Guest Blogger

Being Gay Is Exhausting!

Filed By Guest Blogger | January 18, 2009 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: coming out advice, coming out of the closet, lesbian in North Carolina

Editor's Note: Guest blogger Lynn Casper is the co-founder of Be Yr Own Queero, a queer blog based out of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Thumbnail image for Lynn Casper.jpgThe other night babe useless, bizzzle and I were in the bathroom at the Soapbox hanging up flyers to promote BYOQ. While we were in there, a girl came out of the stall and asked, "What is that?" Instead of a detailed, enthusiastic explanation, I hesitated. "Oh... um... we're just trying to... createastrongergaycommunity". She didn't seem impressed and went on her way.

This is a situation that happens quite often in my life. When interacting with strangers, I am always unsure of how they will react to me being gay. So more times than not I try to avoid discussing it. Yeah. ME! of all people! I still find myself stuck in that closet.

Thumbnail image for Closet Door.jpgI was at work the other day and someone came in to look around at the space for an event they were going to have. It was past 5:00 (5:00 = clock out time!) and the guy apologized for keeping me there late. I said "Oh no, it's fine. Take your time," and he walked over to me and said, "You can e-mail your boyfriend one last time," and I just faked a smile and gave him a courtesy laugh. When I got home, I kicked myself for not correcting him by saying, "Actually, yeah... maybe I will email my GIRLfriend one last time."

No matter how old we were when we came out, it isn't something that we do just once. We are faced with new situations and new people every day where our sexual orientation is automatically assumed. Believe me, it stresses me out so much thinking about it. But why do I let it stress me so much? So what if I correct someone when they use the wrong pronoun to refer to my significant other? If they have a problem with it, well that's their problem and something they need to work on. My problem is that I can't stuff myself back in that closet anymore. Seriously, I grew up in the closet in more ways than one. I had my desk and my typewriter in my closet as a child and would spend hours and hours typing up little newsletters to pass out to my friends the next day at school. (I'm the same person basically.) I also didn't even consider telling anyone I was attracted to women in high school. Southern, conversative town = too much risk of having my life ruined at a young age by ridicule.

The world I live in is more accepting now, or at least I'd like to believe so. I can't worry about how people will react anymore. Doesn't it feel so much better when you come out to someone new and from then on it's out there in the open? Phew! Being gay is exhausting!!

Whether it's for the first time ever, or for the first time today - coming out may be [the] most important thing you will do all day. Talk about it.

The quote above is from the Human Rights Campaign's Resource Guide to Coming Out. The guide has an entire section devoted to the Coming Out Continuum. If you or someone you know is struggling with living openly, share this guide with them and talk about it. Not only will they feel relieved to know that others struggle with this daily, but it will help them to become more comfortable in having these conversations with others.

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I had the pleasure of having to come out twice, first as a transwoman, then as a lesbian. It was kind of disconcerting when I told my ex-room mate about transitioning to a woman, and his reaction was, "gosh, it is going to be strange to see you with a boyfriend now.".

Like it never occured to him that I could be a lesbian?

Though I suppose you could technically say I am gay, I actually consider myself queer, gay just doesn't cover who I am. My second choice is lesbian, and how, if pushed, I usually do introduce myself when someone makes the mistake of thinking there is a husband and family somewhere around in my life.

I just give out that wife/mother vibe I guess.

Since you are in North Carolina, being out is a hazardous position to be in unless you live in one of the few areas that isn't full of redneck crackers. being from Texas I can appreciate your situation. I live in one of the few places that is accepting of both gays and transfolk, for the most part that is. I have nightmares about coming out earlier in my life, when I wasn't living here but in one of the small towns to the south, where being called redneck was a badge of honor, and going up to Austin and kicking a few queers was a semi-pro sport.

thanks for the comment and for sharing your story! Luckily for me, the city that I live in has gotten progressively more liberal over the years I've grown up here. It would be easy for me to pick up and move to a place that is more accepting, but I feel that I can't turn my back on the Gay community that has the potential to become strong and supportive. This is why I started blogging about my experiences so that people in my city can read something that they relate to. This is why I started the group Be Yr Own Queero so that there is a supportive group of for all LGBTQ identified people to feel safe and comfortable with.

thanks again for sharing your story :)

I had the good fortune to come out while I was in hospitals and nursing homes over the last year or so I was institutionalized (just goes to show you it happens even later in life). Luckily I found a good community of queers in the institutions I had the good (bad??) fortune of having to inhabit.

So... come out! Come out! Wherever you are! Else, you'll never might know who you'll find.


great name by the way ;)

It's great that you have found a supportive queer community! and you are so right! think of all the amazing people we may have never met if we didn't come out! thanks for sharing your story!

Coming out is a life-long process, I've found.

I think that at some point for many coming out turns to being out.
My tunnel vision in this area for me has always been the fact that I don't really think about it. I have always assumed that everyone knows since I have really good gaydar/bidar and just figure that others can tell.
So I have always just been myself, correcting people when needed and just going about life. But I didn't have a really stressful closeted childhood and teenage years, I just happened to be a very private person but I had those who knew and role models.
I work a lot with people on these sorts of issues, especially youth. The process is different for everyone.

Hi Rob,

Thanks for sharing your comment. It is definitely commendable that you work with people who are having difficulties with coming out, especially with youth. The high schools in my city do not have gay/straight alliances, so I think it's important that youth have access to coming out resources. So kudas to you for making that difference in a gay youth's life :)