The Facebook group titled “Gay San Antonio” will be marking the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by “coming out” from the “private” setting to the “public” setting on Facebook. When the Administrators formed the group, they originally set the privacy settings so that, without an invitation, the group postings and its members remained hidden.
October 11th is Coming Out Day. I can’t help but wonder what it is that prompts a gay person to come out. Especially in a place like a workplace, where your very livelihood is at stake. As a straight person, I can only imagine and I would never have the audacity to say this is something I know or feel. In last week’s Closet Talk interview with Jen Dugan, of the 1st Annual Nationwide You Are Loved Chalk Messages Project, Jen told her own coming out story and how surprised she was at the support. Many individuals told her that had they known, they would have supported her. She used the words “It goes unsaid.”
By the time I was 15 years old, I had already had my first boyfriend, kind of. I had begun to accept that I was “gay,” but I had also experienced the sting of being a “fag.” Society, it seemed, disapproved. The disapproval was so great that I’d often be chased home by groups of boys on bicycles throwing rocks at me and calling me “fag.”
I remember walking home from school one day at 12 years old and coming across the one person in that small Arkansas town I thought I could call friend.
Tonight, Closet Talk flipped on its head with guest host, Tammy Defoe of tamfastic.com taking the reigns and interviewing me. Before the show, Tammy and I talked and I asked her to come up with questions about my coming out and my life. What I wasn’t prepared for was her asking me about was my death – or the possibility of it.
Listen as I falter a bit when asked about the possibility of my demise at the hands of those that oppose LGBT equality:
Angela “Oxygen” Edge is a brilliant singer/songwriter and performer. She had two coming out experiences with her family, the first when she was dragged out, but denied it. The second, by the media when she was going on tour with SONiA and Disappear Fear.
Listen as she speaks her truth about coming out, her conservative upbringing and her compassionate understanding of her parents’ confusion and concerns in this episode of Closet Talk.
We all know that gay people go through a coming out process. Most gay, lesbian and bisexual children go through a long period where they aren’t sure how to express their sexuality. They are afraid to confide this information in anyone, particularly their parents. Some opinions indicate that this fear to “come out” revolves around self-loathing; that the gay child dislikes that he/she is gay and is embarrassed to reveal the truth. However, the fear of societal rejection is what prevented me from jumping out of the closet for many years.
When I was very young, it was obvious that my family suspected something. My mother would often make comments like, “I love my children, no matter what. I’d love them even if they were gay.”
If you missed Closet Talk last night you missed a great story from MJ (as well as some technical distractions from yours truly at the beginning of the show). MJ eloquently told her story of life before and after the closet, weaving us through her fears and feelings of loneliness but always leading us right back to where we should be, hopeful.
It’s not my fault that I forget there were members of my family that didn’t know about my homosexuality. Actually, it’s not that they didn’t know, it’s that they were too young to understand when people use the word “gay” it applied to “Uncle J.”