Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Come out, come out, wherever you are

Did you know it was National Coming Out Day today? What better time for me to share something. You guys? I'm gay. I know, I know, you're plotzing, but if you really think about it, it's not like there hasn't been clues all along, right?

Coming Out is something that is done over and over for some of us, isn't it? I'm one of those people who is OUT, but with qualifications. My family knows I'm gay. Most of my friends know. I'm sure the people I work with have some pretty strong suspicions, but we have never discussed it. But if all the fix-ups I'm getting are any indication, most of my clients at work have no idea. What's worse, though, is this is a very small and conservative town. Claustrophobic even. I know everyone here, and thanks to my business, practically every third person I see in a 25 mile radius. No, really. And with all of them, I pretend, with varying degrees of success.

For a long time I've realized that a closeted existence is toxic for me, but it's only been recently that I've really considered the implications of this life/lie for the whole tribe and society in general. As with gay American Jim McGreevey and now Mark Foley, very public outing only serves to make something seem shameful when it's not. And add fuel to the fire of those who would keep us marginalized.

One thing that has never been a secret is my ardor for the dual-monikered composer/pianist/house flipper/actor/former porn star Gus Mattox/Tom Judson.Now THAT list qualifies him as a true Renaissance man in my book. All you other bitches are just pretenders. Did you know he also writes his ass off? Really good stuff and he has some interesting things to say about the Foley scandal. And he's pointin' fingers, guys. Tom is laying blame squarely on the shoulders of those not OUT, or those OUT TO SOME. Those like me, and brotha makes a strong argument. Here's a snippet:
Look, if every gay person in America came out tomorrow gay-bashing and homopobia would virtually disappear. I'm going to come right out and say it: closeted gays are directly responsible for homophobia and anti-gay sentiments in this country. Yeah, I know it's a hard thing to come out. So is advanced calculus. So is raising a family on a Wal-Mart salary. So is losing one's husband to AIDS. But you know what? People do it every day.
I'm workin' on it. I sent two forthcoming emails today. More in the pipeline. Baby steps, darlings.


Raybob said...

Way to go, man. Being a fellow Gemini, I say, be yourself as much as you can be. Have a good time, all the time.

And having lived in a rural farm town (20,000 in my entire county), I can tell you truthfully that one can be oneself and live well.

Michael said...

Thanks for the input, Raybob. I'm sure you're right about being authentic no matter where one lives.

Still, I gotta get outta here.

Jen said...

I disagree pretty strongly with your man. But out of fondness for you I will resist the urge to bicker over mistaking correlation for causation and instead just say supportively that, yes, coming out can be a great and empowering thing on the individual level, and on the social level it can help to educate people, which can indeed help to fight homophobia. :)

Michael said...

I think I see what you're saying (now that you've said it). But do you agree that a lot of homophobia would go away if everyone was out?

I'll have to tell you (or maybe BLOG it!) about the email exchange I had yesterday of an OUT me nature.

Michael Guy said...

It has taken three years of private therapy for me to OUT myself in the workplace. If you're a long-time reader of my blog, you'll note the complete 'tone' difference beginning January '05. That said: It is very empowering to step into one's own skin regardless of age and location. I waited till 50 to say "I'm gay and okay with it." Well, not literally..but sorta like that.

Because of this self-truth I now seek a more authentic life. Keeping up appearances to make other folks comfortable just doesn't work for me anymore.

Pass the Pride flag. Go for it! Great post!

Jen said...

But do you agree that a lot of homophobia would go away if everyone was out?

Yeah, that's more or less what I meant by: and on the social level [coming out] can help to educate people, which can indeed help to fight homophobia.

Re: email exchange, you've piqued my curiosity, do tell!

Michael said...

Jen, oops. I guess I should have gotten that impression. Especially since it's EXACTLY WHAT YOU SAID. Sorry, maybe this whole thing has me more flustered than I thought.

Michael, I'm a relative newbie at Troublespots, but I've gathered as much from out conversations. Though, I have to wonder: did you dress the same when you weren't out at work? Cuz I'm thinkin' your STYLE, while I adore it, speaks volumes. You know I mean that in the best possible way, right? xoxoxoxo Thanks, as always, for offering your expertly scented shoulder to cry on.

The Other Andrew said...

We are all piqued here. "Piqued, party of lots?"

Good post Michael. Thought provoking and also intriguing... :)

Daniel, the Guy in the Desert said...

You're fuckin' hot.
And I read Being and Nothingness when I was twelve.
You're hot.