Coming out to friends and family about your sexual orientation is one of the toughest confession to ever make. Young gay men and lesbian women are constantly expected to do what their siblings have done with their lives. The question asked is “when will you settle”? Settle of course always means getting married, figuring a good job that one can support himself or herself financially and be able to bear children and do what others around them do seamlessly. Coming Out story
In this turmoil of pressure, coming to the realisation that one is not turned on sexually by the opposite gender, can be a daunting experience for many.
Therefore fearing the repercussions, it’s easier to avoid conflict and remain closeted forever.
As we delve into the topic of sexuality, it is getting day by day, more layered as society is opening up at a tortoise pace to diverse and multifaceted identities.
For heterosexual people it still remains a space of confusion. Most walk the straight path. They don’t wish to defy the world they think as normal. Their little oasis where the order is limited to the understanding of man marries a woman. They have children. Life continues.
But the reality is far from that. Today we have a very large dictionary of identities. There is gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgenders, asexual, pansexual, gender fluidity and more.
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Sadly for many the realisation of being gay or lesbian is not always since they attain puberty. There are many people who in their later years of life, realise that they are no longer attracted to the opposite sex. It is life altering for many.
It becomes further difficult if the man or woman is married and has children. The guilt gets difficult to bear and the truth becomes too much of a reality to ignore.
One would imagine in such a scenario, the sensible thing would be to first to address this with the spouse. This is taking into consideration that the spouse will understand and ease the declaration to the other family members. In many cases, just coming out to your children can be frightening and debilitating to it’s very core.
As a society, we live in constant fear of being good. Parenting is even trickier. Parents must not look sexual, behave sexual or even discuss identities. According to tradition the child would view a family with the mother and the father as the source of feeling secure in their lives. But in a scenario where one parent needs to come out. It is the toughest to have the hard conversation of their orientation. Sometimes children are accepting. But in many cases children don’t understand how to navigate the new orientation. Some don’t accept it their entire lives. This fear of losing children and family, the man or woman fears to confide. They accept to remain unfulfilled forever.
Some lucky ones, with a supportive spouse, wait till the children settle into their lives financially and then they muster the courage to speak up.
In my experience, they say that it is a lonely dark space for many till they find the acceptance.
Coming out can also be a very light feeling for many.
They carry the burden of being gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual or pansexual for as long as they can, just to avoid the discomfort of facing rejection. So once the cat is out of the bag, it is celebration for many.
According to Simran Shaikh, Director, Trans Health Accelerate, “one can’t or must not expect immediate acceptance. Just like I have taken long to accept myself, in the totality for the human being that I am. It is equally important to give your family members and loved ones, an equal amount of time to understand your transition and identity.”
As I delved further into the topic of love with gay couples. Many confessed that they found it difficult to find a permanent relationship that is sealed forever. It is heart breaking that some relationships don’t last very long. According to them they feel that the day the government will legalise marriage in the queer community, the relationships will remain cemented longer as the laws would often make it difficult to just walk away without any explanation.
Love still remains elusive for many. The longing to belong to a special person is a dream that many human beings have. The inability to find that causes depression among many.
Here is hoping that with time, LGBTQ+ discussions would be beyond only the sexual identity. It would be more about another human being and the relationship they forge with themselves for their lifetime.
Mohua Chinappa is an author and a podcaster. The views expressed are the author’s own.