Coming out for the first time isn't easy. However, when someone is eventually ready to come out they should expect to do so more than once. It is a false notion that a gay guy simply has to come out of the closet once and then they are done with it forever... finito, end of story, he is an out and proud gay man. Alas, that is not the case. In order to be truly out and open, gay guys have to come out repeatedly, many, many, many times, over several years and in fact for the rest of their lives. This is because it is impossible for everyone that a gay guy will ever meet or communicate with for the rest of his life to be present in the room the first time that he comes out. More importantly however is that heterosexist views still dominate society. In other words, regardless of how illogical it may be, most people still generally expect others to be heterosexual.
This funny photo was taken by my friend Marcus in 2005, when I was 32.
When coming out a gay guy will, for example, have to come out to a friend, then another friend, followed by more friends, gay folks in his community, siblings, parents, relatives, perhaps his peers or colleagues if it is pertinent to do to so, perhaps his employer, his doctor, and on and on. This is done in no particular order, it is entirely up to the individual. There are also those moments when the topic of homosexuality comes up in conversation with others who may not know that a person in the group is gay. It is of course no ones business if one of their peers is gay, so in such a situation a gay guy is certainly under no obligation to say anything unless he felt it was safe to do so, and was comfortable with the people around him.
This picture is from the 1970's. Kidding! This was one of the few occasions in which I attended the Ottawa Pride Festival, in 2008, when I was 34. I'm striking a pose for my friend Duane.
Obviously not everyone needs to know if you are gay, and I would agree that posting this page on my blog may be seen as somewhat extraordinary in that regard. To be honest, I find it's quite a nuisance to continuously face situations where I have to come out to people, so maybe this blog page will go some distance to help me reduce the quantity of those coming out moments. Looking at it this way, it's a bit of a cop-out on my part I guess, but one that I embrace none the less!
Of course, the more often a gay guy informs others that he is gay it becomes less and less an ordeal, and eventually coming out won't matter to him at all. When I came out to my friend Marcus around 2007, he thought from the look of concern on my face that I was about to tell him that someone had died, and told me so. We had a good laugh about the situation. Thankfully, Marcus is still a good friend of mine. Clearly I'm not yet comfortable with the ongoing process of coming out, though I wish that I were. In this regard, all that I can do is my best which is all anyone can do in any situation. I'm sure that I'll get better at it down the road...
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Last Updated Aug 2017
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The original contents of this blog including text and original photos are TM and © Mikey Artelle, 1988, 2017