Coming Out

September 10, 1997:

I thought I'd write a little more about coming out here, since so much has happened since last April. I've included most of the old essay about coming out below, and a lot of it is still true, but there's more news than that.

With regard to polyamory, two weeks ago I came out to my parents. My wife and I went to visit them for the day, and eventually sat down with them and explained precisely why they'd been hearing so much about this woman T, and why it was that her picture was on my public web page, and so forth.

Their concerns were roughly what I predicted. They were concerned for the health of my relationship with my wife. They were concerned that C (my wife) was more hurt by my involvment with T than she was letting on. They were concerned for my health. In the end, they let C and I know that they accepted what we were saying and hoped things worked out well for us. They don't necessarily completely understand, but that's okay.

More importantly, the relationship I have with my parents has definitely taken a positive twist. It's a little more clear to me now that my parents and I are dealing as equals, not as parent and child. And this was something that I didn't expect, at least emotionally speaking.

In the end, you come out to people for yourself. And it's you do that for your mental health, your happiness, your freedom to not hide from the world. And, in my case, it has been worth every effort.

As you come out to people, at least for me, I've found that it gets easier. You take an easy step, and you find that it was never (well, hardly ever) so scary as it seemed like it would have to be. And that feels good... often good enough to provide emotional support for the next step.

April 29, 1997:

People seem to be of different minds about how out they need to be to be happy. I've got this 'problem' that I really dislike telling lies. I really dislike hiding bits of myself. It's so much work compared to just telling the truth, and you miss the fun of getting to shock people.

Seriously, I think it's important to think about the reasons that one stays in the closet, or leaves it, no matter what closet we're talking about.

For me, there are several reasons to try and stay in. One is that my fear of other people knowing about my same-sex attractions is a rational one, violence against homosexuals is all too common, and I am not a particularly good fighter. In the case of polyamory, there's another reason to be in... worries that my friends might assume that I was unethical--coercing my wifes consent for that lifestyle.

However, the effort it takes to be quiet is large, and I have no wish to make that a permenant situation.

I've come a long way so far... two years ago I was so frightened of people's response to same-sex attraction that I started my first discussions on the subject using PGP--pretty nearly the only thing I'd ever used PGP for. Today all of my close friends, and many of my more distant ones, know I'm bi, poly, and a little kinky for that matter. I can walk into a nearby GLBT center and feel at home.

To be honest, almost all of my experiences coming out to people have been very positive. A few have been quite intrigued, and many long phone calls have resulted, often with an increased sense of closeness between me and the friends I've told. Also, by coming out I often find out things about the people I tell--five old friends who are non-monogamous, three bisexuals and a gay man, as well as several friends in the BDSM community. All of them still in the closet in general, but out to me personally....


Last modified: 22 January 2000