The difficult Coming Out process
In any way, the Coming Out marks the important climax of a process of self-discovery and self-acceptance, although it is just the beginning of a new phase at the same time. The process of accepting our own identity, especially when gender expression, gender identity, and sexuality is involved, is a very private, very sensitive, and very delicate process. Many LGBTQ+ people feel particularly vulnerable during this time, understandably, especially because it can take up years of understanding their own feelings, their own bodies, and eventually accepting their own resulting identity. The process of coming out and opening up about sexuality, gender identity towards yourself and in the next step towards family, friends, and the public, in general, is such a difficult time full of fear, pain, and vulnerability, most of the LGBTQ+ people will never have to face a similar challenging situation in their lives again. Understandably, mastering these challenging times makes us proud! Especially, since this all happens often in such an early stage in our lives, usually before self-esteem and self-confidence have been grown enough to be able to handle disappointments and blame and struggles for being different.
One Family: But remember where we are coming from | Pride LGBTQ+ rights Movement © Coupleofmen.com
Inner vs. outer Coming Out
After accepting our own identity and sexual orientation – we like to call it “inner coming out” – it is everyone’s own challenge to confront family members, friends, and colleagues – we like to call it “outer coming out”. Many hetero people might ask why that is so important to us. Well, if you have to live in fear that your own (gender) identity and sexuality might put you at risk to lose your job, maybe even your whole career, you might think differently about the challenges LGBTQ+ have to face. We both had our own, very different experiences with our coming out. While Karl grew up in a small, conservative, and socialist village in the mountains of Eastern Germany, Daan was born and raised in and around Amsterdam, one of the most progressive countries when it comes to the rights of LGBTQ+ people. Our coming out stories couldn’t be more different, and yet, we managed to arrive at the same point in our lives together. And since our coming out stories took place over 18 years ago, many things have changed for the better, hopefully.
Anyways, by overcoming most of the struggles, we, as members of a society minority, experience the feeling of pride. The self-confidence and strengths we gained by accepting to be different, to be who we are, and to stand up for it in public makes us proud. And gives us the energy and balance to support others who are struggling and need our help.
Coming out can be difficult – In the end, it is about love! © Coupleofmen.com
Alternatives? Living a lie or even suicide…
We as members of the LGBTQ+ community are expected to “fit in”. Therefore, especially in the past, many LGBTQ+ decided to forcefully fit in the society’s expectation of how one has to behave, to identify and whom one has to love against their nature out of different reasons like shame, fear, or even love. By writing this, it already feels like a masquerade to us that leads to living life like in prison. The alternative of coming out and accept one’s own identity is to hide it by trying to fit in. For some LGBTTQQIAAP people that might be an option or even necessary and safer due to the environment and family constellations. But it mostly ends in mental problems or stress-related psychological-physiological sickness. In the worst case, for too many LGBTQ+ people, suicide seems to be the only way out… For us, showing Pride and fighting for equal rights for all LGBTQ+, especially for those who are not able to stand up for themselves, is a necessity to make the world a more welcoming and LGBTQ+ friendly place.