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To be brave

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by PeonyRose, May 5, 2022.

  1. PeonyRose

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    First I'd just like to thank EC for proving such a safe place that I've gone from trembling at the thought of logging on to feeling comfortable posting in a matter of days. Just getting how I've felt for so long off my chest has done me a world of good.

    I was wondering for those of you who have known from being young that you were LGBTQIA+, but have either not come out (like me) or came out late in life, whether you wonder why it is you've never or didn't feel able to? Now I feel I can't due to being in a heterosexual marriage with children but given that I was 31 when I got married, and knew I was a lesbian from about 11, it's not as though I didn't have the opportunity beforehand.

    I have a lot LGBTQIA+ friends, many of whom I've known during their coming out process and yet I've never been brave enough. I wonder why it is they've managed to find the strength to do what I've failed to. I don't come from a religious background that would make it difficult, my family is fairly liberal, my friendship group has always supported each individual that's come out and yet I've always been too afraid.
     
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  2. Out late

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    I don’t know for sure, i came out later and the only thing I regret now was jot doing it earlier. I think I got the feeling from some offhand comments as a teenager that my mum was homophobic and think that that had a big impact on it. It lead to me knowing I was gay, but never having the courage to find a relationship at all. In the end my parents have been supportive and they love my boyfriend as well, so might have been all in my head.
     
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  3. PatrickUK

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    We can have the most accepting and loving family in the world and grow up free of toxic religion, but still we find it hard to filter out those negative messages that permeated much of society when we were growing up. It takes only a few spiteful insults in a school yard during our formative years (even if they're not directed at us) for us to retreat in shame. It seeps deep into our core and then we have the challenge of confronting it or suppressing it. For those who suppressed it by getting married, you will hear no criticism from me. I just hope, in the fullness of time, you are all able to find a way forward that honours who you really are.
     
  4. Jakebusman

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    For me Ive been married 11 years took me 8 years into our marriage to finally come out about me being Bisexual was scared cause I read stories about men coming out Bi and the wives leaving them because they were worried they would get cheated on.
     
  5. BiGemini87

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    I can't say that I knew for sure; I certainly suspected I wasn't straight, but the way I suspected it was subtle. I didn't allow myself to recognize what conclusion I was coming to, shutting it down before I could even reach it. But the signs were there, and there was a lot of shame/self-loathing/disgust involved. I didn't have a problem with people being gay, one of my best friends was openly bi--but for some reason, the idea that I wasn't straight was incomprehensible. I did have a religious upbringing until the age of 13 (going from a Catholic Elementary school to public high-school), but I don't think that on its own contributed, because in the latter years of being Catholic, it was more about going through the motions than actual belief.

    I can't say what factors have impacted you and your ability to come out earlier; only that there undoubtedly were obstacles that you might not have fully recognized for what they were. It might have been an off-colour comment someone made when you were young. It could have been any number of discussions you had with others or overheard, wherein someone voiced displeasure or disgust towards same-sex attraction.

    And even if there are no specific obstacles you can recall, there's no shame in the fact that you haven't felt able. We're not running a race against one another, and we all have to arrive at our own destinations. Sometimes we take the same paths, sometimes they intersect, and sometimes they don't--but the journey is always our own.

    I'm glad you've found EC to be helpful so far. I hope it will continue to be, and that you will find peace with whatever decisions you make going forward. :slight_smile:
     
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  6. bsg75apollo

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    Feelings of fear, responsibility, and putting others needs first for too long. I married my high school sweetheart right out of college, had, two kids, got divorced, got remarried, gained a stepchild, never thinking about myself and what I wanted. After all those years, it took a toll on my health. It was a necessity to finally deal with it.
     
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  7. PeonyRose

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    I grew up in the UK and was at secondary school during the 90's so full section 28 time. I don't recall there being any positive media representation during that period and I know my mixed comprehensive school wasn't a supportive environment and yet I have several friends from then who came out. I attempted a few times to come out at university but always jumped back in the closet almost immediately after receiving less than positive reactions. I guess I just feel as though I've been a coward where others have been true to themselves and that makes me ashamed of my behaviour and choices.
     
  8. CapnMal

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    I grew up in the late 80s and 90s, and I couldn’t even come to terms with what my desires meant, let alone come out.

    I remember being in high school before I connected the dots that my aunt’s “roommate” was more than that. Nobody ever excluded them from family events, but nobody ever said out loud what the actual nature of their relationship was either. Clearly it was something that was tolerated, but not anything to be proud of either. Looking back, it was a powerful lesson on why I shouldn’t let those thoughts into my head, I should shove them down and never let them out. No matter how much I wanted to touch my best friend.

    In retrospect, I think my curiosity and feelings for my best friend were why we grew apart in high school, and why I latched on to another group of friends, because then I wouldn’t have to confront those emotions.

    In other words, if you’re a coward, so am I. I guess we just deal with when and where we’re able to.
     
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  9. Sunchimes

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    I always knew I had attraction for women.

    The reasons I kept it to myself at first, was that in high school, in the 80s (UK) we had not a jot of information about sexuality or gender. We didn’t even have internet. There was nowhere to get information from.

    Therefore, everyone in my school was straight and nobody spoke about any LGBT issues.

    We had sex education and the teacher went through the lesson and at the end he said “Oh and then we have the homosexuals but the less said about those the better”. I felt dreadful.

    General bullying occurred in the school yard towards anyone who may be deemed to be gay or different. No wonder nobody came out.

    Secondly, at that time it was the done thing to meet someone, marry and have kids. This is what all my friends were doing. I literally shut my mind off regarding my gender and sexuality. I wanted to be “normal” I absolutely loved my boyfriend, I wanted to get married and I wanted a house and family. I made myself as feminine as I could and I loved my life. All except for that nagging feeling that never went away. The feeling that I was far more masculine in my mind than I was feminine and also I was attracted to women! I bonded very strongly, emotionally with women and I’d fall in love. It just never went away and over time it became stronger and stronger. I tried to keep it quiet but in the end, it became impossible.

    Even with all the struggles though, I wouldn’t change a thing about my life. We can all only travel down one path. If I’d have gone down another path when I was younger I’d have never shared the great times with the beautiful family I have.
     
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  10. chicodeoro

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    I've known since I was 6. That's when the idea of wanting to be a girl first took hold of me. This was in mid 70s Britain. I didn't know that transexuals (as we were known back then) existed. All I knew from what I saw in culture and TV at the time was that men who dressed up as women were a source of hilarity. I knew I could never tell anyone about what I felt deep down inside - it was a source of deep shame and inner embarrassment.

    So I tried to ignore it. I mean, who would want to be one of those people? To be a trans girl in 1980s and 90s Britain would have been so incredibly challenging and I didn't want to be a freak, a weirdo, a pervert. Like any teenager, I wanted to be normal! I wanted to be loved and so I thought if I was able to have a happy fulfilling heterosexual relationship (like all the normal people) I would be able to forget about all this nonsense.

    So that's why I didn't come out until much later. Indeed, I wouldn't have come out at all - I would still be maintaining this bizarre doublethink: still thinking I'm a straight male, whilst knowing I'm transgender - had it not been for the events of 2020. I lost my partner suddenly and then weeks later lockdown started. Overnight, my life utterly fell apart and I was forced to confront that deep dark truthful mirror and recognise what I truly am.

    So it really irritates me when mainstream conservatives roll their eyes about how the youth are 'obsessed' about gender identity. It's obvious, isn't it? We're at the forefront of what future generations will see as a fundamental shift in how humanity regards gender and sexuality. Just as we're shocked now at how the Victorians punished kids who were left handed, our future ancestors will be gobsmacked at how difficult it was to be LGTBQ in the 20th and early 21st Century.

    In fact, I confidently predict that the whole idea of coming out will be regarding as quaint by the second half of this century. And so it should be.

    Beth
     
  11. Sunchimes

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    Hello Beth,

    I’m sorry to read about the sudden loss of your partner. What a tough time that must have been, especially since lockdown followed.
     
  12. chicodeoro

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    Thanks Sunchimes. My situation is so bittersweet. In some ways I'm so much happier because I feel I'm finally me and I don't have to pretend to be male any more. And yet I would give anything, anything to have her back.
     
  13. Rayland

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    When I was a child, then none of this was ever talked about. Not even mentioned in our sex education lesssons. At first we had a lecture and then we had lessons where we would go boys and girls separetly into this sex education place and basically all I remember is how to put on a condom and that they gave out condoms and boys made them into water bombs and threw them at each other. At least they talked about safe sex, but that's about it.

    In later in life I became more aware of everything. I knew there were homosexuals and people who change their gender and that it's not seen as a good thing. Now it's talked about way more, then it was back when I was a kid.

    Maybe if it would have been more accepted I would have started exploring this earlier. I always felt different, but never was able to put it all into words. I do feel like I missed out on the opportunity to explore it all earlier.

    I do feel shame for liking multiple of genders and quilt in front of my parents who love their daughter.

    I think this is where all of my fear comes from. It's what society has implemented on us.
     
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  14. Sunchimes

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    I totally understand Beth

    You must have loved her very much.
     
  15. Sunchimes

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    Absolutely true! Society has created the notion that homosexuality is wrong, being transgender is wrong and deviating from the so called norm makes us feel ashamed because of it. We fear people’s reactions because not everyone is tolerant and even in 2022 we have the bigotry and narrow mindedness.
     
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  16. silverhalo

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    I think there are many many complex reasons as people above have said. You dont have to have had unsupportive parents or religious upbringings to struggle. It doesn't necessarily mean you are less brave. Some people more naturally want to fit in with society or have kids, or find a person of the opposite sex who just seems so nice that the thought of marrying them somehow doesn't seem like such a terrible idea even though we may know deep down that it isn't what we truly desire.
     
  17. dirtyshirt84

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    I relate to this, I think section 28 had a negative impact on me. I think it’s so different now with so much media representation of LGBTQ that I think younger people find it hard to understand why we struggled so much. The younger generation is accepting by default, which is great.

    I think I internalised the message from
    section 28 as well as comments from friends and my Mum. I think when you do this over a period of time in will take some time to undo. You sound like me in that you were accepting of who you were within yourself but being open with other people was a struggle. I did have a relationship with a woman when I was at University but still found it difficult to be open about it.

    I think personality probably comes into it a bit as well. Some people are able to embrace being different more easily while others will naturally be more inclined to want to fit in.
     
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  18. PeonyRose

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    I think you're right about personality. I'm someone who will put up with pretty much anything and not complain or stand up for myself. I absolutely hate conflict of any kind. Standing out is certainly something I avoid in every sense, even down to how I dress and wear my hair. I'm definitely a background person.
     
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  19. dirtyshirt84

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    I wonder if this might change for you after coming on this site and maybe starting to embrace your sexuality a bit more. I know it has for me, I care a lot less what people think now.
     
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  20. morten

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    I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Like you, I didn't grow up religious and my parents and friends are all very progressive, so I regret not coming out earlier.

    I've always known I was queer. In some ways, I think the world around me has always just been waiting for me to come out. I just never did. Or at least not until recently.
    During my high school years, I speculated so much on coming out and really wanted to. I just didn't know what to come out as. Gay didn't feel right, and it's taken me many, many years to realize/accept that I'm bisexual.

    Then in college, I met my now-wife early in my 20s, and that made me feel like it wasn't important to figure out my sexuality/come out (which I realize now wasn't the right thing for me to do).

    I am trying not to self-criticize or regretting not coming out earlier. I guess I just needed longer to feel comfortable in my own skin.
     
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