I’ve noticed that people tend to be all aboard the gay rights train until their kid or friend or coworker comes out to them. For whatever reason, we can theoretically accept strangers for who they are but are unwilling to tell loved ones that they’re still important to us and that we love every bit of them, even the gay bits. I can guarantee there are several sociological studies on this phenomenon, and I’d be interested in seeing WHY we do this to each other.
It’s fucked up, y’all. Sorry, but I have to say it. Also, I’m definitely not sorry. Nope.
Denying people the right to come out to you is not-so-subtly implying that you disapprove of who they really are. It means you’re scared of the truth, that you’re unwilling to let them live a happy and full life, that you’re being willfully ignorant.
People also tend to be very accepting of gays until you tell them you’re bi. At that point, they tend to act like you simply like to slut it up with both genders, or they ask you if maybe you’re just going through a phase.
Yes…I’m going through a phase that has lasted my entire life. Look, I knew I was bi before I knew that being bi was a real thing. I knew I liked both women and men when I was five years old. If five-year-old Cappy knew, then 22-year-old Cappy knows, and 99-year-old Cappy will still definitely be on that bi train screaming “choo choo” at the top of her lungs. You know, to carry on with this weird train metaphor that I started at the beginning of this post.
I don’t have a whole lot of openly bi role models. Bi people tend to be pushed to the wayside because we’re not “fully straight” but often aren’t classified as gay either, so it puts us in this weird limbo where nobody wants to accept us as part of their group. The governor of Oregon is an openly bi woman, which means a lot to me. It’s nice to see bi people doing amazing things with their lives regardless of the fact that they’re majorly discriminated against by several large groups. I remember she got criticized about being openly bi, though, because people said that wasn’t an important factor in her identity so they didn’t feel she should be open about it.
While I understand that people say these things in an attempt to be accepting (“I’m so accepting that I don’t even want to know if you’re gay or straight”), they are actually being discriminatory. Nobody says that to straight people. If we can’t be out as gay or bi or trans or whatever we really are, then we likely cannot date openly or share this big part of ourselves with friends and family. It encourages people to stay closeted, feeling like they’re living a lie and experiencing huge mental stress. Saying there’s no reason for people to come out is like saying you don’t care about them, because you would extinguish a huge part of their identity. It’s selfish and wrong to expect sexual minorities to just shut up, put their head down, and go about life as if they were straight or cis het.
Basically, the rule of thumb should be this: are people letting the straight people do it? Marriage, dating openly, having sex, talking about their sexuality…we’re letting the straight people do it, so we should let gay and bi and pan and trans and all the people do it. And for goodness sake…when someone comes out to you, don’t push your insecurities onto them. Tell them you love them. Tell them they should be open and wild and free with their gayness. And if you’re feeling uncomfortable with all of it, talk to someone! There are like…500000000 online forums and information centers for you. We want you to be comfortable, too. Just not at our expense.