Thursday, October 22, 2009

Big

This week there was a meeting of "managers" for our "region".  I met with the "regional executive" boss man.  It was a very good meeting.  I told him how important it is for me to come out in my place of business, with our "customers."  This isn't about what I want.  This is about living with honesty, integrity, and authenticity.  This is about being faithful.

He was with me all the way.  He's going to check with other "regional executives" about how they've handled such a thing as this, a "local manager" coming out.  Then we will meet again so we can "talk about how we are going to do this."  Yes, he said "we."  He's with me.  This is big news.

I am thrilled but humbled, and a little scared.  But I'll get over all of those things (well, let's hope the humility holds out).  There could be a yawn and "tell something we don't know," kind of reaction.  Or it could be a much less friendly kind of thing.  No way to know.  No way to really control  that.  Time to let go.

Have you experienced a change in folk when, even though they probably assume you are gay, change when you say the word?  Why is it that when we come out, when we name it, when we acknowledge that we're gay, then attitudes change?

What do you think?  What's been your experience?  I'd be interested to know.

14 comments:

Larry Ohio said...

I have limited experience, but what I have experience has been consistent across the handful of times I've witnessed it.

I've noticed that when folks know someone is gay, but the gay person is trying to be in the closet, they resent him. But when the gay person comes out, the resentment is replaced with respect.

jim said...

I think that's good news, Joe. I know that you really want to be out all the way and this is a big step in making it happen.

I'm happy for you.

Birdie said...

You already know that I think this is a great thing. I'm cheering you on!

Speaking as the recipient on a few occasions, I can tell you that I was honored to be trusted with the information. You are making yourself vulnerable. Those who think of others first will honor and protect you. Those who think of themselves first might need some time and perspective to see the truth, that you haven't changed at all.

Jeremiah Andrews said...

Hey Bear,
Been here, done this twice. Coming out, the actual stating of the words, is life changing. When we actually name it and claim it. It wasn't a big deal when I came out. Everybody I knew, "knew" already, it's just that they didn't tell me ...

The BIG thing that happened to me was when I was diagnosed with AIDS. I had to come out a second time... People perked up and listened, then they all walked away. There were few who stayed around after the fallout, I can name them all on one hand. Who wants to socialize with a fag with AIDS... That included family.

I think times have changed enough, "crosses fingers" that coming out today would go over better than if you had done this just 10 years ago.

The one thing we should be wary about is hearing someone say they support you now, but when the words are spoken, to see if they still stand in your corner afterwards.

Peer pressure is still an ever present thing, it takes a champion to stand with his fellows and speak the words and stand up for them. Many people say one thing and when the push comes they turn coat and join the fray.

Let us know how this goes. I'm cheering for you on the inside.

Jeremy

RG said...

I can't say that I've had people's attitude change when I actually said "I'm gay", I think maybe because I've never really been in the closet - I've never tried to hide anything. I just was - even in the military, to some degree anyway.

I wish you well and are sending good Karmic vibes your way.

Java said...

Once that word is out there, no one can pretend it isn't real. Denial is a strong force. If one doesn't actually say the word, people can stay safely locked within their cocoon of denial. The word is the key.

And it is. The key. You've said as much here. I salute you for taking the stand, and wish you all the best in your journey the rest of the way out.

Ur-spo said...

whenever we disclose more of ourself, people fold it into their perceptions of us. It is inevitable. People see you a GAY or gay as part of you, depending on their wisdom.
One of the positives is they now can't see GAY as an abstract; they know a real person who is gay - and this must change their perception for the better I believe.

Lemuel said...

I am very happy to read this post, because my own experience with "regional executives" was very much less positive. It had nothing to do with coming out. Lord only knows what they would have been like then. I only know that they could not be trusted in the little things. I was not about to trust them with the big ones.
Best wishes to you. I hope that the RE is true to his word and walks with you on this journey.

A Troll At Sea said...

Toasted One:

I think that people's attitude changes because something they sensed has been spoken--it clears the air. Another tidy [ie, timely] example of what makes us free.

Best to you and yours
T@C

manxxman said...

What a positive meeting......having followed your blog for some time now it doesn't not surprise me one bit that you are at this point in your journey.

My experience was that no one really cared.....oh the few that did were loving and supporting.....including my ex wife.....

evilganome said...

This sounds like a great step for you. I've been out my entire adult life, so it's hard to gauge what the effect is. I do know that being out from the start has allowed me to know exactly where I stand with people. It's been tough at times, but ultimately much better for me as a person.

Me said...

After coming out to him, I noticed a marked difference, whether percieved or actual, in the demeanor of the clergy for whom I work. I am who I am. A Christian who happens to be gay, created in the image of the Divine....

Neil said...

I can't imagine better news than this, about you being successful.

Michael Dodd said...

In a few instances, I think the attitude change that I saw in people after I came out was their attitude toward gay people. For the first time, they knew they knew a gay person and had to think about the issue in a different way. NOT true of everyone, but of some.

In one case, important to me, after I came out to a high school classmate -- both of us in our late 50s at the time -- , she was relieved to discover she had someone to talk to about her gay son and his struggles. It made me realize that my coming out is not always about me.