Voilà: Part One and Part Two
So by age 18, I was out to my parents and to my friends and I was starting to meet other LGBT people. I wasn't really out at school, since I didn't want people to talk about me more than they already did and I felt no need to be out to people who didn't like me to begin with. I wasn't in your face out but I was comfortable with my sexuality and with the people in my life knowing. When I first started going to LGBT-events, I lied to my mom and made up excuses to where I was really going, but after three or four of these lies I thought to myself 'She dealt with me being gay, she might as well deal with me knowing gay people'. My parents had told me that they didn't want me to tell anyone that I was gay and they were slightly disappointed/uncomfortable when I told them that my friends all already knew.
So things pretty much stayed the same in that area until I graduated from high school and moved to a different town to study there. I didn't know anyone and had to make new friend and had to come out all over again. People never think that I might be gay because I don't 'look gay', or as I call it, 'I don't look like the stereotype', so it always comes as a surprise to people. The difficulty I encountered, which I think is pretty universal among members of this community, is not knowing how someone might react. There are many people who don't know or think that they don't know anyone queer and they very happily live in their heterocentric world. Most of them don't even have that much of an opinion on gay people, since they pretty much are oblivious to it. They know that homosexuality exists, but it's a very abstract thing that has nothing to do with their lives. So even with nice people you can get weird or bad reactions to your coming out. The point is, you just never know.
I decided that I didn't want it to be a big deal, but I also wasn't going to go back into the closet. So when I started being friends with two girls I am still friends with I told them pretty soon, basically by saying that I wasn't into the kind of girls that were at the bar we were at. Their reaction was basically, 'Oh, okay' and they asked me a few things about how I found out and things that had to do with me being gay. I was positively surprised by their reaction, since one of them is Catholic and I wasn't sure how religious she was. I got the best reaction ever from one girl who is pretty much the obvious outsider that I am too. I told her that I was gay straight out and she said 'Wow, how cool! So do you have a girlfriend?' She went through very similar experiences in highschool (being bullied and picked on) and so she has that compassion and respect for outsiders that I feel one has when they grow up with these experiences. Since those three people were the only ones I was really friends with and how were more than just acquaintances, they were the only ones I told. The other people who knew me and these friends basically found out by hearing me talk about it with my friends.
Until I met my girlfriend, being gay and out was often more of a theoretical concept. Unless I told someone, nobody knew and since I didn't have a girlfriend, it was easy not to talk about it with people who didn't know me well. Of course, all of that changed when I started dating my baby. I'll write about that in Part Four.