Coming Out Is Correcting People

A white envelope with a rainbow letter sticking out of it for Coming Out Day

October 11th is National Coming Out Day.

For me, coming out, and the anxiety and stress than can and often does surround coming out is an odd concept. At my age, I think it’s a bit of a rarity, whereas I have hope it’ll be easier for gen Z kids. I am really privileged though, at least in that sense. I have LGBTQIA family members.

I didn’t really come out as bisexual.

I remember having a vague conversation with my mum about it over a glass of wine when I was about 19. She already knew. It was a bit different with my dad. I less came out and more just told him I had a girlfriend when me and Bethend were serious (so about two weeks in!!). Our relationship is more complicated though.

I think there is definitely a disconnected between me telling people I’m bisexual or genderfluid/non-binary and actually coming out.

I do not feel like I am coming out.

More like letting people in. 

Being bisexual or genderfluid generally, usually, means you’re always coming out in a way. People look at you, look at your relationship, and make assumptions. Breasts? Women. Same-sex relationship? Lesbian. You’re always coming out, correcting people. 

I have slowly started to correct people. There are many memes going around about trans people jumping in to defend others when they’re misgendered but not advocating for themselves. And they hit the mark, because I do the same. So, coming out for me, if anything, is correcting people. 

A picture of me kissing the top of my toddlers head. He is sucking his thumb.

Coming out is correcting people on my sexual orientation, my gender. To be honest, looking at me, there are a lot of assumptions made, a lot of misconceptions made. I get treated like a person much younger than I am because I have acne and generally do not look nearly 40. Treated like I am unable to care or advocate for myself because on occasion my anxiety or depression (or both) means that I am doing the basics and the basics only.

I am starting to advocate for myself as well as others though. With simple phrases, “I’m not a woman.” “I’m not a lesbian.” It’s a slow process. 

People come across my labels because I correct them, or they ask, or they sport the badges I wear or the labels in my bios. It’s less coming out and more letting people in.

I have privilege though. I’m white, I am nearly forty, and I have a supportive family (even my dad), I have queer family. I’ve never needed to come out. My mum is not-straight and my step-dad not-cis. I’ve never had to worry about being ostracised or abused or made homeless or killed for being anything other than cishet. But that is the reality for many people, young and old. We’re denied, housing, basic human rights just because we’re LGBTQIA+. 

When Bethend and I got married, marriage wasn’t even legal, it was civil partnerships or nothing. When I was in school, section 28 was still in effect, making it illegal to teach or talk about LGBTQ relationship sin school. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had people think I’m my wife’s friend, sister, had people call me names in the street and online. I get misgendered daily and my identity erased on several levels. 

Coming out leaves you vulnerable. 

a pink hear inside a circle filled with a rainbow. You are valid is written above.

That’s what puts people off, that’s what makes people anxious, that’s why it’s such a big thing for any LGBTQIA+ person to declare their identity to be anything other than cishet. And if celebrities get shit for it, what hope is there for the millions of people young and old who have yet to be the person they are outside their own hearts?

There is hope though. It does get better. 

I think, coming out is always worth it in the long run but for some people there will be hard times ahead. Do not come out if you are not safe. Get safe first, then come out. 

And you can always come out to me. I’ll happy to hear it, read it, validate it.

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bread

Queer, weird, geek, poet and now parent.

5 Responses

  1. Really interesting and informative. #KCACOLS

  2. always great to read the different perspectives of those that actually know what it feels like to be in these situations #KCACOLS

  3. This is a really interesting piece. I know many gay and bi people, but none has ever spoken of the struggles you have faced. However, that is probably because they are friends and colleagues and, therefore are accepted by us; strangers on the other hand are a whole different kettle of fish, put simply, people can be very ignorant. I can understand why people may ask if you are a couple or friends/family. I’ve been out with male friends and people have assumed we are a couple, so I think that one is just a conclusion people naturally jump to, you just have to put them right.
    Here’s hoping things get easier and people become more understanding. I hope so for my bi daughter.
    Take care and thank you so much for sharing this with us xxx

    #KCACOLS

  4. Lydia C. Lee says:

    Good post. I think we CISHET (CISHAT? Not 100% confident with the lingo, sorry. But you did teach me that word so I am learning! Sort of). people don’t fully understand the variations and presume everyone should just ‘come out’ and once you’ve done it once, it should be ‘easy’ from that point on. Great explanation as to why some people hold back at times. Also I guess how fed up you must get on those daily interactions where strangers (in shops etc) make the wrong assumptions. #KCACOLS
    Lydia C. Lee recently posted…Pronouns MatterMy Profile

  5. I am quite hopefully for the next generation, and the ones that follow after that. I know there’s still a long way to go, but so much has already changed in my lifetime in terms of knowledge and acceptance and moving towards equal rights for everyone. Posts like this one are hugely important I think in helping move things forwards. x #KCACOLS

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