We all know the ditty… Diana Ross belting her little heart out telling us how she wants the world to be aware of her coming out. Okay, so the context isn’t entirely there – more a tool for her to use as an opening song for her concerts; but for the LGBTQ+ community, it’s an accepted part of who we are. All over the world, those with a different stance to sexual preferences other than the “norm” that is heterosexuality have forever struggled with the task of exposing who they are to their loved ones. Whether it’s the small scale act of telling one confidante or busting it out on a YouTube channel for millions to see, we have come to accept that “coming out” is the right thing to do. Some do it, some don’t. All I ask, is does “coming out” need to exist at all?
Cast your mind out to the stereotypically “straight” world – When did you last hear a heterosexual start a conversation with “Hi, my name’s Debbie and I’m straight”? When was the last time a large plotline in Eastenders involved Dot Branning having to come to terms that her eldest grandchild was, in fact, a Hetero? (Cue dramatic drumbeat). Just think how much more Ikea would profit if everyone in the world needed a closet to come out of! Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe for a second that coming out is a bad thing to do – a majority of us have been there – waiting to slip it into conversation, having the sit-down talk with our parents or even suddenly waving a fabulous glitter-covered, rainbow-secreting unicorn in the sky. One way or another, we found our way out of Narnia.
Yet, there are plenty of LGBTQ+ members who have yet to reveal themselves or will choose not to. And to this I say: Okay! Whatever your reason is, that’s perfectly fine! Don’t believe that you have to conform to this societal creation that is “coming out”. If you don’t want a big Coming Out party – don’t have one. The best judge in this situation is you and no one can tell you otherwise! Some people (like myself) choose to tell people if asked (I’m comfortable like that) and others will keep it private. After all, sexual orientation has never hurt anyone, it is the actions of others that do. Being around an accepting crowd will always help. I myself, was fortunate enough to be a part of one such crowd and received no backlash. Be that as it may, I was still scared to tell new people and other members of the family. I was suddenly a big secret that I couldn’t ask others to keep on my behalf. I had to buck up and sprout rainbows out of my ears for all to see. Would I have done it differently if I had a second go at it? Absolutely.
After months of being the gay son and forcing myself to update everyone on my newly-public gayboy life, I stopped. After all this time hiding who I was, why had I done a complete U-turn now? I questioned this more than I ever questioned my sexuality. I had believed that everyone I know, had to have the knowledge that I was a homo. Why? Says who? When did this become a standard habit of being LGBTQ+? I am who I am, I’m happy and that is all that matters.
We, as a society, have so many rules and regulations in place that work fantastically well – but is “coming out” one of them? If straight people don’t do it, we shouldn’t either. Whilst I am proud of who I am, I no longer require the fanfare and the amateur dramatics thank you very much. That time is over. All I, and hopefully we, can hope for, is a society in which no one requires the big show of announcing who they are. Either that, or do like Diana Ross did – write a song about it, make it a huge gay anthem and sing it to the millions! You go girl…