Since I finally came out to myself, accepting that I am, in fact, gay, there is always a question of to whom one should come out. Of course, my (now ex-)wife was a first. I came out to my boss (the regional executive). I told my brothers (who were not amused), and I have told my children.
Why come out at work? Is it anyone's business? No, but it's my soul that can't stand the feeling of hiding.
Brent over at A Journey by myself put it very well in a recent post:
Today I got to thinking about how when I'm out with straight friends that don't know I'm gay or gay friends that don't know I'm married, I tend to be reserved. But the few times I've been out with people that know my situation, how comfortable I feel. . . . . I guess the lesson here, is that hiding a secret like this plays havoc on your soul.
As I've said before, about not coming out, it was slow-motion suicide of the soul. I mean no judgment on anyone else or his/her situation. I can and do speak for myself, alone. I just couldn't handle it.
With my job: I am in a strange kind of profession that involves who I am as much as any particular skills or task that I may perform. I cannot relate well to folk unless I am who I am. Other jobs, professions, etc., are different. Maybe it's not a big deal. Each must judge and decide for himself or herself.
Here is a quote from the book Disclosures: Conversations Gay and Spiritual by Michael Ford (2004, Cowley Publications). The author is quoting psychiatrist W.G. Sengers. The "first level of resistance" is when we deny those gay feelings within oursleves:
The second level of resistance emerges in contexts where the homosexual understands his feelings but is tortured by the fear that anyone else should detect them. As a result, he experiences social isolation, even when he is in the company of others. He uses up energy in constantly pretending he is "normal." he never feels relaxed enough to express his true feelings. This can lead to obsessive tendencies. He becomes so preoccupied with the fear of being recognized as gay that his sexual feelings are constantly in his mind, haunting him day and night. They force him to sexualize his total existence. Every situation becomes filled with danger as he remains in a constant state of vigilance to prevent anyone from discovering the truth. His sexual life, therefore, stands little chance of forming a unity with the rest of his personality. (pp 30-31)I know this is probably more than you wanted to hear. And, there is more great stuff in this book I'l love to mention. But my typing ain't that great.
Sexuality (gay or straight) is something that is an essential part of our being. It is something woven throughout the texture, the fabric of our lives. To try and hard part of that fabric means that, in some sense, we hide the whole thing. I am weary of hiding. I desire unity with myself, authenticity, honesty, wholeness.
But there is more. Claiming this part of me, acknowledging it, accepting it, embracing it, (or trying to do all those things) gives me opportunity to acknowledge and embrace my "tribe." All of the LGBTQ folk out there are a chosen family to me. I haven't been out long enough to move into a "post-gay" period.
I know some who are "over it." And I think I understand why, and what that means. But I am such a newbie, I want to relish in this newness. Having spent so many years in isolation, I am embracing this new family. i want to come out for "all of us." The more the homophobe world realizes we are everywhere, in every profession, in all walks of life, of every age, the more they will have opportunity to understand and accept us. Some will. Some will not. But I've got to try. I think we all should.
Do I have a plan if it all falls apart? If I lose my job, my income, etc., what will I do? Should I wait and think about coming out when it won't "hurt" anyone? Well, that is an idea . . . . but I'd be dead by then.
I want to come out consciously with my place of business. If I do not, I will be outed unconsciously. I fear I am becoming the new elephant in the living room. (Everyone knows it's there. Everyone ignores it and just dances around the obvious).
My children have expressed their undying support for me. Though that has not been severely tested, it may be. I've done too much to shield them from adversity all along the way. They are strong, or they will be. Love means more than just providing for them. The most loving thing I can do for anyone is to be me. All of me. The whole of me.