I knew from the age of 18, (41 years ago), that I was not straight, and assumed that meant I was homosexual. Within a year I had revised that to bisexual, a revision I’ve had no reason to question since, and accepted that my basic sexual identity was gay, if not exclusively so.
In succeeding years I ‘experimented’ with gay sex, finding it suited me well even when not always satisfactory. But I also learned early that while my sexual appetite skewed toward gay sex, my need for intimacy went all the other way, and at age 25 began a relationship with a woman that continues to this day. I also found that my sexual identity as gay did wax and wane over time, at least within certain undefined boundaries, though I have never doubted that I am gay.
All this time, until my early 30’s, I never came out to anyone, out of fear for what that could mean for my life. At age 32, I told my wife I was bisexual. She accepted it but not with enthusiasm, and I told no one else for another decade, when I came out to a gay friend. That started the door opening, but still very slowly. Over the next 10 years, several other people, friends and acquaintances, learned either from me or the grapevine. Interestingly, for me, there was never any consequence, good or bad, to my coming out.
About two years ago I told another good friend, a straight man, that I was gay. He took it in stride and did tell another couple of acquaintances and his parents, whom I knew quite well. Another year passed and I decided to disclose on social media that I am gay/bisexual, liking some LGBT sites on Facebook and updating the ‘Interested In’ section of my profile to reveal that I am not heterosexual. That informed a couple of dozen more good friends. Again, the reaction was virtually nil. My Google+ and Twitter pages more explicitly reveal that I am gay, though they are newer and not shared with many people yet.
I am not completely out yet; several important people in my life, family members, do not know I am gay/bisexual though I would like them to. The process has been far too long but, thankfully, quite painless. My fears were never realized, and I realize it was something I should have begun much earlier. In today’s very different environment for young gay and bisexual people, I have little doubt I would now come out in my early 20’s.
Story written by Brian. Thanks for contributing, Brian!