Last Sunday was National Coming Out Day (NCOD) and I chose not to blog about it. After a week of thinking about it, I’ve decided I want to talk about my frustrations about sharing the gay part of myself online. My experiences are incredibly different from people in my age group. It makes it hard to identify with others, especially in the broad LGBTQIA+ community. Most of all, being gay is only a small part of who I am. Sharing that part of myself feels like I’m inflaming it as more than it is.
Every year I see NCOD come and go but I don’t think I’ve ever shared my full coming out story. It seems incredibly different from my friends and others in my age group. In short, I came out when I was 11. I struggled finding friends who I could relate to at such a young age. My family accepted me and I was fortunate to not have to deal with bullying at school. It feels like I’m bragging when I write and I feel guilty for not having the tribulation that many other gay people have to climb through.
When I started going to the GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) in my high school, the acronym I remember learning about was LGBT. It stood for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans. As time has gone on, that acronym has grown to include Questioning, Intersexed, and Aesexuals (or Allies – or Aromantics). Plus other non-heterosexual sexualities. In total, it is LGBTQIA+.
While it’s great to be inclusive, it feels difficult to write about my experiences when I’m lumped in a large group. My experiences as a gay man feel different than, for example, someone who is intersexed or asexual. When I write, I don’t want my experiences to be relayed as speaking for the entire group. I have experienced the Gay and Asexual part but that’s it. When I write about coming out, I write from the perspective of those groups.
Maybe that’s silly but I feel like I can’t talk about being gay without bringing the whole non-hetero community with me. Even talking with my lesbian friends, we have incredibly different experiences. I can write about love and acceptance, because those are major points in coming out for all sexualities, but I cannot speak on behalf of the entire group. We all share that we’re not part of the hetero-normative society but what else do we share? We all want love and acceptance, just like straight people want.
Finally, being gay is only a small part of who I am. While it is important, sometimes writing about it feels like I’m magnifying my experiences as incredibly different. I don’t want to be that character on the TV show whose 3 personality traits are funny, sarcastic, and gay. It’s only a small fraction of who I am. To make it a big deal seems to get away from the point.
That being said, I do understand the importance of NCOD. Having discussions about sexuality are important for equality across the entire group. I want to write more about this in the future but I have to think about how I want to do it. I’m not trying to exclude certain categories, I just want to be taken for me. Not for my sexuality. I’m just a dude who likes dudes. If I want to write about a man crush, I don’t want it to be a big deal. Anyways, this is a work in progress I guess. One step at a time.
BLOGtober day eighteen!