Coming Out: My Friend’s Story
By Guest Blogger Katie E
Meeting certain people comes as a surprise, especially when you get along with them so well even after only knowing that person for a few months. A friend and colleague of mine, Richie, met me back in July when he was training for a new position at our job. It was strange meeting someone who was so personable and outgoing, especially as we first began speaking. We spoke briefly, and I got the impression that there was something more to him – something I wanted to know more about.
We sat down one day, discussing our daily lives. He admitted to me that he was excited for this upcoming October 11, since it was National Coming Out Day. Continuing, he explained to me that he was a homosexual man that enjoyed his sexuality and felt as though it made him stronger. Seeing the enthusiasm on his face, I wanted to know more about his sexuality.
I had several gay friends in the past. Most of them never really wanted to share their coming out experience and those who did, found less than comfort from close friends and family with their coming our experience. This was one of those rare moments when I met a gay person who, quite honestly, seemed to have had a decent coming out – or so it seemed.
So I asked him about the experience of coming out. After all, how did his parents handle him coming out?
So many questions flooded my mind and I instantly became intrigued as he began telling me.
Richie explained to me that, since an early age, he had always had slight feminine tendencies. He was more inclined to talk about feelings and sympathize with people than the normal little boy. Even more, he enjoyed playing with toys of all shapes and sizes, including Barbie dolls. We had a moment of laughter as he told me about how angry he was when he was 3 or 4 and his Barbie doll's head got stuck in the shower drain and, eventually, her head just popped off.
He continued, and said that he just always knew he was gay. Many people assumed he was, especially after moving to South Carolina in the 7th grade. However, it was something he had not been ready to disclose just yet, so he denied all accusations. He told me that the bullying had sometimes been really difficult not because of what the people were saying, but because he felt sad inside since, no one really knew his or her idle teasing was the reality of the matter. After reaching high school, he felt as though he was only giving himself fraud advice about keeping it a secret. Hiding it from the world was not going to make it disappear or make the reality any different. He was gay. There was nothing else to it.
When he was 16 and in the 11th grade, he explained that, he discretely came out. He changed his status on Myspace from "straight" to "bisexual" as a way of transitioning. This happened days before the Christmas holiday had ended. When he returned to school, he gathered his closest friends and informed them of his sexual orientation.
His friends hugged him and gave him their full devotion. They were going to stick by his side, regardless of his sexual orientation. In only a short few days thereafter, people began to notice his change in status on Myspace and word spread quickly. Everyone in his school knew before February even began.
He told me it was enlightening because all of the bullying just stopped. People knew that their jokes were no longer offensive and simply just ignorant. He had no problem-ignoring people who would occasionally call him "gay" as though it was an insult.
He later came out to his mother, who took it better than he had expected.
"She cried," he said. She was not devastated by the news, she was just shocked. Although all the telltale signs were there, she ignored them. She had expected him to go on to marry a woman. However, she told him she was going to accept him as he was – as a gay man.
He later came out to his father, which came sooner than he had anticipated. Opposed to him going to his father, his father came to him and asked. He answered honestly and let his father know that he was a proud homosexual. He had half-expected his father to have a negative connotation or outlook on it, but he said, of everyone, his father was the most supportive and accepting.
It was such a pleasurable experience to hear that he had not gone through adversary while coming out, as so many gay men do. He had a strong support team about it and it seems as though his family is fully accepting of his choices and his friends are equally as supportive to date. Even five years later, they still fully support his choices.