Uncle Bradley’s Words of Wisdom

This week I have two questions that were asked of Uncle Bradley and both have to do with important the issue of coming out.

My first question comes from Alan of Alan Gay and Straight:

I’ve been visiting someone in the hospital everyday. Anyways here’s my Q-
Two female nurses have hit on me this week and one asked me to go “for a coffee sometime” so I should say ???

First, Alan, allow yourself to stroke your ego a bit. It’s always flattering when someone comes on to you. I’m a big time flirt with males and females, straights and gays. It’s perfectly ok and fun but only if all parties are aware of your sexual orientation. That, brings us to your question.

People see coming out as a one time deal when in reality it is a lifelong process. Those of us who are gay have to come out nearly every day People don’t have to announce their male or female. They don’t have to announce whether they are black or white. Homosexuals, on the other hand, are frequently forced to come out for one reason or another for reasons straight people don’t face, such as this.

First, let’s go over the direct approach. This could go something like replying “Just so you understand, I am gay but would still enjoy going out for a cup of coffee.” They nurses may act negatively towards this, but that’s there issue not yours. Knowing you’ve been through rehab, I’m sure you understand what it means to be honest but accepting that the other persons reaction is not your responsibility.

If you don’t want to use the direct approach, there is also the option to respond in a more subtle way. Some would call it a cop out, but I use it when I’m just plain tired of having to come out all the time and has nothing to do with shame. Just drop little hints of a date you may have had, or that some man is good looking, or any little tidbit that may give them the idea you are gay. This is not the way I necessarily would recommend, but could be a good one if it makes you feel more comfortable.

There is also the option to go with her for coffee, have her offer dinner and then after enjoying a delicious free meal you can tell her you are gay. That probably isn’t a very nice way to come out to her though.

Whichever way you choose to let these ladies know, I hope it turns out well for all involved.

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My second question comes from Anonymous:

Hi, I’m a gay man at an elite college that I play sports for. No one knows that I’m gay. I’m afraid to let any one know in fear of the reactions that I may get from my ” very male” team mates. I think that it would be better for me mentally and emotionally to come out of the closet. What do you think I should do and how ?

Anonymous, there is no way that I or anyone else can tell you if you should come out of the closet. It was mostly a wonderful experience for me, but many have not had good experiences. Personally, I would love for you and all gay people to come out, but each has to do it in their own time and in the way that works for them.

Your timing is impeccable. If you are in the U.S. National Coming Out Day is just around the corner on Saturday, October 11th. Your community, or college may have some type of event planned. This could be a good way to get materials and talk with others about their experiences.

Another excellent resource is the Human Rights Campaign website. They have guides on the coming out process that you can either read online or print out. They also list many of the Coming Out Day events going on around the country.

As for me, coming out was a slow process. First I came out to my family. After that I came out to my closest friends. After that it was about 3 or 4 years before I had fully come out at work and with other people in my life. I don’t know your teammates, but there may be the concern of physical harm if you come out to them. That is something to take into consideration. There’s no need to feel you have to dress in drag one day and announce it to the entire world.

I would also suggest you discuss this matter with one of the counselors at your college, or some local community center. You don’t have to go through this alone.

Because you’re an athlete you may enjoy checking out the Gaysports website. Here is the link: http://gaysports.com/

Here’s also the link to the Human Rights Campaign’s page on coming out:
http://www.hrc.org/issues/coming_out.asp

Whether you choose to come out now or later, and whichever way you choose to do so, I wish you the best of luck and will keep you in my thoughts. Be sure to drop us a note later and let us know how it goes. And please, don’t try the showing up in drag routine.

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Uncle Bradley’s Words of Wisdom is posted every Friday. Please place your questions in any comments section during the week or drop me an email. I look forward to hearing from you.

Uncle Bradley is not a trained physician or counselor. He is just a guy sharing his advice and his experiences.

  7 comments for “Uncle Bradley’s Words of Wisdom

  1. September 28, 2008 at 04:27

    Happy birthday Bradley!!!

  2. September 27, 2008 at 05:34

    @immi You’re right, it isn’t anyones business, but if at work I share the crazy things my husband did the night before I am coming out once again. @melinda I’m glad to hear it turned out well and you made a great friend. It could have not turned out so [email protected] You hit the nail on the [email protected] I don’t know about where you live, but here in LA most people know what a rainbow flag is. If you feel comfortable wearing one at parties then go for it. My hubby and I wear rainbow wrist bands instead and get nice compliments [email protected] See, once again this old guy teaches you a thing or two. @dani See, this old guy once again taught you a thing or two.

  3. Melinda
    September 26, 2008 at 21:39

    Bradley, I think it is great that you are here to offer your own insights and experiences to help others. I fell into lust (one doesn’t really fall into ‘love’ that quickly imo) with a gay man when I was 18 years old. We would go out to dinner, movies, etc–and I could never figure out why he didn’t put the moves on me! 🙂 Finally, one night, I asked him to go home with me and it was then that I learned he was gay. We have been friends for almost 25 years now. He told me he’d been hinting that he was gay–but I was so thick, I didn’t catch on! LOL. Keep up the great work, Bradley.Melinda

  4. September 27, 2008 at 03:29

    I know what a rainbow means…lol..Anyway, I have to say that this post was fascinating as well as educational for us straight folk. You just don’t think about how many times one has to come out. I guess you just don’t think of it as a “lifetime process”, which obviously is. Thanks so much for enlightening us…

  5. September 26, 2008 at 23:06

    Quote:People see coming out as a one time deal when in reality it is a lifelong process. Those of us who are gay have to come out nearly every day People don’t have to announce their male or female. They don’t have to announce whether they are black or white. Homosexuals, on the other hand, are frequently forced to come out for one reason or another for reasons straight people don’t face, such as this.I have some gay friends who are so obviously gay so they never have to deal with this issue….and they don’t get it either————–I just get tired of telling people…at a party with new people…new acquaintances….list goes on and on.——I’m thinking about wearing a rainbow flag pin in certain situations….what do you think ???Does everyone know what it is ???

  6. September 26, 2008 at 22:59

    I found your answer that ‘coming out is really a lifetime process’ illuminating. Since I started my own blog, which has nothing to do with me being gay, I’ve found I’ve had to mention it several times, sometimes so a particular person doesn’t think I’m seriously flirting, sometimes because I find certain remarks ugly (on other blogs). I can take a gay joke as well as the next guy, but of course there are comments that totally cross the line. So, while everyone in my offline life knows I’m gay (I’ve had the same partner for 35 years) online I’m finding I have to mention it every once in awhile when I wish it didn’t matter. But of course it does. When it doesn’t, that will be a day worth celebrating. Great advice, Bradley.

  7. September 26, 2008 at 15:01

    Good advice for gay friends, Bradley. Mostly it isn’t anyone’s business what one’s sexual orientation might be, but it can be good for the soul to let it just be without hiding. But yeah, if they’re asking you out, it’s nice to tell them before they shower you with diamonds and pearls.

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