So here’s the thing about coming out: it never, ever, ever gets easy.
It gets easier, mind. One hell of a lot easier than those first pulse-racingly cold-sweaty declarations, when then words caught in my throat before thumping right down into the pit of my stomach. These days, it’s just a tiny hesitation, a little gnawing sense of worry. Every time.
I didn’t know it was Coming Out Day today. Yesterday, though, I sat on the sofa with a friend who’s been there since Way Back When, talking about how it never gets truly easy.
The other day I came out to people at work. We were talking about plans for our days off, and I mentioned that I was heading down to Cork to give a workshop. When they asked what it was about, I felt that little lump in my throat as I answered. See, it’s easy to give a workshop about bi stereotypes and experiences. It’s harder to tell people that’s what you’re doing.
Isn’t that strange? Its easier to get up in front of a roomful of people and talk about bisexuality and biphobia than it is to mention to two people that that’s what you do.
It never gets easy because every single time you come out, someone could react badly. They could think that you’re a worse person because of your orientation. They could fetishise it. They could feel sorry for you. Or they could do none of the above but look at you differently. What you are could be more important to them than who you are. And every. single. time you come out, there’s a risk that this person will do that.
It’s easy to say “fuck ’em”, later. In the privacy of your own home and heart it’s not hard to want to have nothing to do with people who have a problem with who you are. But in the moment, when you’re on the cusp of finding out whether this person is capable of becoming a friend- or even a friendly acquaintance- or not, it’s never easy.
But it’s worth it.
Unless it’s not, that is. It’s worth it if you live in a place and around people who don’t put you at risk for being out. It’s worth it when you can find communities to take you in, friends to kick back with, family to love. It’s worth it when living in fear or abject isolation isn’t the price of openness.
Other wise, though? Worth it. Hella worth it.
Happy coming out day!