A while ago, some of us posted our coming out stories. I haven’t written one yet, as I don’t really have one coming out story. Coming out for me has always been a life long thing. Every time I start a new job, I come out. Every time I move to a new city, I come out. Every time I join a non-gay sports team, I come out.
I assume it’s the same for most people. There are some personalities where their sexual orientation is no secret, but I’ve been told by more than one person that they “never would have guessed.” Which some how seems like a backhanded compliment? I guess I’m good at hiding it? haha. I know they don’t mean it that way, but living in a heterosexist world, you’re bound to hear comments of those type every now and then.
There are a few instances of coming out that stay memorable for me. I’ve known I was gay since about 10 years old, but never acted on it until I started university. The first time I ever told anyone was kind of a mess. I was at a party at a friend’s house after a basketball tryout practice in I think grade 10. I played basketball on the school team from grade 7 to grade 12, but skipped grade 9 because I thought I was “too cool” to play school sports. So in grade 10 I had to try out for the team again. Anyway, at this party there was quite a bit of alcohol, and I got drunk and decided now was the time to come out.
I sobbingly told a few people that I thought I was gay. My best friend being one of them. The next day, I got a bunch of phone calls from people who had seen me crying, and I was able to pass it off as I was upset that I thought I wasn’t going to make the basketball team. Lame for crying, but at least I could stay in the closet for a few more years. My best friend called me too that next day and flat out asked me: “So, you told me you thought you were gay last night. Is that true?” And I fessed up and said yeah, it was true. He got really mad. He was furious that I hadn’t told him. We were best friends, inseparable for about two years, and I guess he had a point.
So that was the first time I told anyone without taking it back later.
When I moved to Ottawa for University after high school, coming out was easier. I didn’t know any people yet, and I didn’t care what they thought of me. If they didn’t like the fact that I was gay, then I didn’t need to be their friend. Fortunately, all the people I made friends with, and continue to stay friends with were accepting. University was really easy on that level for me.
The one other coming out story that sticks with me, is when my parents found out. Yes, found out, not were told.
I played on a gay soccer team when I lived in Vancouver, and the first year that I played for them we went to Montreal for the first annual Out Games. It was one of the most amazing trips of my life and I still have great memories, even though we SUCKED big time, and didn’t win one game.
Before the trip, I told my dad that I was going to Montreal to play in a soccer tournament. Didn’t tell him it was the Out Games, or that I would be playing for a gay team, but I figured he should know that I was going on vacation.
Anyway, about three or four days after I returned from Montreal, my friend Sous and I went out to Moxie’s for a friend’s birthday. (Coincidentally, this was the first time I ever met Adam, an eventful night to say the least). We were walking to the restaurant when I get a call on my cell phone. It’s my Dad, and he says hi and then says “I see you didn’t win any games in Montreal.” Which was curious, as I hadn’t talked to him about it yet, so I asked “How did you know that?” which he replied “Oh, I read it on the Out Games web site.”
Utter shock. I couldn’t move and my mouth just fell to the ground. I made some excuse about how I was on my way to a birthday party and that I would call him later. At the dinner party, I told everyone and they thought it was pretty funny, but I was shitting my pants, haha.
Later that night I called him and he told me that he had seen some coverage on tv about the Out Games, and he wondered if that was the tournament I was playing in, so he went online to see the teams, and the rosters of each team were posted. There was my name, along with a list of gay men, on a gay soccer team.
So I came clean, and told him yes I was gay. He said he still loved me and over all it went pretty well. I guess it took a lot of guts for him to make that phone call. We don’t really discuss my homosexuality that often, but it’s a relief to know that he and my Mom know, and it doesn’t make a world of difference.
I never really wanted to come out that way. I wanted to do it face to face, but since I moved away from home, the only time I saw my parents were at holidays, and I didn’t feel like that was the appropriate time. In all actuality though, I was just chicken, and should have done it a long time before that.
So here I am at 27. Some of my extended family still doesn’t know, but I’m not close with them and it wouldn’t bother me either way if they never found out.
When I moved to Amsterdam I had to come out all over again to my coworkers. No one seemed that phased by it, except for one guy who looked a little taken back. I figure I’ll be doing this my entire life, and I’m fine with it. I am who I am, and I’ve accepted it. My sexual preferences aren’t what make me a person, but they are a part of me, and I feel the people I like and are close to deserve to know.
So, if you didn’t know I was gay, and you’re reading this, it’s probably cause I don’t really like you 😛 Or it just hasn’t come up in conversation, haha.