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.
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:
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.
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.