In the past few weeks, I've managed to come out to several different people. I already talked about coming out to my on-line friend Kim here. Recently, I had a friend visiting from out of town, Rita, and she mentioned that she had no gaydar because even though she was open-minded, she just hadn't hung out with very many gay people so far. Right now, she's in medical school in the South, so there just aren't a lot of openly gay people in her town.
She told me how one of her classmates, when she asked for a ride home, said "Sure, but my boyfriend will be driving," and she replied, "That's cool; I didn't know you were seeing anyone," but inside she was thinking, "Man, how could I not have realized." Rita said she just never really thinks about others' sexuality because it's no big deal; it doesn't affect her, and she doesn't want to assume anything based on stereotypes -- but really, she just never even thinks about it enough to pick up on "stereotypes."
So a little while later in our conversation, she said "Well, you're straight..." (in preface to a comment about how people can be tolerant or something), and I somehow managed to pipe up "Actually, I'm not." She wasn't bluffing when she said it was no big deal to her -- she didn't even bat an eyelash as she said, "Okay, you're not," and went right on making her point.
Because my housemate was having a party that night, Rita and I shared my double bed (which we'd done in the past at hotels), and she didn't seem weirded out by that at all. If I'd had to predict her reaction, this is pretty much what I would have expected, though I was surprised she didn't have many gay friends.
The second person I came out to was Chris, a guy who had just joined the reading group I myself joined not too long ago (and attended a NOM counter-protest with members of). I had failed to come out to anyone at the counter-protest; I hadn't denied my sexuality, but I just hadn't found an opportunity to say one way or the other.
The reading group participated in a Pride event, so I went along, as did Chris. As the two of us walked back to our cars together, Chris asked me who in the group was gay, and then started listing the ones he knew. I told him I actually wasn't too sure -- I didn't assume someone was just because they had come to Pride or the counter-protest, so unless they mentioned their significant other, I really didn't know. But I did confirm the two couples that I knew. After a pause, I remembered to add, "and there's me."
Chris seemed a bit (a lot) surprised by my revelation. I guess it's not so important if gay guys and straight girls can't tell I'm gay, as long as lesbians can. Unfortunately, I suspect I don't cause a blip on anyone's gaydar (but that's a topic for another day).
Back on topic: to summarize, I have managed to come out to three different friends in as many weeks, in different ways. It does seem to get a bit easier each time. All three occurred before National Coming Out Day, and yet on NCOD, I was still beating myself up over not being ready to come out to my family, especially my brother.
My brother actually IM'ed me late in the evening on National Coming Out Day, and I really wanted to tell him, but I just couldn't work it into the conversation before he had to go. So yesterday I decided to write down everything I'd want to say to him, so maybe the next time I'd be more ready. Once it was written, I thought, "Well, why not just send it?"
I took a few deep breaths. Once you send something like that, it can never be taken back. Was I ready? Find out in my next post.