Tales Of My Coming Out / Welcoming In
We're sharing your "Coming Out" stories, or as we like to say ‘Tales of My Welcoming In’ (shout-out to Karamo from Queer Eye for introducing us to this concept). We love the idea of reframing opening up to others about yourself as welcoming them into your space. In this way, it centres you and your truth. Wherever you are in your journey, our hope is that by sharing other peoples stories you’ll find comfort and solidarity in their experiences.
"I came out by effectively not coming out. I figured cis people just present how they want and it doesn't matter. So over time, that's exactly what I did.
No big deal was made, no big fuss. No Facebook posts. The family eventually asked me about it, I told them how I felt, that was that. Extended family started noticing a few years later, but again no issues. I treated it like it was as mundane as changing my hair colour, and in turn, so did everyone around me.
I remember how my friend from uni asked me about if after we'd been friends for nearly 6 years because her friend had asked and she'd never even thought about it!
It's how I feel it should be safe for everyone to do. Cis people don't come out, they just express themselves with fashion and mannerisms they like, so why can't we do the same?"
Words by majora31 (via Reddit)
Whether you define this as Coming Out or Welcoming In, we want you to feel in control and centred in your experience. However you do or don't open up to the people in your life about yourself, and whether or not they accept your truth, you are valid and deserve to be seen as you are.
"I'm 27 years old and used to believe I was straight. Then I sort of figured out I'm gay. Truth is, you would never know by looking at me. I don't fit most stereotypes of gay men.
At this point I'm out to my parents, but that's about it. My friends and colleagues don't know. And I don't know if I'll ever tell them unless I absolutely have to. Frankly, it's none of their business what my sexual preference is.
I believe coming out to yourself is most important. After that comes coming out to your direct environment. Just so you don't have to sneak around and lie. I wasn't willing to do that. For me 'coming out' is just a 'tool'... one that I'll use if it serves a purpose.
(That last bit might sound harsh, but you know what I mean. You have to look out for yourself I feel. I'm not willing at this point to become any sort of activist.)
Who knows, maybe I'll change my mind one day."
Words by bluemonday92 (via Reddit)
The person you should be prioritising and centering when you come out/welcome in is always you. How you decide to open up and who you decide to open up to is entirely your decision and not one you have to justify.
"I now identify as Pan but hadn't heard of it when I was young so came out as bi. I was very scared to come out to my parents for a long time. When bisexuality was brought up I would hear that either they were sex crazed sluts or they were just seeking attention.
When I was 15 I had a girlfriend. We were out at school but not at home. When her mum found out about us she threatened to call my mum. In a last ditch attempt to control my coming out story I told my mum I had a girlfriend. She burst into tears. She asked me to never tell other family members as she was afraid they would think she had failed as a mother. She told my dad and he and I didn't speak at all for about a week.
They were careful not to put me down directly but would still say things about bisexuality in general - that it wasn't natural or that it didn't exist. Then they decided that if I didn't break up with my girlfriend then I would go to the local catholic school (which is co-ed). In an effort to try to stay with my only support - my friends - I broke up with my girlfriend.
Fast-forward to after graduation when I am planning to leave for uni. I'm so happy to be going to live by myself and to be away from people who I felt would never accept me. That was 3 and a half years ago.
Since then my mum has:
- voted for marriage equality in Australia
- spoken to some of my extended family about how proud she is of me and my owning of my sexuality
- Corrected herself from saying "your future husband" to "...or wife"
It's still not something I'd want to discuss with my dad but he has definitely stopped with the disrespectful comments and is back to being loving and proud of me.
Time can heal all wounds and now I know there's hope for anyone whose parents are not there yet" -
Anonymous, 21yr old
Coming out to those closest to us is not always easy. Reflecting on the advice from Casey Tanner and Silva Neves remembering to put your safety first and knowing that your identity is no less valid despite others reactions. Check out our How To Come Out - Ask A Therapist post for more advice.
"I'm a 35 year old male, and have been married for 9+ years to a wonderful woman who is somewhat openly bisexual (close friends only know about her). I recently either figured out, or realized I am/have always been Bisexual. I can go on about my realizations about myself, but it's probably old hat to everyone here. Lots of societal pressure and shame making me pretend I didn't have feelings, I love the person, not the genitalia, yadda yadda you are already bored by me, I can tell. I have no desire to leave my wife, and am not interested in an open marriage or anything like that.
I love my wife and she is extremely supportive of me in every way that I can think of, BUT she does have a jealous streak. There have been times where I or other friends thought she overreacted to a third party because she thought they were hitting on me. I either did not make it clear enough I wasn't interested or was oblivious to the third party's advances. Even if I didn't agree with her, I still support her feelings as valid, and make sure to take extra care on these things because I don't want to hurt her feelings.
Is there a good way to phrase things like "This isn't going to change anything, I still love you and only you, etc?" Any other ideas on how to start? I just feel like if I drop the "I'm bisexual" bomb she will immediately jump to "you are leaving me for a man?" feelings and I'm terrified of that. (I also recognize I overthink things and probably should do the "JUST TELL THEM" thing."
This story resonated with us deeply as it is an honest reflection of what it means to be truly honest about our sexuality in its entirety. When it comes to removing binaries, this isn't just for gender and this isn't just for sex as we have previously discussed, but also for sexuality. All three are a spectrum and fluid and for many, truly understanding where we are is an ongoing process.
"I just wanted to let you know it went great! She understood, said I had previously hinted at things but she appreciated me saying it and we both agreed nothing was changing."
(An update on the above story, we had to share this beautiful follow up from the person who came out to his wife as bisexual.)
Having the support to be fully honest with yourself and others is a powerful space to hold, and we hope that by sharing other peoples' experiences we can help you feel validated and seen in your journey.