Sunday, January 29, 2012

That coming out process... It just keeps going...

The church falling apart provided space for me to come out to myself. Almost in the same breath the two revelations came back to back. “The church is not true.” Half a second later, “I think I’m gay.” It was amazing how quickly one followed the other though really they are two separate and two big things. Though, from this blog you would not always know it, but I did not leave the church over homosexuality. I left over truth issues. My outrage at how LGBT people are treated and what they are taught to believe about themselves came second only after I had already left the church.

Over the last 2 1/2 - 3 years I have worked through the issues of dropping belief and coming out of the closet simultaneously. I have said it before, but coming out of the closet is NOT an event. Coming out of the closet is a process. It is a process that I don’t think I have spent enough time on.To be brutally honest with myself the faith and belief issues have always come first. 

Yesterday, my overreaction to the Cynthia Nixon quote shows me that I am still in the middle of this whole coming out process. As Jen put it in the comments of yesterday’s post that reaction jabbed at a place that still needs healing.

If I were as far along in the coming out process as I thought I was I would not have reacted to that quote in that way. The more that I interact with my various LGBT acquaintances and friends the more that I realize we all seem to struggle on one level or another with internalized homophobia, and fears of rejection. The lack of role-models and life-models is huge.

The girl I'm dating (needs a fake blog name at some point) recently took her new roommate out to some of the clubs. He is so much like many of us in the MoHo community. He is approaching 30 and is standing at the closet door, cracking it open just a little bit, still not out but gathering the courage to take those first steps. He described to me last night his reactions to walking into one of the flashier local gay bars in the area. He said it was an important moment because as soon as he walked in and saw this enormous multi-story club packed with people he realized for the first time that he was not all alone... I almost started crying, and refrained from giving him a huge hug. Listening to him talk though and the things that he said, I could see the internalized homophobia that I mentioned above. He will be fine, we all go through those early stages, but I had never seen it so up-close before. 

One of the first things he asked me upon meeting me was if he looked gay... No he doesn't and he liked that answer. I remember those days, but I have swung the other way now. Rather than fearing that I look gay I kinda get mad when people assume I'm straight... I read this article about femme invisibility and I have NEVER considered myself to be femme but at the same time I don’t exactly look butch either. I find that how we look tends to be a huge part of working through the coming out process. 

So many issues I would never have imagined in those initial moments of first uttering the words to myself, "I am gay." Yesterday, the reaction to that comment, talking to the girl I'm dating, and talking to her roommate were really good things. I realized that I need to really spend some time thinking about why I soooo seem to want my homosexuality to NOT be a choice... Why is that so threatening to think I may have chosen this at some point? I would not "choose" anything else because as Alan said in the comments of my last post, "I can't help myself but be gay, because it's so cool."

I have decided I’m not allowed to read any more books on churchy/atheist/belief things until I have read at least three books on queer theory and started to really think about those things a little bit more.

This was kind of a rambly, stream of consciousness post… Sorry, no tidy conclusion this time… 

10 comments:

  1. I think the idea if choice and it feeling better that it is innate not a choice is all still part of the stigma game. It feels better if t wast a choice because people might blame you less? Or if it's a choice you could in theory choose not tone andthen all is better and you are fixed? I hope you can get to anpoint where you just are.

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    1. I don't want to change anything about my current life. I don't think it was really about any of the points you raise...

      "I hope you get to a point where you just are."
      I'm not sure anyone ever reaches that point. I think we are all growing and changing, learning and questioning all the time... We are all always changing and inventing ourselves. I wouldn't want that process to stop.

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  2. Each time I read a post like this I am left thinking what a talented writer you are, Kiley. And I am left with gratitude to you for sharing such a personal journey. You have opened my eyes, my friend, to struggles and a journey that I have taken for granted. And in that, you have helped to open my heart. I thank you for that and wish you so much peace and joy and hope and love on your journey.
    I hope you write a book of your own someday. <3

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    1. Thank you Steph. I am truly touched. I'm glad that someone has benefited from what I've written!

      I have thought about writing a book. I tried during NaNoWriMo, but it didn't come together... I'm not giving up though. I just have not found the right approach yet.

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  3. Love it. You are you. I really hope you are proud of yourself. You've come a long way, Kiley. And you're still going [if that makes sense]. That is just awesome.

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    1. Thank you Lady! One day at a time!

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  4. I love what Stephanie wrote. Can I just say "ditto"?

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  5. We've been taught our whole lives that our sexual preferences are really a choice. If I were a lesbian, and I heard one more time the idea that my sexual identity is a choice, after all the shit I've been through, and the pain of being different, and the shame I felt in the past, I would probably scream and say "fuck you lady!" as well.

    Personally, I think its healthy to let it all out, and it shows that you are making progress in your healing. At least your anger is directed at the person causing the pain by being an ass instead of being aimed at yourself because of your feelings of shame or guilt or insecurity.

    The more we discuss these things, the more I realize that getting over the indoctrination may take a life time. I still have mormon defaults that are very hard to ignore. Subconscious thoughts and default reactions. At least you've reached the point where your default is now defensive instead of submissive! :D

    Love you girl!

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    1. That is true. We have been taught our whole lives that it was a sinful choice we made at some point... How many times did I try to unmake that choice, or identify when the choice was made in the first place.

      You did point a big shift in thinking over the years... Shame and guilt just aren't there. Maybe still a little insecure, but that's ok.

      Yeah - definitely defensive, not submissive.

      I love you too!!! Looking forward to meeting up this summer if possible!

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