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How did you start coming out?

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by BadGamer, May 31, 2018.

  1. BadGamer

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    So I’m trying to take steps in coming out. I’ve only told one person in my family the truth and he was supportive. I really want to reach out to the lgbtiq community in real life. I don’t know anyone else that is queer however that I’m close to and I suffer from social anxiety. I really want to join some sort of support group or something so that I can become more comfortable and maybe tell the rest of my family. It’s getting to the point that I’m really lonely and don’t get out of the house much unless it’s for work/food. I’m not married and don’t have kids so I’m kinda lucky in that respect but I know that most of my family won’t be happy about the fact that I’m gay. I’ve basically been putting off telling them for the last ten years or so and I’m 29 now. I really need a group of queer friends but I don’t know where to start. What did you guys/girls do? I’m thinking about getting back into sport (queer girls like sport right?) and maybe trying something new. So what are your thoughts/suggestions?
     
  2. greatwhale

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    Hi BadGamer,

    What has worked for me is the strategy of starting at the farther end of my circle of acquaintances. This usually involves co-workers I feel I could trust. What this does is it gives you practice with saying the words out loud with people whose emotional connection to you is limited.

    As you gain practice, start coming out to those who are a bit closer to you, and so forth and so on. Each time you do this, you gain confidence. Do this until you reach those closest to you and come out to them too!

    The best way to come out is to just say it in the first few words of the very first sentence, not meekly, but with confidence, as if it is the most matter-of-fact thing you could say. Once that is done, you can relax and possibly enjoy the start a good conversation.

    BEFORE you start any of this, you need to make a decision: when you come out, will you be doing so as if you were asking for their approval or permission, or will you be saying it as if you are taking a stand, as if you mean it, and the acceptance or approval of others does not matter?

    (Hint: the latter is the better option.)
     
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  3. OGS

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    It's interesting that I took exactly the opposite approach to Greatwhale. I told those closest to me and that I was most concerned would find out some way other than from me and then just let the chips fall where they may. Seriously, I told my parents and then I just went about my whole new life. Word got out just fine.
     
  4. Lia444

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    How about going to your local pride and seeing if any groups etc are doing a stand? Have you tried looking on meetups and fb for events near you? You could try dating apps and say you are looking for friends. But yes getting some new hobbies will help too. I’m trying to do the same, so know it’s hard. Baby steps.
     
  5. BadGamer

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    Thanks for the suggestions. To be honest I don’t think there is anyone that I can trust at work, there are plenty of people that I like well enough but I’m not really friends with anyone in particular... so that’s definitely not happening. I plan on telling my parents soon but not right now because they have their own problems to deal with. I have noticed that there are some meet ups that I have found online but I’m kinda nervous about contacting the groups...
     
  6. normalwolverine

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    I have to say, not all "queer" girls like sports...probably not even close. Although I love sports, I don't like it in the sense to get involved in a group activity that might lead to meeting other "queer" women.

    I try not to put pressure on coming out, which means it's never choreographed or pre-planned. I'm just not into that. I like it when it's relevant to a conversation or situation that's occurring. I have had people figure it out through the course of a conversation or multiple conversations, whether it's talking about having participated in some LGBT event or having read some LGBT book, or talking about a woman I was interested in.

    I understand the social anxiety and being nervous about contacting or going to an LGBT community gathering. I do think that if you can do that, you should, though. I didn't have the kinds of experiences with doing that that I wanted, but I would still advise most LGBT people to give it a shot and see what happens. I would think, based on my own anxiety, that contacting the groups would be easier to get over than actually going to the meetings. So, I'd work on getting over the anxiety around contacting them, do that and if I didn't get that good of a vibe or response (or no response at all) then I wouldn't go to a meeting.
     
  7. slowmo

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    Here's what I've begun to learn from my limited experience this year, even though there are lots of overt differences between our situations. I'm a gay man, in the US, 30 years older than you, with a 30-year marriage behind me, and with three adult children. But I too have only recently started coming out after living straight my whole life. I don't know if I would say I suffer from social anxiety, but I've always been a bit of a loner, never one that made the first move, and somewhat introverted with many people, especially at first.

    I found it easier (relatively speaking) to start by attending a couple of support-type groups for gay men at the local LGBT center. There was really no coming out per se required in that environment since no one there knew me before I walked in the door. Everyone was genuinely welcoming, which helped proved to me that I had been exaggerated my fears of those first steps.

    I also started gradually to see that perhaps some of the shyness I had always assumed was just an innate part of my being may have been partly driven by that nagging background feeling that I was never truly being me. It takes a lot of work to put on a facade. And I think that when we have trouble accepting everything about ourselves, we assume other people wont really want us. In my case, this has caused me to pull back from social engagement and making friends for nearly 60 years. It was that feeling of isolation and loneliness that has been my biggest motivation to make some changes. Don't get me wrong, I haven't become an entirely different person, but I'm slowly feeling more at ease, and I've started to develop a bit more of a "why not" attitude about new environments and new people.

    The experience and changes in me that came about from attending these groups several times then gave me the courage a few days ago to come out to the first person who only knew me as a straight guy. It was a dear older widowed friend who means a lot to me. And while she was surprised -- I've known her 30 years -- it was no problem for her, and she was amazingly supportive. That's given me even more courage. I'm working now on mustering the strength to come out to my sister. And from there, I'll work on coming out to my three adult kids. I'm still nervous (really nervous in the case of my kids), but I've gone from "never" to "maybe" to "how" to "when" in my coming out process.

    Good luck. And it's OK to give yourself permission to take the first step or two without having a full strategy in place. For me it also helped to tell myself it was OK to pause for a bit to regroup if I needed. However, the reality has been that the more I put myself out there, the easier it gradually became to want more and do more.
     
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  8. BadGamer

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    I know that not everyone likes sports and that it is a stereotype. I was kinda joking. I’ve been thinking about getting back into it to improve my health and to socialise in general. I’ve always enjoyed competitive team based sports. I used to do a lot of it when I was younger. I’ve been thinking about branching out and trying a different sport than what I’m used to. I just haven’t thought of what I should try.

    I do plan on contacting the one or two of the groups because I know it’s something that I need to do. Besides I think that the lgbt wine club would be a laugh. I just have to pick up the phone. There is a great queer bookshop that’s like an hour away that I’ve been meaning to check out for sometime. Unfortunately everything is like an hour away from me which is another thing that’s stopping me from picking up the phone. I just feel really isolated right now even though I live just outside of a major city that is easilly accessible.

    Thanks again for your support, normlwolverine I’ve decided that I will try to find a group in my area and contact them. I should have some spare time on my hands next week and maybe I’ll even checkout the queer bookshop. slomo I’m sorry to hear about your family situation. I think that would be tough. If your worried about telling your children maybe you could tell a friend (if you haven’t already) and get them to tag along for support. Hopefully your children will surprise you and be decent about it. People are generally more accepting than they used to be. Good luck.
     
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  9. quebec

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    BadGamer.....Hello and welcome to empty closets. I understand pretty much how you feel. I came out here on empty closets, but it was a year before I finally said: "I am gay", to someone face-to-face. For that first year I survived with EC as my only LGBTQ contact. It helped so much, but I so needed to have an irl person that I could talk to...hug and be hugged! What helped me so, so much was getting up the courage to find a LGBTQ qualified/gay counselor/therapist. I was fortunate to find Jacob...a great guy, a super therapist and, since he was also gay, he understood completely what I was going through. After a while meeting with him when I could drive the 300 mile round-trip to his office, we started Skyping and then Face-timing every week. That regular contact helped even more. Then about a year ago he told me of a gay men's group that he hosted every other Monday night. It's still a 300 mile round-trip, but I manage to get there about once a month. WOW! For the first time in my life I was in a room with ten other guys who were all out-gay to one degree or another. They were talking about things that were exactly what I was dealing with. It was amazing. Just knowing that I was not alone....I mean I knew that I wasn't alone, but being right there with the other men was incredible. That first night I actually broke down into tears of...happiness...relief...I don't know for sure, but it was so amazing to feel the "connection" with those guys. When three of them got up and came over and hugged me, I just cried harder. So I'm suggesting to you that you reach out to any LGBTQ groups that may be in your area...even if you have to do some traveling...it's worth it! Also, consider looking for a LGBTQ qualified/gay/lesbian counselor/therapist. Having someone to talk to, to share all those things that have been stuck inside for so long has turned my life around. It is so very worth it!! :old_smile:
    .....David :gay_pride_flag: :gay_pride_flag:
     
  10. BadGamer

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    Hi quebec it takes a lot of courage to tell anyone that your gay for the first time. I remember having to whisper it to myself just in order to get used to saying it before I told someone face to face. I think it’s interesting that you found a shrink that was gay and had all the qualifications. How did you find him? I’ve been nervous about seeking a shrink for this because I didn’t want to talk to someone who is straight. It would be helpful talking to a lesbian shrink about how to deal with family members who don’t accept gay people. I’m very nervous about telling my parents in particular. My family is somewhat conservative and believe in old school family values. I’ve been putting off telling them for like ten years now because I didn’t want to have to deal with all the tears, hurtful words and awkward conversations.
     
  11. quebec

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    BadGamer.....I searched for counselors/therapists in my area that were LGBTQ Qualified. I found five in a city a 150 miles away...it's has about 100,000 population. My town has just over 10,000 so there was no one here. Jacob isn't a psychiatrist or a psychologist, he is a LCSW, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Of the five I found, three stated that they were LGBTQ themselves and Jacob was the only guy. Of course that didn't mean that we would "click", etc., but we did and it's been incredible! Most therapists who do work with the LGBTQ Community will say so on their webpage info. Even though having to Facetime each week is not nearly as good as face-to-face, it has still made a big difference for me. Of course when I get to go to his office, it's even better! Hope that helps.
    .....David :gay_pride_flag:
     
  12. Biguy45

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    I’ve always maintained on here that I’ve never come out to anyone. That’s not strictly true. When I realized I was bi, i came out tonight the woman who worked in the local adult shop. Random as hell, I think I just wanted to tell someone and she was a stranger. I haven’t even seen her since. That’s as far as I’m going.
     
  13. Biguy45

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    I
    Wish i could edit. Came out to not came out tonight
     
  14. OGS

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    Badgamer--you might see if your insurance allows you to filter that way. My insurance allows me to search for medical professionals who specialize in dealing with the LGBT community the same way you would search for a cardiologist or a dermatologist.
     
  15. BadGamer

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    OK thanks for the tips everyone.
     
  16. r2de2baca

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    you're exactly where I was! so here is my advice. i lived in a big city so i thought the best way to experience the gay community was the bars and club scene. probably the biggest mistake i made. its toxic. it worked for me because I could be anonymous. I was still not comfortable with really "telling" anyone so going to a dark club or bar with people who would not know me or remember me because they were wasted was very appealing. in fact, i did not want to do anything gay in public in daylight because i did not want to be remembered or photographed or outted etc. I also knew that I would not have to really "connect" with anyone. my advice would be to do the opposite. connect with people. go to gay events or meetings or sports activities where you do something other than bar or club. you need a support system. you need friends. the club and bar people are users mostly and just party animals but you can make cool friends there too. i just would suggest you meet people elsewhere.
     
  17. Contented

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    My story is slightly different. After I realized I was gay I became involved with a man that has now become my bf/partner. At first I keep my homosexuality a secret or at least I tried to. Keeping that a secret while in a relationship was taxing on both of us. Frankly I was scared to admit to the world that I prefer guys after so many years pretending to be hetero and Now was involved in an intimate relationship with a gay man.
    One weekend we both were invited to a lake party at a mutual friend’s home. During the course of the day I was involved in a conversation with a woman and she asked me if I was interested in a walk on the beach with her. Without even thinking about it I said I don’t think my boyfriend would appreciate it. Of course everyone heard that including my bf. He immediate came up to me and said “I hope you realize you have just outed yourself”. Some people were surprised and some not. They had some suspicions. Either way shortly after that I came out to the rest of my friends and then family. Not sure if I consciously came out then or was just tired of pretending.
     
    #17 Contented, Jun 14, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018