Monday, May 16, 2011

Coming Out...It's a Scary Thing

I caught a few minutes of a show on NPR radio last night about Matthew Shepard. How he was taken from a bar, brought out to a desolate area, tied up to a fence, beaten and left for dead. He was found the next day, but died a few days later from his wounds. All, because he was Gay.

I'd heard about Matthew before. And, others who have been beaten or killed because they were gay. And, every time, my heart would ache. The thought of people hurting other human beings because of this (well, for any reason) sickens me. I've always felt this way - even before I realized I was gay.

Being gay is no different to me than being a man or a woman or being black or white. It just is. It's how you're born.

You're probably thinking, but you weren't born that way? You came out in your mid-30s. Hindsight is 20/20. I can tell you a time when I was 4 years old where I knew I was gay. If I was gay at 4, I was probably born that way.

I wish people knew how hard it is to come out and to admit to the world that you're gay. (If we were all just accepted for who we were, coming out wouldn't even be an issue). There is tremendous turmoil that we deal with inside ourselves. A lot of it has to do with how we think our families or society will accept us. And, what if they don't? We aren't any different from who we've always been, but we will be viewed differently from that moment on.

We lose friends. We lose family. The hurt of this can be overwhelming. Many gays and lesbians turn to alcohol or drugs to ease the hurt and all those feelings. Why are we put down and viewed differently just because we love someone of the same sex? It wasn't even a choice for us. It just is. It's who we are. Why is there anything wrong with that?

Rejection of any sort is hard. No one likes it. And, then, when you can't help but be who you are, you're rejected. Does my loving another woman really have any impact on you and your life? Why should it be any different than the impact any man and woman have on anyone else when they are in a healthy, loving relationship?

Love is love. If we had more love, it could only make this world a better place. It's sad that people can't always openly express to society who they love. It's even more sad when people are beaten or even killed because of who they want to love. Would you do or say something about yourself knowing that that is a possibility? How scary is that? How scared would you be knowing that you could be hated, beaten or killed for being yourself?

I hope I never have to face such physical hatred with my being so vocal about who I am (I've already dealt with the emotional hurt). I'm going to continue to speak out and write about it though until everyone who wants to be out, can be out. It's a risk; but this is who I am. It's how I was born. I'm just me. And, I always will be me. No matter who I love.

Unexpectations...a bit of my story


  1. Hi Barbara, thank you for this post. A lot of my friends are hurting right now after Noxolo's murder. Knowing that people are speaking out and coming out bravely is comforting and empowering.


  2. Well said. Wouldn't it be an interesting world if a "straight" man was beat/abused because he loved a "fat" woman or some other physical characteristic that society has deemed less desirable?
    I'm impressed with your presentation and writing...keep it going.

  3. You need to put this in your book....


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