Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Starting of the Coming Out Process

I have been reading about some other folks’ process of coming out. So, although many of you have been following my coming out process, I thought I would do a recap.

I think it is important to be out and proud. Sometimes I will get a little weird about being out (especially when around people who [forgive the stereotype] appear to be “red-necks”) and the weirdness happens when I am afraid someone would want to hurt Nick or me just because we are gay. And although I may not run around telling everyone I am gay, I do wear a rainbow cross on my jacket and am looking for other ways to be out and proud.

But the whole coming out process took a somewhat twisty path.

The first person I came out to was my therapist. I came to the conclusion that I was gay on a Sunday, and told my therapist on the following Tuesday. For me, my therapist was instrumental in my coming out, even to myself. I needed to know that my therapist was not going to chastise me or call me bad because I was gay.

I guess I knew I was gay even when I started going to my therapist. (About two years before I actually told him.) I was at a weird spot of knowing I was gay but not wanting to admit it. I was thinking that if I got a good church location and really found the “right woman” that things would work. I trusted that God had a “good woman” just waiting for me; I just needed to get settled. Gosh, I really am straight, you know!

Well, through a quirk of fate, I finally decided that, yes, I was gay. I was at church camp with some kids from my congregation. We were cleaning up at the end of the week and a friend and colleague of mine asked where the broom was. I said, “In the closet.” He said, sotto voce, “That is not the only thing in the closet.”

I was really kind of pissed by the comment but did not say anything to him. But I did think, “If I am not fooling anyone, why am I trying to fool myself?” And with that, I came out to myself.

What is interesting, I talked to my friend later, and he does not remember saying anything about me being in the closet. I can trust him to be truthful, so I guess my mind must have been ready to move out of the closet.

I then talked to a friend from college, another colleague, and some former neighbors. In each case, everyone was exceedingly supportive. Every person was great, in that I am blessed!

I knew that I couldn’t stay in the ELCA and be a gay man. Especially after the national assembly and the vote to not allow gay pastors. I knew I needed to find a church that would be welcoming of me as someone who FINALLY has come to grips with my sexuality.

I went to church at an MCC church and it was there that I met Nick. He was preaching as the senior pastor was on vacation. I really did not talk too much to him on that day, but I did go out for brunch with another member of the congregation. It was great to actually be “out” and out in the community. The church was not in the city I live in so I could actually “be gay.” (Whatever that means.) It felt good to be able to talk about being gay and to be around someone who was very open with himself. (He was out for many, many years.)

That is enough for now. I will post more later.


Lemuel said...

I am very appreciative of your candor and honesty in this post. I know from reading your other posts that this whole journey has not been an easy one for you for many reasons. Yet as I read the post today, I could sense your peace at your decision and I could sense your happiness within your self.

Of course, though I do not believe for a moment that it was your intention, I myself read your story with a sense of pain. Your story, more than others' stories, parallels mine. For better or for worse I could be in your shoes. I ask myself whether I would be as happy, whether I would find the support you found, whether I would find my "Nick". I do not know the answers to those questions. And so your story can be difficult reading for me as I continue to struggle with myself - not with my self-understanding that I am gay - but with the wisdom for me and those around me of coming out.

I am deeply and sincerely happy for you! I send you my very best wishes and prayers as you and Nick build your new world together. If I may be so bold, I would seek yours for myself that I may make wise decisions not only for myself but for those around me that I hold so dear.

I look forward to reading more of your story. HUGS always!

Doug Taron said...

Thanks for sharing your story. Is this is all pretty recent, and still unfolding? I remember how scary/exhilarating that time was for me. I look forward to hearing more about the journey.

Ur-spo said...

coming out- what a twisty and unclear road that is, but you aren't alone and you have many ways to go at the pace you want.