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…