My mother's advice in a recent conversation was, "You never know. It just takes one--some special girl could come along and..." I said, "What would you say if the tables were turned and your mother said, 'Just wait for that special girl who will come along and magically turn you gay'?" I also reminded her that plenty of gay Mormons have done just that--waited for 'that special girl', sincerely fell in love with her, and married her in the Temple...only to have the supressed feelings explode a few years later. (As Stephen Covey said, "Unexpressed feelings come forth later in uglier ways.")
Then she said, "Just be open. At your age, you're searching for an identity--I know, I remember. You're young, and things change. People change." I am willing to 'be open', but I also know that there comes a point when you have to face reality and deal with the facts. The sooner the better, I tend to think. I realize that many adolescents who think they are gay are merely experimenting--physically or mentally--but I have looked inward and realized that I really am gay and really will, in all likelihood, remain that way. It took a long time to face the fact, but when I finally did, I felt an increased measure of clarity. And, I mentioned, this is not an exercize in identity-seeking. The fact of the matter is, I'm a pretty conservative guy who identifies much more readily with an equally conservative church than a community with a reputation for being a bit wild (the LGBT community at large, not the MoHo sub-group). And as far as culture, I'm more comfortable with the religious culture I grew up in and love than the rather, by definition, sexualized world of homosexuality (what many contemptuously--and erroneously--term "the lifestyle").
After hearing this, she said, "Well, what do you want to do? Make an announcement in the six o'clock news?" Her advice was that my sexuality really isn't other people's business, and I don't need to make it their business. And to a point, I quite agree: I don't have to sit my friends down and tell them I was born out of wedlock. Nor do I need to stand up at a family reunion and announce that I hate lettuce. So it's not like I need to issue a press release to come out as gay.
...And it was then that I read a second applicable proverb in the book, a Huron saying that goes, "Let your nature be known and proclaimed." This does sound like sound advice: if I'm not ashamed of who and what I am, there's nothing to hide. On the other hand, I don't climb up on the roof and shout, "I'M A CYCLOTHYMIC!", even though that would be "let[ing my] nature be known and proclaimed". So I'm curious--Do you agree with this quote? Is it better to let people know you're gay, or simply let them worry about it if they must (even if it means they sit around and wonder until they finally ask you upfront)?
Put another way: I think being out is not the act of announcing your sexuality but rather a state of mind, one in which you don't live with in fear of people "finding out". So, if you are in this state of mind, and you are willing to be honest and open with people, do you...
- Tell your associates and end the mystery once and for all: "There's something I need to talk to you about..."
- Be yourself, and let others think what they want of you. If they do ask you, be honest with them, but don't make a federal case out of it: "Q: Are you gay? A: Yeah, so what?" (that was how it went for Rep. Barney Frank, anyway).
*Zona, Guy. The Soul Would Have No Rainbow If the Eyes Had No Tears and Other Native American Proverbs. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994.