Why Is Coming Out So Hard?

I’m bisexual. See that wasn’t so hard from the comfort of my home, behind a computer, knowing that my name won’t be printed with this article. Now in the back of my mind, I’ve always known I was not a straight person. I was way too obsessed with certain female actresses to actually be straight. I had crushes on way too many male actors too, so you can see where a girl might have some confusion. Bisexuality was not a thing to me until I reached seventh grade. It wasn’t even an acceptable thing until I reached high school. So taking until my junior year to come out to some of my close friends, wasn’t any shock to me. It took me until my junior year to admit it to myself. 

The first bisexual person I ever knew, probably had to do with why I didn’t come out sooner. He came out in seventh grade, and was immediately shunned by almost everyone. I remember boys talking about how uncomfortable it was to have gym with him, and girls talking about how they would never date someone who also liked guys. I watched someone go through all this, and now I was supposed to say I was exactly like him? That I was also liked boys and girls? 

My first crush on a girl, happened in eighth grade. It was a pure crush, I just imagined holding her hand and cuddling. So I could play it off as just wanting to have an intense friendship with her in my mind. The best part, was that she had came out as pansexual just that year. People treated her different then they treated the first bisexual person I knew. Instead of being shunned, she was sexualized. Guys talked about how hot it would be to get with a girl that also got with girls. I mean what if she wanted to have a threesome with another girl? I feel part of my crush stemmed from the fact that she was the only girl I might have had a chance with at the time, because in reality she is no longer my type. 

Photo by Ally Burnham

Now the first time I was asked if I was gay, was another experience. This had happened in seventh grade, so I was fresh off some straight up bisexual hate. I was in a close friendship with a girl who I actually never had a crush on. I can just be super intense with my friendships, which is why it took me a few years to realize I actually liked my first crush. You would think imagining late night cuddling sessions would tip me off, but I was a little dense. It was Halloween of 2012. Are you surprised I remember this, because I actually am a little, like imagine how traumatizing this had to be for me to remember the day and year. In reality it wasn’t horrible. It was an innocent question from a friend, if I was dating this girl I was super close to. However, to little twelve year old me, this was the worst question I could have been asked. How was I supposed to admit I didn’t like her, but I did like girls? This guy I went to school with just went through months of torment because he came out.

I imagine half the people I went to school with, don’t even remember either of those people coming out. Why should they remember now? It’s not a super big deal anymore, people are coming out every day, all over the world. I remember though, because those were my first experiences with a boy and a girl coming out. I got to see both sides, and I did not like what I saw. Then I got into high school, and things got somewhat better. Things started changing in my mind, when a transgender girl at my school came out. I saw how she was treated, and it honestly wasn’t as horrible as you’d imagine. She had some issues with a few teachers and students, but for the most part, people didn’t care. My mind was put just a little bit more at ease. Maybe it was time for me to come out. Maybe telling a few people will make it easier to tell more.

Another factor that made it difficult for me to come out was that I was raised Catholic. Anyone who was raised Catholic knows, we are not an accepting bunch. Sure, the Pope came out in favor of gay marriage, but does that really erase the years of hatred we were taught? I was still going to church when gay marriage was legalized. I can tell you, my priest was not happy about it. I was raised in a community, that hated my other community. So my memories of church mostly consist of self-hatred and trying to get out of it. Now I still consider myself Catholic, mainly out of spite. I believe in God and I want other gay people out there to know that there are Catholics who love, support, and are them. 

Graphic by Hannah Markel

I said it took me until my junior year to come out, kind of a lie. If it was completely true, my name would be on this piece of writing. I have people in my life, including my parents, who I am not completely out to. Some people who are closer to my parents than to me, might read this article. Heck, my parents might read this article if I ever tell them I’m working for this magazine. So if you somehow figured out who I am, don’t tell my parents. First of all, rude. Second of all, I’ll come out to them when I feel safe enough to do so. I considered the possibility of telling them when I moved out, but sometimes life forces you to stay on good terms with them no matter what.

I like to imagine I’ll just come home with a girl someday as a way of coming out. Just, surprise, “Say hi to your new daughter-in-law.” I mean, straight people don’t need to sit down and have a big discussion about their sexuality. Why should I feel the need to have a big coming out? Why can’t I just come home with a girl and everyone act like I’ve been doing it my whole life? Now I feel like I haven’t answered my own headline. Why is it so hard to come out? To be honest, I don’t think there is just one answer. I told you why it was so hard for me to come out, but it will be different for everyone. For some people, coming out may be the easiest thing in the world. You may figure out you aren’t straight and immediately go tweet it for everyone to see. Congratulations, I am proud of you for being able to do it. It’s sad that not everyone gets to have that experience.

Now before I sign off and after baring pretty much my entire soul for the internet to read, I have a little bit of advice for anyone who may be in a situation like me: you don’t need to come out. It’s not up to anyone but you. You are not lying to people by staying in the closet. You are doing what is best for you. If you want to come out to one person, good for you. If you want the entire world to know you’re gay, go for it. Know that you have one person on your side, no matter how long it takes you to come out. And if you ever need some people to talk to, know that K-State has its own Sexuality and Gender Alliance that meets on Thursdays. The LGBT Resource Center is also available in Holton Hall on the second floor if you’re looking for even more people who get it. If you are nervous about going to a meeting, please email me at anonymousmanhappenin@gmail.com and I promise we can have a chat. 

 

Manhappenin' Magazine is Kansas State University's student-created lifestyle magazine.

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