Everyone's posting their National Coming Out Day stories so I'll post mine.
I used to run with a crowd of ravers and skaters. And skating ravers. It was a pretty butch bunch of guys. I'm pretty sure I was the only gay one among them. I knew I was different, because they were always skeezing on women, and I didn't get it. However, I still believed that at some point in the future I would finally get the memo and start ogling girls like they were.
I've shared about my struggles in a previous post. Needless to say, I wouldn't admit to myself that I was gay, and I was terrified that you would find out before I did and "out" me. In the end, pretty much that is what happened: after I'd moved in with her in New York, my sister asked me point-blank, if I was gay or not. I was 18.
Nobody had ever asked me that before. Because it was my sister, who has always more or less had my number, I was able to be honest about it. I told her I was "bi", and then about 30 minutes later, the bisexual phase of my life was complete and I came out as gay. It was a really short phase.
A few nights later I called my best friend in Chicago and came out to him and his girlfriend. He was pretty supportive and was mostly worried that he would have to stop saying "fag", which was about every other word out of our mouths at the time (myself included). I assured him nothing would change1, and he was satisfied with that.
I came out to my mom in a phone call as well. She just wanted to know if I was sure, which I told her I was, and she went ahead and told my dad so I wouldn't have to. My parents may be Republicans but they're still educated socially liberal Jews. There was no hellfire or brimstone, just some patronizing concern, which has mostly gone away over the years.
A few weeks later in Chicago I drank myself into a blackout at a party with the rest of my friends, and apparently had some slurred, drunken coming-out. I had to be informed it had happened a few weeks later. I had no idea. Things were a little different but not so different that I really noticed.
By and large, everyone in my life has been cool about me being gay. I've always lived in environments that were either indifferent or supportive of queer people. That doesn't mean that I didn't spend years and years in self-hating misery, drinking, using drugs, and alternately hating and judging other queer people. Internalized homophobia is a bitch. I took all of the nasty things society said about people like me, and accepted them as fact.
I had a second coming-out of sorts when I got sober in 2006 and had to get serious about the way I've been relating to myself and the world. That broken belief system I carried for years has slowly but surely come apart. The last couple of years have been a journey of coming to terms with who I am, and growing in love and service to all of you. Coming out is a process, not an event. It began when I'm 18. It continues, today, at 29. The world is still a very hostile place for queer people, even if we live in a cocoon of supportive friends. I try to do my part every day to change that. Are you?
1not cool now, but it was then.