Why Coming Out Still Matters

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I was practically quivering at the table over a plate of fried catfish, candied yams, and macaroni and cheese on 125th street in Harlem. Comfort food for an uncomfortable situation. For the past two months I had been having the time of my life being as gay as I wanted to be.

Finally.

However, I was having a gay old time with people I didn’t normally hang with. I purposely avoided my friends at Howard also in New York that summer, not sure of how I wanted to move forward with my accepted truth. Once I realized that there was no sense in ducking it anymore, I asked one my closet friends from school to dinner to say the words, “I’m gay” out loud. My Speedy Gonzales style of speech was noticeably slower than usual, but ultimately, it came out.

The response from my friend was priceless: “Mike, I knew that. My mom is a psychologist.”

Well, damn.

I heard a couple of responses like this in the coming weeks and months. One friend said, “Boy, I been knew that when I met you. We could’ve went to the club together all summer!” Another: “Mike, I had a crush on you until you opened your mouth.”

There were plenty of folks in my life who were genuinely surprised, though those who yielded the fuck your obviousness right now retort stick out to me whenever it’s “coming out” story time. Many gays can lay a similar claim, though regardless of how delusional some of us can be in people not already assuming our sexual orientations, sometimes it’s best to let people have their moment. No matter what one might hypothesize about someone, ultimately confirmation usually comes from that person.

It’s a point largely missed in the wake of the more celebrities opting to disclose their sexuality albeit more modestly. What troubles me is that there’s a perception that said modesty gives reason to downplay the magnitude of the disclosure. The most recent example of this is Anderson Cooper, who made news by declaring that he is a gay in an email to Daily Beast columnist Andrew Sullivan.

Read more here.

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