Readers, it is with my first words that I must apologize: This Hump will not be on the seduction strategies of women in I.V. as was promised last week. Instead, I have been compelled by a number of
sources, internal and external, to break my personal vow for this quarter and write on the subject of gay people.
As very few people might be aware, tomorrow is National Coming Out Day, and so I will write today of my own personal experiences coming out and give you my very — and I wish to establish this right now — subjective opinion on the matter of becoming openly gay at UCSB.
In my case, the coming out process happened over a course of years — my dad found out last spring, a few days after I published my first article, whereas my mother learned of it when I was still a senior in high school. My best female friend knew before I did, and my best male friend found out over a game of Halo when I was in 11th grade. So the point is that coming out isn’t always — or even usually — something that happens in a day.
Most often it’s a matter of years, and for many people it involves a system of picking and choosing to whom they should come out. (Believe it or not, that whole flamboyance thing can usually be flicked on and off like some boa-wearing desk lamp.) But now, to the “whys” of coming out.
Frankly speaking, I haven’t exactly reaped delicious fruits of societal acceptance by being out of the closet. Many of the openly gay groups on campus actually come across quite alienating to me. Rather, they appeal to some very specific types of gays while other similarly “out” people such as myself face almost complete rejection from any closet case who knows they aren’t closeted — the liability is too much to be worth it. So for people who don’t feel an overwhelming attraction to the focal points of many gay events (the flamboyant pride, drag shows, etc.), being out doesn’t necessarily mean an avalanche of new, easily acquired fellow gay friends. But this is not to say I’m completely alone.
I still have my armada of straight friends, men and women, and it is not as though all gays are somewhere embedded in the clubs on campus — I have found several whom I maintain friendships with. But what I primarily got from this whole open and proud thing is exactly that: pride. I can’t rightfully judge those who stay in the closet for good reasons; many might risk hurting familial relationships or security if they came out without any discretion.
But the theory is that if someone asks, I tell the truth. I just don’t advertise the fact (other than the whole thing where I, you know, publish it in newspapers). And I take pride in that I tell the truth. It makes me feel good knowing I’m owning up to who I am and not hiding from myself or others. I’ve never been one to back down from a fight, so if some asshole has a problem with the fact I’m gay, I will more than happily engage them.
This, in my opinion, is the true point of coming out: It’s a matter of pride. It’s a matter of saying “no” to a society that denies you basic rights, that would treat you as less of a man or some aberration of a woman, or where so many believe you should not speak freely as you bleed for your freedom (don’t let it be said Obama has accomplished nothing). Looking someone in the eye and telling them “Yes, I’m a fag” is my small way of contributing to correcting an injustice.
I was given a unique ability to help humanity by owning who I am and increasing a statistic that tells people that gays are here to stay, and we won’t lie because you’re afraid your children will contract a crippling case of homo.
So to conclude: Do I personally gain much from being openly gay? No, not really. My interest in the events and culture offered by the gay groups on campus is limited, and I don’t acquire a lot from having the credentials to get in. What I get are the weird looks, the boys telling me they “are afraid gay guys are into them,” and the mutters when I kiss someone I care about in public. But I also get to stare those people down and say “Fuck you” with pride.
Anonymous has his snow-goggles on, braced for the avalanche of new fellow gay friends that will surely result from this article.
Views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB. Opinions are submitted primarily by students.