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Different levels of outness....is there such a thing?

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Anthony Venn-Brown
 
Joined in 2005
May 22, 2011, 18:28

Is there such a thing as being out of the closet but not out to everyone??????


is this a compromise??????


Do you need to be totally out????/?


Interesting questions prompted from a discussion I had with motherhen



iplantolive
 
Joined in 2008
May 22, 2011, 22:13

Is there such a thing as being out of the closet but not out to everyone??????


is this a compromise??????


Do you need to be totally out????/?


Interesting questions prompted from a discussion I had with motherhen


In my experience … yes … out of the closet as gay to some but not everyone … I think its part of the journey towards integrity and being confident in our sexual identity first before telling others … for some it takes longer …


Also how should we define “everyone” given that over time our individual journeys generally take us to different places with new friends … and hence the process of coming out begins all over again …


Can we ever really be continually and totally out? It seems that our western society will always assume a “default” heterosexual identity unless we make it plainly apparent that we identity in the LGBT spectrum …



Boi70
 
Joined in 2007
May 22, 2011, 22:23

Is there such a thing as being out of the closet but not out to everyone??????


Yes. I believe that I can be out of the closet but not out to everyone. For example, I am out to my family & friends – because they are the most important people in my life, and I want them to know who I am, and want them to meet & socialise with my boyfriend / partner, when I am in a relationship, and treat him as part of our family. However, I am not out to everyone at work. If I discuss aspects of my personal life with someone at work, then I don’t hide whom I socialise with or where I socialise, or whom I am dating, etc. But there are lots of people at work, who don’t know that I am gay. It is not really relevant for me that they know, because I don’t actually know a lot about their private lives either – I don’t ask everyone if they are gay or straight, and don’t expect that I need to answer the same question for every person or organisation, if it is not relevant to my job or how I do my job.


I believe being out of the closet is made up of two things:


1/ about being honest with myself, and

2/ being able to be honest with others – family / friends / work mates / employers / the government.


For years, I saw my attraction to men as something that would be resolved / healed by God, and that I would eventually be attracted to & be able to marry a woman. Obviously, I live my life from an entirely different perspective now, as I accept that I am a gay man – and I believe that I can have a meaningful relationship with another man. So, I am now being honest with myself.


In regard to being honest with others, I don’t pretend that I am straight / that I am looking to date women, or pretend to notice women physically / sexually on the pretext that if I pretend to notice these characteristics of women, they won’t guess that I am gay. I know I have done this in the past, and know that others have or continue to do the same to hide their orientation. It is little things like these, that define whether we are empowered to be honest with others.




is this a compromise??????


No, by being out of the closet to myself and others – but not to everyone – I do not believe that this is a compromise. I don’t feel obligated to explain myself to every person that I socialise or work with. I believe that it is our choice . Yes, we could argue that these choices can either hurt or empower ourselves or others.


Years ago, women were restricted to specific careers, or were expected to be mothers and not have careers. They were never allowed to make a choice to have a full time career, and / or balance both career and motherhood. Today, society generally accepts their right to choose a career, motherhood or both, and our laws uphold their rights to choose, and have equal pay, equal opportunities, etc


I believe that the same process of liberation or the freedom to choose / live our lives honestly is available to us.


Social Injustices is usually changed by small movements that become greater movements for change. Laws began to change in Australia in the 70s, and are continuing to change even today. A change in our legal rights have begun, and are a prelude to a greater change in the social attitudes within Australia of how people perceive each of us, as members of the GLBTI community.


And one day, I want Australians society, laws and institutions to never see anything extraordinory in our being gay. I don’t have to go through a process of coming out – I can – my family can – my friends can – Australia can – just accept that some are same sex attracted, and it is as normal as being straight.


Do you need to be totally out????/?


No – I believe that ‘coming out’ is a healthy, liberating process – but should never be an obligation put on us.



Anthony Venn-Brown
 
Joined in 2005
May 23, 2011, 00:21

interesting and insightful responses……keep them coming



Ann Maree
 
Joined in 2008
May 23, 2011, 01:24

Hi avb and others


Yes, this is an interesting topic. Thanks for raising it. 🙂


avb said:


Is there such a thing as being out of the closet but not out to everyone??????


is this a compromise??????


Do you need to be totally out????/?


The process of coming out never really ends when you consider that we’re meeting new people all the time, some of us more than others. I don’t think it’s necessary to be out to everyone, and I don’t think it’s a compromise if someone chooses not to be out to certain people unless it sits uncomfortably with the individual concerned.


This topic is particularly relevant to me as a bi woman now dating men. I feel it would be wrong if they didn’t know about my orientation and previous relationships with women because it’s an important part of who I am and I value being open. It’s important also for me to be with someone who accepts this and understands what bisexuality means on a personal level. So the question is around timing. In this context, when is it best to disclose something as important and personal as one’s orientation? Whatever I do, it’s important for me to be true to myself and in a way that hopefully helps the other feel positive, both about me and bisexuality.


Blessings,


Ann Maree



Mr Summit
Chapter Leader
Joined in 2010
May 23, 2011, 09:25

Sure its possible. Before I told my parents I had a handful of people who had known for some time. So I was out to a few people but not others.


Now I am open and out to friends and family but only a couple of people at work know. And only when it has come up. It’s not that I’m not open about it, it’s just that I don’t have those types of personal relationships at work. I suppose that if I ever have a boyfriend pop in for some reason, that’s when people will know. Actually its funny because some people know I have marched in Mardi Gras but still haven’t figured out that I am gay.


In practise though, as the others have said, because we are always meeting new people we’d have to permanently carry a big sign in order to be out to everyone. I think it is just easier to try and be nieve of whether someone knows we are gay or not.



Mother Hen
 
Joined in 2011
May 23, 2011, 10:08

Yes all interesting questions that I think you thought of in a reply to me, not a discussion. The reply was about using people’s real name if they were not openly using it on the forum. Great it helped you think of this wonderful thought provoking topic, not sure it applies to the situation of people using their real name on the forum or not. If a person chooses not to use their real name on the forum, that’s their choice and their right and should be respected. At the time a person joins this forum they may not be “out” to other’s or even themselves so using a different user name gives anonymity and creates a safe place for them to talk freely. It is very common on forums for people to use a different user name than their real name. So if someone chooses not to use their real name on this forum I don’t think it necessary has to do with being out or more out, for some at least.


Anyway on the questions you raised I think Boi70 answered it beautifully.


I personally don’t think you are compromising if someone chooses not to tell some people they are gay. I am cautious and use wisdom in what I tell people about myself and I’m straight, I think that is sensible and is protecting myself, we reveal more about ourselves as we develop a trust and relationship with people we know. That applies to us all not just whether you are LGBT or not. Unfortunately in the current world we live in (even though it has improved) LGBT people have to be even more careful due to discrimination and prejudices in the world, yes it sucks 🙁 . We all look forward to a world where this is not the case.


I think we all should just be able to be open and be ourselves whatever your orientation, we are all equal. 🙂


This also brings up the issue of “Parents” telling or not telling people they know their child is gay, a subject I might post in the “Our Heterosexual Family, Friends and Supporters section”, one day.



Anthony Venn-Brown
 
Joined in 2005
May 23, 2011, 11:56

i think outing yourself as a parent of a gay child is a great thread to commence in that section motherhen



jonn-o
 
Joined in 2011
May 23, 2011, 14:17

I find this an interesting discussion as I’m in the middle of the outing process now. I had planned just to come out to close friends as I felt comfortable. As others have said that is a safe and sensible way to do things. Others don’t need to know just as I don’t need to know about their private lives. For them I was planning to stay in the closet.


The problem for me is that I have just found out that I have been outed in the workplace without having said a word to anyone there! I don’t know who leaked or gossiped but I’m outed anyway whether I like it or not. It’s out of my hands.


It’s a bit surreal knowing they all know and have known for weeks without me being aware. The good thing is that no-one has treated me any differently and they are all as friendly as ever. Maybe it was a good thing – who knows?



Anthony Venn-Brown
 
Joined in 2005
May 23, 2011, 14:50

Yes all interesting questions that I think you thought of in a reply to me, not a discussion. The reply was about using people’s real name if they were not openly using it on the forum. Great it helped you think of this wonderful thought provoking topic, not sure it applies to the situation of people using their real name on the forum or not. If a person chooses not to use their real name on the forum, that’s their choice and their right and should be respected. At the time a person joins this forum they may not be “out” to other’s or even themselves so using a different user name gives anonymity and creates a safe place for them to talk freely. It is very common on forums for people to use a different user name than their real name. So if someone chooses not to use their real name on this forum I don’t think it necessary has to do with being out or more out, for some at least.


yep….thats right….it began with a private chat with you 🙂


not sure if you have read our mission or guidelines……but this is important to us……our people need to feel safe here.


http://www.freedom2b.org/about/mission

Guidelines

1. freedom 2 b[e] is a safe place. That means you are welcome and we will do all we can to respect your rights which, if you choose, include your anonymity. Our website, online forum and meetings are free of a sexual agenda. (ie cruise free zones)


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