I've recently discovered I'm a giant gaymo through a fortunate series of events. My problem is: I don't know how to come out, I don't even want to. I don't feel queer, I just feel like myself. I've never kissed a girl, but I just KNOW I am gay and that might not be enough for some people. I know my mother will most likely accept me, but say some ignorant crap in the beginning. I have a headache thinking about explaining my gayness to my mother. I don't feel like dealing with her state of grief over her dead straight daughter. Also I'm angry that it might not be safe being open at my university. Some of the men I know might not respond well and when men don't respond well women don't always have a happy ending. I've been yelled at because I've said no to sex with male classmates (he wanted a reason for rejecting him), what happens if they find out about my sexuality? I've dated a guy for FOUR extra months because I didn't have a good enough reason saying I didn't want to go on a fourth date. The reason was I was questioning my sexuality and needed some time alone, but that was none of his fucking business. He wanted a reason and cause I didn't have one I kept on dating him until I found another. I'm not even sure if I'm lesbian or bi. I just know I 100% want to date some women.
In the end, I know I should come out, but I don't know how. Do I give my Mom a letter? Do I make a cake? Should I start living in the closet until she asks why I'm there? Am I open at home and closeted at school?
An important note: I live with my Mom and have one more year until I can move out. So I will have to deal with the effects of coming out immediately.
Open & Unashamed Talk
Congrats on that series of fortunate events, OUT, and welcome out. (Yes, you're out—a little. You just came out to me, anonymously. Baby steps!)
You don't have to know what you are exactly before coming out. You just have to know what you're not. And since you know you "100% want to date some women," OUT, that makes you not straight. Sharing that "not straight" info is scary because people might not react the way we would like them to. There are risks to coming out and the negative consequences tend to come at us first, e.g. your parents could freak out, someone you used to date could react angrily (and make it all about them), your friends or classmates could say (or do) unkind and/or clueless things. But there are also rewards. Sometimes the rewards are immediate (people react with genuine warmth and offer support, you can finally stop worrying about someone finding out your secret), but usually the rewards take time to arrive (people who reacted negatively come around, you wind up meeting people you wouldn't have met and/or loved if you didn't come out). But you can't get to the rewards without first staring down the risks.
So if you're in a position to come out now, you should. Because rewards. But if you're not in a position to come out right now—because your mom might be a raging homophobe or you might be in physical danger at your school or you might wind up without a place to live—then you should wait a year. You know your situation better than I do, OUT, and you need to prioritize your physical safety. But if you able to come out now... I've brainstormed twenty-something* ways you could do it:
1. Write an email. Some people think email is impersonal, but this is your info to share and you can choose how to share it. And you know your mom better than the rest of us do—if mom has a habit of flying off the handle when she gets unwelcome news and then calms down in a few hours and is able to discuss it calmly, sending an email and sparing yourself her initial reaction could be the best approach.
2. Scream it in a crowded room of people you know. If it gets weird, run out of the room. Repeat as necessary.
3. Bake a cake and write "I'M GAY" or "I'M NOT STRAIGHT" on it with frosting—like this gaymo did.
4. Do it one-on-one. Plan coffee dates and dinner dates.
5. Hook up with a girl—maybe this one—and tell your friends about it. They'll ask if you're queer. Or they won't, which means they already thought you were.
6. Change your Facebook cover photo to say "I'M SO GAY" or "I'M NOT STRAIGHT & THAT'S COOL."
7. Change your orientation on Facebook. If no one says anything, screenshot your orientation and post it on Instagram. If no one says anything, try a sandwich board.
8. Start volunteering for LGBTQ+ non-profits and groups. Sign up for the Queer Studies classes. Fill your life with so many queer activities that it's preposterous anyone would ever assume you're straight.
9. Tell your friends you have something you need to share with them. Proceed to walk in and out of a closet until they get the message.
11. Watch It Gets Better videos on full volume at the dinner table.
12. Write it on a mirror in lipstick.
13. Put up posters of Jodie Foster all over your room until your mom gets the hint. If she doesn't, frame a picture of Portia De Rossi and put it in the bathroom. If that doesn't wake her up, add Ellen Page. DeGeneres. Sykes. O'Donnell. Stewart. Make an altar of lesbians until your mom finally asks what gives.
14. Share the link to this letter and just write "See #15."
15. YOUR DAUGHTER 100% WANTS TO DATE SOME WOMEN. MIGHT BE SO GAY, MIGHT BE SO LESBIAN, MIGHT BE SO BI, DEFINITELY NOT STRAIGHT.
16. Buy and wear this "Nobody Knows I'm A Lesbian" shirt.
17. Send a Snapchat selfie and write "LESBIAN" on your face. Or "GAY." Or "BI." Send a follow-up snap that explains you're serious.
18. Pick the person who you know will support you and tell them first. Then, once you've passed that initial hurdle, tell a group of people and have the first person by your side.
19. Locate the PFLAG chapter in your area. Go to a meeting and introduce yourself and open up to the moms and dads there. Then invite your mom to go to dinner and a movie with you, OUT, have a nice meal, and then take her to the PFLAG meeting instead of Beauty and the Beast.
20. I guess you could have someone else do it for you, but isn't that what #15 was?
21. Just say it. When you're alone washing dishes or brushing your hair or just laying in bed staring at the ceiling. Just say: "I'm gay." Or "I'm lesbain." Or "I'm bi." You'll find it gets easier with repetition.
A few other points:
A. Queer or straight, male or female, you do not need someone's permission to break up with them or bail on that fourth date—or that first, second, or third date. You don't need to give someone a reason. You just have to say, "I'm not interested in continuing to see you." Sharing your reasons for ending the relationship is a courtesy, not a requirement.
B. You can be out at home and not out at school or vice-versa.
C. If you're worried about men you know reacting badly to the news that you're not straight, be careful sharing it, carry mace, cut men who react badly out of your life, talk to someone at your school's LGBT center, if your school has one, or talk to a dean about your concerns and be sure to let your dean know you're prepared to go to the media and LGBT civil rights orgs if you're abused or harassed or subjected to violence.
Good luck, OUT, and welcome out!