People “come out” for a variety of reasons.
People don’t “come out” for a variety reasons.
It’s not up to me to determine how or when… or even whether someone makes that decision.
Author's Note: I don’t support “outing,” except when the closeted person is using their power and influence to harm LGBT people. (e.g., politicians who vote for anti-gay legislation, ministers who advocate for anti-gay exclusion in the church) At that point, (in my opinion) the axiom of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan comes into play: the good of the many outweigh the needs of the one.
I can’t speak for everyone’s process, and my experience isn't a blueprint for how it must be done, merely a way to encourage.
I was probably close to embracing my sexuality during my first year of college, but I became a Christian, and got involved in an extremely Fundamental Bible study group.
Closet door shut…padlocked…and walled over!
For many years, I listened to beliefs, theologies and opinions on why I should be ashamed of my attraction. I suppressed my desires, enduring any new methodology to overcome my homosexuality…with varying degrees of success. Outwardly I was perceived as a role model, but inwardly I was self-loathing and frightened that others would see beneath the hypocrisy.
After my separation and divorce, during the pain of failure and the loneliness of loss, I was again confronted with those feelings that would not go away.
It was time to be honest.
Everything in my religious upbringing made me reluctant, but I sought God’s direction and studied the Scripture that had brought me strength and guidance for so many years. Thankfully (and surprisingly), the disapproving clouds of other people’s judgment began to dispel. I admitted that I was gay. There were no harsh pangs of inward condemnation. I felt a divine sense of peace.
As Christians, we are taught to walk in the light, not to hide our light under a bushel, to speak the truth, to live a genuine life, and to be witnesses of what God has done in us.
How could I acknowledge being gay, but live a life of dishonesty and deception by lying to my loved ones?
I had to come out!
That was many years ago, and while I regret some of the hurt it caused, I will never apologize for the decision to live truthfully, in wholeness and integrity.
A while back I came across this wonderful passage of Scripture during my personal quiet time:
“…We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don’t maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don’t twist God’s Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God.”
~ 2 Corinthians 4:2 (The Message, emphasis mine)
It prompted me to write the following “coming out” thoughts in my journal:
“I didn’t choose to be gay, but I chose to be honest.
It went against what I’d been taught as truth, but affirmed what I knew to be true.
Living in denial shamed me; embracing authenticity brought clarity.
I didn’t want to be gay, but I needed to be the person God created me to be.
Truth is powerful. Ever nudging, always reminding, never silent.
Truth accepted: I am gay.
Truth embraced…can’t be contained.
It didn’t make everyone happy, but it helped make me whole.
Some responded with condemnation. Or rejection.
A few spewed divine utterances at me, professing love for my eternal soul, though having no insight into my heart.
Repentance was the sermon preached; religious conformity the desired result.
Their judgments rang hollow, without grace.
Deep inside, where that voice—still and small—resides, the Spirit contradicted their message.
I listened to God-breathed words of acceptance and affirmation.
“You are mine.”
Comfort and confirmation.
Friends turned their back on me, but God invited me to gaze into His face.
Many pointed their finger in accusation, but The Good Shepherd holds my hand.
Some raised their fist in opposition, while my Creator embraced me with arms of devotion.
Brothers and Sisters in the Family of God labeled me “abomination,” my Everlasting Parent assured me I am “Beloved.”
I am God’s design.
No masks. No pretense. No compromise.
Thank you, God.”
I welcome your thoughts, comments...and your coming out insights.