This is the last piece on our coming out special. A lot has been said already by Adrian, David, Farid and Chrissie. They have made good points about how coming out should be done on your own terms, but that it is also an empowering act that shows how confident you are about yourself.
When I came out, I was frantically in love with a boy.
I didn’t care about other people., I didn’t care if my mother and stepdad and father liked it or not, or if people at school were OK with it. In fact, expecting backwardness from both my mom and dad, I would later on give them an ultimatum: accept it or go to hell. On that note dear reader, beware: knowing my parents, I calculated that my being morally and logically right and them loving me as their son would force them to accept my non-mainstream taste for men. In due time, they both did, but you need to make that calculation for yourself too.
The thing that devastated me, and that even now five years later is still very hard for me to write about, is that I was madly in love with my unsuspecting best friend, and that at the time, my romanticism and my imagination had made him and the prospect of us my most important priority and the purpose of my life. Have you ever watched an Almodóvar movie with one of his stubbornly and obsessively in-love characters? They could have been tailored after me.
Of course, things got out of control because, as a closeted teen, I had no role models to follow except perhaps for that of Tom Ripley, which is definitely not the most ideal. I had no notion about what openly gay people of my circumstances were like. There were two gay kids in my small international school but they were not in my class and they were single so I didn’t have any real knowledge about what a gay couple could be like, just my over-developed imagination.
Whatever the reason may have been, the longer I kept quiet about my feelings, the higher the stakes got, and the longer my parents could afford to dream about me living the straight burgeois dream.
So there we were, one afternoon after school. We used to bike home together and then split up at a crossroads near our homes. Often we would stop there and talk for a while. One afternoon in May, I decided that I had had it with fantasizing in secret about him and me, and that I was going to tell him.
“Hmmm, there’s something I want to tell you. You need to promise you won’t tell anyone else though. OK?” I said, sitting on my bike and leaning with my hand on a road sign for support.
“I’m gay. And not only that: I like you, I’m crazy in love with you.” (I said it with more words but I’ll spare them for space and time constraints.)
I’d said it for the first time. I had put it out there.
In the end, nobody can convince you that being gay is wrong. At the same time, you can’t force people to love you.