VOICES: Coming out — there's no wrong way to do it

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, October 28th, 2020 at 1:33 PM

I never saw the big deal in coming out. It always seemed like a huge deal that was so emotional for so many people. I never planned to do it though. I wasn’t looking for that big moment when everyone suddenly accepted who I was and came at me with hugs and tears of pride for my bravery. I never felt brave; I just felt like me.

I know this isn’t a universal experience. Some people long for the day they can come out and feel that sense of relief — it’s in that moment where they’re finally able to be their true selves. I am so fortunate to have a loving family that accepts me for me, no matter what.

National Coming Out Day is Oct. 11 every year. Each year it passed and I liked all the Instagram posts and tweets of people finally feeling free, and I wondered if there was something wrong with me for not wanting that moment. 

I was always under the impression that my sexuality was my business and my partner’s business, whether they be male, female, or anything else. And if the time came when I had to introduce my family to someone who wasn’t a boy, then it would be no big deal. You don’t see people who identify as heterosexual having a big talk with their family and friends, letting them know that they’re attracted to the opposite sex. So, I never felt the need.

But this year, come Oct. 11, I was scrolling through Twitter and just decided to post. I informed all 173 of my followers — some of which are definitely bots — that I’m bisexual. The tweet got way more “Likes” than any of the other stupid stuff I post (usually, I only get likes by my best friend who has the same stupid sense of humor as I do). This tweet even got more love than my most liked tweet of all time, “Draco Malfoy deserves better,” which I think is honestly a more important message than my sexuality.

Posting that did not validate me in any way. It was not some life-changing moment I’ll remember forever. It was a simple little thing I typed out in less than 30 seconds. In fact, that was the second tweet I posted, because the first one had a typo, so I deleted and retyped it. I didn’t even really care enough about it to proofread. I did not suddenly feel more like myself. I knew who I was before the tweet was posted and I “came out,” and I know who I am now. Nothing has changed.

The reason I posted was not because I wanted to; I felt like I had to. There is so much pressure to “come out” when you’re not straight. You can find endless hours of video showing tearful coming out stories all over the internet. And I think that’s great! Discovering yourself and letting others know about these discoveries is a part of life. To some, coming out is a pivotal point in their life. But how can I come “out” if I never really felt like I was “in”?

This article feels like a coming out all over again. But I am no different after writing this than I was before. And part of it feels a little performative, just like the tweet did. Will my peers look at me differently because now they know I’m bisexual? No. Has some molecular part of me changed now that everyone knows? No.

I know I’m incredibly privileged to feel this way. My family loves me no matter what. When I told my mom, the only thing she said was, “OK, cool.” Part of me also feels like when making a huge public statement, I’m asking for attention and praise. But I don’t want that. I’m just me.

I know some people wait years to finally be themselves. They can’t tell loved ones because it may risk their safety. So, when those people are able to come out, I understand why they feel that massive sense of relief. I also understand why they want to make a big deal of it. Some people don’t even have issues with safety, or their family, and they make a huge deal out of it. And that’s fine! I know coming out can be a life altering experience for some, but it’s not for me.

Some of us out there just want to be ourselves and not have to announce it to the world. Is that wrong? 

Emily Anderson is the Voices Editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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