Coming out is both a political and personal issue facing our community. It’s political because the more people who are out about their sexuality, the harder it is to stereotype and discriminate against gay people. It’s a personal issue because each has to live the consequences of their sexuality being known by the people around them. I know that being out has been one of the best experiences for me. There was a time when I was very uncomfortable telling people that I was gay. I was lucky that I was never conflicted about my sexuality because it would have complicated matters even more. I knew I was gay from a very young age, and while I didn’t have a name for it until my teenage years, I didn’t have to question it like so many people do. Some of us even go as far as believing that they had some sort of choice in the matter. I suppose that’s their experience and they have a right to it, but all the evidence from the experiences recorded in sociological research and medical documentation suggests that sexuality is assigned at birth, or a very early age, and is not chosen. And while sexuality is a huge part of who we are, it’s not the only part that matters. I feel like a lot of people choose to stay in the closet because they don’t want that aspect of themselves overshadowing their other qualities. I understand that inclination, but I want to propose a positive argument for why it’s important to take that risk because the benefits far outweigh the possible negative consequences.
I’m proud of the articles that I’ve published in M3. Most of them are general opinion pieces about culture and relationships, some deal with sexuality, but all of them are authentic. We write about what is important to us in our lives. They happen to be written by gay black men of a certain size, but they are not written just for us. We’re just talking about life from our perspective and in the context of a world that will often marginalize and separate us, but the truth of the matter is we share so many common experiences that we can’t help but have a lot of crossover with all the kinds of topics you read in any men’s interest magazine. The fact is if I wanted to reach a larger audience I could easily leave out discussions about gay culture and sexuality, but in the process I would lose something far more important. Authenticity is the essence of good writing. It’s also the key to living your best life possible. It shouldn’t be underestimated how damaging being in the closet can be toward living an inauthentic life.
I love being a gay man. I’m out and I’m proud to be a part of this community, but it’s not the only community of which I’m a member. I think I have just as much right to talk about my weight issues as any straight guy, but many gay men remain in the closet because they believe that if they are out they would be pigeonholed into being the gay guy who talks about weight loss. Being closeted would also deny any role my sexuality may play in how I approach issues. I'll discuss how gay men are much more body conscious because of the male gaze and the mechanism of male desire, but it shouldn’t be a hinderance to me writing clearly about the subject. In fact, I would say it enhances my ability to write and gives me even more angles to approach my subject matters. I used to write extensively about politics, but I would never approach the issue of gay marriage comfortably or with the level of insight I now have. I felt awkward being dishonest about my sexuality and so I avoided gay subject altogether. There was a serious gap in the way that I saw the issues because of the way I interacted with people as a closeted gay man. Now that I live with greater regard for telling the truth I'm also a better writer.
Giving Them A Weapon
There’s something liberating about not having to self police your thoughts and actions and letting things fly free. I can tell things about myself that I could never do as a closeted man simply because I feared it could be used against me. As an out and proud gay men, I’ve given the haters all the ammunition they need to cut me down and I’m still standing. I’m giving them this weapon because the fear of it being used is far more damaging than the impact of it being used. Overcoming this fear is almost like having a superpower. Once I tell them that I like to suck dick, and I’m proud of it, what do I have left to be embarrassed about? Am I going to feel bad about liking The Hobbit and Magic The Gathering? What could be more unpopular than a guy having an aversion to pussy? Freedom is not being overly concerned about the good opinions of other people. I’m human, and I still care what other people think, but I don’t care so much that I have to think about it all the time. Being in the closet meant being in a constant state of concern. Once that weapon was proven to be powerless against me, I live with more confidence.
Dating someone in the closet
Even now, I must admit I feel a little uneasy talking about my sexuality in mixed company. It’s not that I’m ashamed of being gay; it’s just new territory for me. The more I do it, the more comfortable it gets. Still, I don’t go to a coffee shop and say “hey, I’m a gay man who would like some coffee please,” I just order coffee. I assume that they assume I’m straight, but I’m not invested in whether or not they think so.
It was so important that he kept his sexuality a secret that years later he was convicted of killing someone who outed him. During the time I knew him I had no problem keeping his secret since I wasn’t out. I never imagined that he was troubled enough to kill someone to keep his secret. I felt a little pride when he said to me that he felt safe when he was with me and that he could trust me cause I wasn’t about being messy. And as much as I would never do that sort of thing today I found our secrecy exciting and sexy. But I wouldn't call what we did dating. I didn’t hold any illusions of us ever being more than sex partners, occasionally I fooled myself into believing we might be friends, but those guys who only day men on the DL must have an experience much different than mine because I couldn't begin to call what we had a relationship. We saw each other for years before I knew his real name. So when I read in the M3 Hot Topic thread that there were people who wouldn’t date someone who is out I took it to mean they mean discreet rather than DL. The DL men I’ve known haven’t had much to offer in terms of an actual relationship, and yet what they had wasn’t exactly worthless either.
The 24/7 Gay
In the end, I think keeping a secret as big as who you’re in love with is giving your power away. Anyone who finds out about it will have the power to control you. I say to those closeted men that are afraid to come out that your fear is worse than the reality, but the reality isn’t exactly roses and butterflies either. Your fear of being outed is controlling you, making you lie to people you love, people who might have closer relationships with you if you were to give them a chance. Because you fear what some may think or say about your private life, you close yourself off from people who would accept and love you for who you are. I don’t like the idea of giving someone that much power over me. I’d rather keep what little control I have and reap the rewards of living an authentic life in the process.
Male Media Mind