Why I Don’t “Come Out”
Ugh, I don’t like that. I have very mixed feelings about “coming out” in the stereotypical ‘you might want to sit down for this conversation’ kind of way. It seems productive in the way of letting people know a part of your identity and normalizing our existence (by “our” I mean non-straight people). But in other ways it seems counterproductive because it makes a divide between straight and non-straight people (since straight people don’t have to come out) and also makes the sexuality of non-straight people a big deal. To some extent, I feel like that is doing the opposite of normalizing LGBT+. I don’t want to overlook awareness for LGBT+, but I also don’t want my sexuality to define me in the eyes of my friends/family/coworkers.
I want to live in a world where who I have dated, am dating, or want to date is not a big deal. So I don’t make it one. I don’t come out, at least not explicitly. I mean I don’t shy away from talking about my ex-girlfriend with family, friends, classmates, or coworkers, and I will happily stand up for LGBT+ rights any time. But I don’t bring it up unless it makes sense in conversation. In my mind, this is what “normalizing” LGBT+ looks like. It’s not a big deal that I’m not only into guys.
Now, I know that I pass as straight. I understand for some it is the ultimate goal, but honestly it frustrates me. I feel the need to correct people when they ask if I have a boyfriend, because if I let the assumption that I only date men slide, then I am somehow failing my sexuality and the community. But I am in a relationship with a man (so they’re right in that way), and it feels futile to say “Well yes I do have a partner who happens to be male this time but doesn’t have to be”.
I can also acknowledge that I may only feel this way about coming out because I live in an accepting environment. My family does not treat me differently and neither do my friends or coworkers. That was clear to me before my sexuality was. So it never had to be a big deal.
When it comes to greater society (ie. my college campus and professional network), is it bad to hold that same mentality?
P.S. This train of thought reminds me of a comedy video I watched a few years ago. There is some NSFW language used in this video.
Do you identify as non-straight in any way? How does this aspect of your identity play a role in your life?