Define: Open.

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by GoneA, Sep 4, 2006.

  1. GoneA

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    So, tonight I was talking to my boyfriend (*giggles like school-girl*) and we talked for quite a while. Eventually, we started talking about the curse/blessing of coming out of the closet. It then occurred that I wasn't quite certain if everyone in his family knows he's gay.

    So I asked, "Mark, does everyone in your family and close friends know you’re gay?" To which he gave an immediate and resounding, "Hell no! There are some family members (and even friends) I wouldn't dream of coming out too."

    You see, he was raised in a very Christian home ... and that pretty much explains in a second what took us about three hours to get to. Deny it though he will. :rolleyes:

    Nevertheless, my question(s) to LPSG members: Are you gay or bisexual? If so, are you openly gay or bisexual? If so, what does being open mean to you ... open to everyone regardless of whom they are or only open to those who you know will be welcoming? Is the former even a wise decision?
     
  2. B_dxjnorto

    B_dxjnorto New Member

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    I don't go around telling everyone I'm gay. But I'm not very straight either.

    I don't really feel a need to define myself that way. I'm just me.
     
  3. Matthew

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    Considering that being "open" in some situations could be life-threatening, I have to applaud anyone who is truly open in every situation no matter what. I have kept my mouth shut a couple times because I wanted to live to see another day.

    But I am out to everyone who is in my life; family, co-workers and definitely friends. Someone who can't accept my sexuality is not my friend by definition. I think it's important to be "open" in order to confront stereotypes and such. Every one who comes out advances things for all of us by one step. I make a point to mention my sexuality if I wonder where a person stands or if I think they may be uncomfortable with it. Their reaction is a great way to tell how much you can trust them and how you will need to deal with them.

    For people first coming out, I think starting with the "welcoming" people is definitely the best way. Have a circle of support before tackling tough cases.
     
  4. BarebackJack

    BarebackJack New Member

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    Here's what "open" means in my life: I act in public as I do in private with 2 exceptions: 1) I have clothes on in public. 2) I refrain from discussing sexual things in too much detail or in language that would offend others.

    That's it. Now, I'm not flamboyant nor effeminate. I'd say average in terms of demeanor. I don't come across as the guy who would fuck the cheerleader, nor do I come across as a diva. I let people draw their own conclusions, as they would anyway. Most of the time they figure it out eventually. But I try not to worry about what a stranger might think of me. That's a waste of energy. If a person gets up the courage to ask me, I reply honestly. It's the least I owe them.

    For the record, I am out to my entire family. Undoubtedly that makes it easier. The intimate details of my gay life and my connections with the porn industry, however, are never discussed except occasionally with my sister. Thats out of respect for them. They accept that I'm gay. That's good enough.
     
  5. Lex

    Lex
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    Wow--kudos to you on the BF front, Goner!!

    As someone who is in the process of coming out, I can say that, like Matthew, I feel that some places present as safer than others to be totally open. Each of us who chooses to come out builds a stronger platform upon which all who support and encourage diversity can stand.

    My plan is to get to a place (eventually) where I can openly live my life as a gay father. This, as Matthew said, will mean being out at work, with all family, with friends, and to my kids. They need to know that Daddy is a little different, and that love is unconditional and having family is all that matters.
     
  6. jeff black

    jeff black <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    This "out/Open" thing.... is not something I am quite ready for.

    My only thoughts on this matter... Let's be hypothetical for a moment.

    Situation#1:

    I come to the realization that I am gay, or realize that I may not have any interest in women anymore. As a result, I muster up the courage to tell my parents and close friends. Who knows how people will take it but lets say everyone has a difficult time with it at first, then becomes ok as time progresses.

    FIVE years later, I have had a slew of sexual/emotional relationships with men. I find my life unsatisfying, or perhaps realize that life with men isn't exactly what I wanted... and realize I still care for women a great deal. Now, I have to COME OUT as a straight/bisexual man to my parents.

    The Situation sounds like alot of added stress on my family and friends. Not that they wouldn't accept me no matter what I choose, It is just alot of things to consider for them.

    Now, I know I am gonna get reemed out.. called a coward, or a shithead because I am unwilling to stand up and make a decision, but I don't care. While I respect Lex, and others who have stood up and come to terms with themselves... I am not willing to do that because I am concerned that this situation is fairly valid in my life. I refuse to hurt my parents and friends (Please hold the bullshit about good friends accepting you no matter what.)

    I figure, why not ride the idea of bisexuality out.... and experiment a bit without telling friends and family. Once I find someone who I wish to be fully committed to, THEN I make the leap to the next step.

    Also, coming out to a World that isn't Completely Gay friendly sounds like alot more turmoil than I am willing to face at this moment. Being discriminated for something I have no control over.... well, that just sucks.:rolleyes:

    I hope that makes sense... and that people will respect my choice. As most of you know, I have yet to have sexual contact with a man. Perhaps I will hate it, and this will not affect me.

    kudos on the great topic, GoneA.:rolleyes:
     
  7. Lex

    Lex
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    Jeff--No one should blast you for making decisions you think of as best for you. I mean, isn't that what we each of us do every day?!? One of the first two pieces of advice about coming out that is in all the literature I found is that you should come out when (1) you are absolutely sure of your sexuality and (2) you are ready to deal with all the (potential) fallout from sharing (i.e., when you feel emotionally strong).

    I went through a time when I thought I was bisexual (as many here can attest). I now know that I am not. If you still think you are bi--by all means, continue down your path of exploration until you know for sure.

    If after years, you decide that you ARE bi (as opposed to being gay), you can decide if that is something you want to share with family and friends at that time. Coming out (for me) has been stressful. Hiding, however, was no less stressful.

    The stress of being closeted is really a personal one. It sounds selfish--but its not--your first responsibility is to be true to yourself and to try to reach your full potential as a person, living a life that brings you happiness and fulfillment. All that begins with you. Sure family and friends have to accept it (come to terms with it) or not. Everyone's story is different. I thin my dad is having a very hard time with my news, but he is not one ot really talk about that.

    I can say that being able to finally talk to my mom about my struggles is a much more pleasant place to be than having things on my chest that I keep to myself (when she can tell deep down that something is amiss). So many people told me that I would be happier once I shared with people and I think that will be the case more and more as I move forward. It's not an overnight transformation, but rather a process like many other lessons/growing points in life. It is a porcess and it is a personal one. Everyone's path is different and should be respected as such.
     
  8. D_Knute Knutsack

    D_Knute Knutsack New Member

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    i am gay.
    i'm pretty open about it.

    i grew up in a religious home, but my parents were always very open-minded about different things. they taught us never to judge.
    so knowing that, it made it easier for me to tell them.
    after my parents found out -- i didn't really care who else knew!

    the only people that i haven't told is [A] friends from high school.
    but i'm sure he know, haha!
    secrets don't stay secrets in small towns.

    coming out takes time.
    you'll do it when you're ready.

    :)
     
  9. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    I won't go on about this particular tidbit but it's key to most of the problems people have around homosexuality in this land.



    GoneA,

    I don't wear an "I'm gay" name tag. But I think it's fairly clear pretty quickly that my boyfriend and I are a couple. In general conversation when I talk about my life I use the "we" pronoun more often than not.

    I think it's terribly important in this time that we go about our lives as if it's assumed we could be either gay or straight. Let those who have an issue with it see it "in action" and perhaps one day there'll be no need for explanations.

    To directly answer your question-

    Be honest in all situations at all times without going on unnecessarily about it. It's worked for me for over ten years and I wish I'd begun sooner.

    Being open for me means speaking honestly about who I love and being able to ogle those I find attractive from time to time without fear of being "sent to the hospital on a stretcher" by those who'd condemn me for my sexual orientation.:rolleyes:

    Anything less it to live a marginalized life. Not this fella......:wink:

    jeff I hope this isn't construed to be bullshit but I hope you'll come to a place one day when you realize that in a way you "hurt" those you love with any dishonesty.

    I've found that people are equal to much more than one often gives them credit. There couldn't be a family more frightening (in theory) than the one from which I come. Their reactions were not only surprising but also heartening and I know them ALL better for my honest (and they me).

    Good luck no matter what.

    R.
     
  10. Jentl

    Jentl Member

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    I'm completely open to every one about my sexuality.
    My parents know, everybody in school (teachers knew too) my friends of course... When I was 15-16, questions were being asked, I talked about it with my best friend and told her I was gay (tears and drama) and after that it got a lot easier. I always was part of the incrowd, so I kinda started a buzz going so I didn't have to tell everyone in person. I was in love with what you Americans would consider to be the 'school jock', nothing ever happened, he knew, but we were very good friends, and because I had lots of girl-friends too, I got him lots of girlfriends too so we were both very happy about the thing. Plus, I was safe on the top of the food chain.
    With new friends, I don't tell them, but when the subject hits, I'm not one to deny it. Most of the time, I don't need to draw any pictures; I'm not gay acting, but I do have 'gay' intrests and am not afraid to talk about what I like. (Like fashion). And when you have a boyfriend, it makes it even easier. When you talk about 'him' instead of 'her' like it's the most normal thing in the world, you might see one eyebrow raising, but when they notice the next second you're talking about just the same things they are, with the same problems and hopes and pleasures in a relationship; people accept it just like that.

    Only thing I am shy about, are my sexual preferences in bed... like that I like them hung... or am addicted to sucking cock... that I obviously keep to myself. But those even are the more 'accepted' things, I can talk or joke about with (girl)friends. Other things, I don't even talk about with my boyfriend. I feel like I have different tastes than most guys/gays my age.

    I grew up in a small town, went to school in a very catholic school, and turned out to be the first openly gay student they had.

    My parents were a big problem, but we never liked each-other. I'm doing ok with my mum, but me and my dad are hell together. They found out I was gay by discovering gay porn on my computer. Believe me, not the easiest way. Specially when you just downloaded a movie about a guy taking a really really really big dildo. (I hadn't even watched it yet. My dad got there first :-D)
    By that time, friends in school allready knew and I left the house for a week, sleeping over at a friends who's mum was very understanding. She called my parents a couple of times. After that, they never mentioned it again, and I even got my internet back (big mistake mum and dad :)
    A month before I got to college, we had a big big row again - not really to do with me being gay, but like I said underneath it always stayed a big issue with my dad - and they wanted me to leave the house so they could live in peace (cause they were always fighting over me) they rented an appartment in the city I'm studying in, and we've seen each other once or twice a year since (like every christmas) and my mum calls almost every month to check on me.
    Sounds bad, but I'm really really happy with my freedom. Like I said, we never got allong anyway.

    Maybe Belgium is different to come out, maybe not. What do you think? I know I was born just the right time... by the time I was ready to come out, society was quite open for it. And now that i'm living in a big city, no problems at all any more; I can easily walk hand in hand with my bf. (but he's not comfy with it :)

    There. A lifestory. :)
     
  11. Jentl

    Jentl Member

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    Oh Stronzo; I can very much relate to what you said.
    You said it better, and more organised :)

    PS notice the thing written under this line; that's the part i'm closetted about :-D
     
  12. joyboytoy79

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    I'm gay, and i'm pretty obviouse. I don't sachey, i don't have a lisp, i don't wear women's clothing. None of the steriotypical stuff. Yet, people know i'm gay within a few hours of meeting me. I don't have to say "I'm gay."

    I've been out to my family for forever. For me, as i didn't really have to come out, it was easy.

    For others it's not so easy at all. And so, i get very upset when a gay friend of mine becomes self righteous and starts spouting off about how "if everyone would just grow balls and come out of the closet the world would be a better place for us gays." If it really were that simple, it would have been accomplished long ago. Many of those who are insistant that everyone who has even the slightest attraction to the same sex MUST tell the world about have had aweful coming out experiences themselves. I think the common thinking is, "if others had done it before me, it would have been better for me." That is simply not true.

    Coming out is a very personal journey. It will be different for each and every one of us. Some of us will look at our family lives and decide it's just not the right thing to do for whatever reason. Others of us will tie our parents down with rainbow coloured rope and not let them go until they agree with evey aspect of gay life and culture. The rest of us will fall somewhere in the middle. Natural variation. It's a good thing.
     
  13. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    Mais.. quand tu écris en anglais c'est presque sans erreur!:eek:

    J'assume que ta langue natif est la langue Français? Si vrai, tu as appris beacoup à l'école mon ami Belgique.

    (d'accord.. moi aussi. J'aime surtout les bittes :cool:)
     
  14. naughty

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    Workin&#039; up a good pot of mad!
    May I ask a question?

    Dont you all think that the way in which someone openly expresses their sexuality is probably in direct proportion to their degree of extroversion or introversion? I have some friends, gay and straight who are so into PDA as a pay per view event that I want to go hide but then there are others who you would not have a clue period but then the other aspects of their lives are equally as subtle.
     
  15. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    Excellent point. It has good truth to it too I think.

    Unfortunately the times naughty would dictate we (gay folks) become less inhibited and simply go about our lives like all people without apology or hiding.
     
  16. naughty

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    Workin&#039; up a good pot of mad!
    I hear ya, babe.

    But what do you think about people that harrass and ridicule fellow gay and lesbian friends because they are not as in your face as they think they should be.... ? I guess I feel the same way whether the person is gay or straight there are times when I wonder what are you doing this for? I am all for expressing your love but there are some people who remind me of (pardon my expression) a dog pissing on a tree. Trying to make a statement.
     
  17. Lex

    Lex
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    The other challenge is the battle against stereotypes. People assume (for their own sanity's sake) that only the really butch (masculine) women they see or the really feminine guys they meet are gay. They have no clue that a majority of gay men are butch and a majority of gay women are feminine (lipstick lesbians, as they are known).

    I recently saw two guys in a airplane. Both butch--masculine, we built, dressed in tees and shorts. They were (to me) obviously a couple. They boarded together, gave each other those knowing looks, and one got up and retreived pillows for both of them without so much as a conversation about it. Not so for the ladies sitting next to me who were drooling over them.

    No everyone who you can not immediately tell is gay is closeted. Most gay people are more similar to most straight people than dissimilar. Again, a lot of people can't accept this as it challenges their own internal notions of their own masculinty or femininity. It threatens them.

    Stronzo--that was a great post. I agree that being dishonest can be a hurtful thing. I was feeling a bit sad the other day thinking about my kids and had a good friend tell me that, when I am finished my journey--my children will have MORE of me to love as I will be closer to being all I can be. That, to me, is what it is all about.
     
  18. Lex

    Lex
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    Examples, please.

    Why shouldn't they kiss in front of the train or in the airport? Why not hold hands when walking down the street or in the mall?
     
  19. jeff black

    jeff black <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    To be honest... I think PDAs can be a bit overwhelming when you are in public, regardless of the sexual orientation of the couple.

    My qualms occur when I see a couple making out in front of the train.... Kissing, pecks on the cheek, light brushing of the lips are ok. After that, it gets awkward.
     
  20. Lex

    Lex
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    I can see that. I did not mean to imply deep french kissing in public (for anyone actually).

    That said, the amount of people who freak out when two men give each other a a soft kiss or *gasp* hold hands is amazing (to me).
     
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