much intellectual companionship for you." "Well, actually, he isn't. But that's not why I'm letting him hang around. You gotta admit he's goodlooking." "Well, yeah, OK." with the unspoken "Just don't marry him." As she always said, "It's just as easy to love a rich man as a poor man, they're just harder to find." - I think her mother had told her the same thing. Well, neither of us found one. ;-) )

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Guest Kevin 2

Godiva,

What a great post you started here. I wish more guys would post on this subject. I'm sure everyone has a story on this subject and maybe some advice for those of us still in the closet.

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Guest trekker

Godiva, are you "Porny Honey" in drag? You sure sound like him. Will you tell us the name of the article (book?) when it's published?

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Guest swiftone

Thanks guys for your contributions to this great post. I came out to my parents and family in my late teens. I had been seen going in and out of a gay bar in a nearby city and thought it would be better coming from me rather than someone else. I can't say may parents were thrilled and they certainly didn't understand. They thought I would simply grow out of it. My father took it worse than anyone, he was very much into having his blood line carried on, and as I was his only son, that duty feel to me, but he did stop asking me when I was going to get a 'girlfriend', settle down and get married and have children no did he ever mention my homosexuality again. Most of my friends were not surprised and on the whole they and my family have been very supportive. In fact my niece often acts as a matchmaker, trying to find her dear old uncle a boyfriend.

I have, however, remained a very private person, tending to be on the shy side, but do not hide the fact that I am gay and when and if the subject comes up I openly admit my orientation. I have been very happy with my life and wouldn't change anything about it.

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Guest allansmith63

What a great post! This is what I'm here for.

 

I'm starting to think about coming out myself. Kinda late, but it's time. At this point, my ex-wife is the only straight person who knows I'm gay. She wants us to take this "terrible" secret to our graves, for my kid's sake. (NOT)

 

I don't have a problem introducing my gay companions to my straight friends. At a restaurant in the city, I recently was dining with a man I was dating, and we were "picked out" as a gay couple by another gay couple, who came over to talk to us. I was surprised somewhat by how proud I was to be connected "that way" to the man I was with (gaydar, I guess). At that same evening, I had wanted to introduce my companion to a business associate I worked with previously. My companion very discretely disappeared just before I could introduce him. I chided him later for leaving, because I didn't/don't ever want to put a man I'm with into the position of me denying I'm with him, or humiliating him. I was proud to be with him, and I wanted to introduce him as a friend.

 

Anyhow...

 

Mentally, I believe I'm prepared to come out, but then the fears assail me. I'm dating a great guy near to my hometown, and we're not particularly cautious. So, I think I'm soon facing coming out, or getting found "out".

 

The point of this post - I'm adding a wrinkle. All of my family, and most of my friends are actively involved in religious evangelical circles. I see myself without supportive parents, siblings, my own kids, etc. etc. It's scary, to say the least.

 

Does anyone here understand / connect with this?

 

Thanks.

 

Allan

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I can understand how religion-supported homophobia in one's family of origin makes it difficult to come out. There was some of this in my family as well. I'm sure it's a fairly common experience, with varying levels of vitriol, in many families.

 

How one chooses to deal with this varies. I chose to confront it head on, largely because I didn't want to live the rest of my life pretending to be heterosexual. Even at 15 years old, I was tired of getting questions and comments about what "girls" I was interested in. My feeling then (and now) is that I'd rather have genuine love and acceptance from someone than an overtly "good" relationship with only part of me. (Not to mention that staying in the closet also often requires someone to tolerate or even appear to endorse homophobic slurs and jokes.)

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Hey All..I am back

I was away for work..

 

Thanxs Kevin, Swiftone and Allansmith for your support of this thread..It is hard to find someone to ask about this so the best place I thought to come was here. I was counting the minutes before the cynics started to pounce but unlike most... my motive is strictly personal and genuine. I really want to know..I have never been to a Gay Bar for fear of being caught..I will work that out later..But as I read the glimpses into every ones situations.. It has made me feel better about myself and about what I am about to do..more than any counselor could do..Also when I finally do Come Out and the fall out begins...unlike many of our brothers and sisters who had to endure the stress alone and sometimes contemplate suicide..I will back here on this amazing thread getting support and advice from my Invisible Friends..

 

Yes these are the types of post I like too.

 

By the way Trekker..I am not Phoney Honey or whatever..As I reread over many of the thoughtful insights..I wondered to myself if there was a book about this..if not there should be but be assured...NOT BY I..for mine is a personal quest...

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Parents can be touchy. As had been pointed out, parents are sometimes the last to be told and the first to know. That was true in my case too. They weren't happy about it, but have come to accept it. We're very close. (They live five blocks from me and I see them almost every day.) My sister's best friend came out a few years ago. Her parents still don't know. Which is a big surprise. Her younger brother has been out since he was in high school and their parents appear to be very accepting of him. I guess its up to the individual.

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Guest jeffOH

It was 1982 and I was a sophomore in college when I made it

official. I was drunk and my mother was already upset over that

(and that I'd run my car off the road into a snowdrift)so I

thought I might as well get it out of the way. Not the best way

to approach the subject, but hey, I got it out there. We were

both crying...very dramatic. The next day was Christmas Eve so

my coming out kind of put a damper on the festivities. There's

really no good time. People always find excuses not to tell. I

was raised to be honest and not to be a hypocrite. I just knew

I had to tell them. It was for them to decide how to deal with

it. They now knew the truth.

 

They were back and forth with it for years, but it was becoming

obvious to me how differently they were treating me from my 4

younger brothers and sisters. I gradually stopped going home(they

only live 90 miles away)and I haven't been home for 6 years. I

spoke to my father a year and a half ago(told him I'd been an

escort for some time, Mom already knew)and I haven't spoken to my

mother for 5 years now.

 

I'm glad I told them that I was gay and a prostitute. To me

it's a matter of accepting responsibility for your life and not

living a life of illusion. Many people aren't ready for this

level of openness and that's fine. I didn't want any of those

nagging thoughts of "What would __________think if I told them

I was gay, or a prostitute?" Living in the TRUTH is so much

easier than the other way. It sure is much simpler. I do have

good relationships with some of my siblings and I've found as

you share your Truth with others, you attract people to you who

will love you as you are, NOT who you're pretending to be or who

they want you to be. I have several friends with whom I share

EVERYTHING and they do the same with me. I've gotten to know

who I am as a result of my openness and honesty and would do it

all over again, because I now know from experience what the

saying, "THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE" really means.

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Dear Godiva, If you are uncomfortable with going into gay bars, perhaps that isn't where you should start looking for your non-invisible gay friends. It certainly doesn't have to be, depending of course on what part of the world you live in. Most major American cities and many not in the USA have Metropolitan Community Churches now. And there are often all sorts of clubs for glbt people. Houston even has a club for people who are interested in/ collect vintage automobiles. And, starting just recently, the Pink Pistols, which I understand is a local branch of a national organization for glbts who are interested in/ own guns. Quite a range. There's probably somewhere out there where you can go and be yourself and be sure you'll talk about something you're already interested/ knowledgeable in.

Love, Bilbo/Fancy

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