Coming Out

This weekend was one of the emotional and at the same time, the happiest time of my life. We were brought together as a family to bid our final farewell to my late uncle, one that inspired me to love the written word, which later also transformed into a therapeutic tool for myself and is part of what we push for in our Community Art Workshop project.

As a gay person we always worry about how to act, what to say and especially how to answer the common questions about marriage or when you will bring a grandchild to family gatherings.

Being in an intergenerational gathering where your family never speaks of homosexuality and the general society normally points out to it negatively, you always wonder how they will react when they know they have a rainbow among them.

Fortunately most of my cousins in our generation know about my sexuality and they love me as I am, but as we all know, we don’t come out once, but several times. I had one of my cousins, whom I will refer to as sister M. Sister M last saw me when I was still a child and now we met again after so many years living in different countries and I hadn’t yet come out to her. So she kept hinting that she knows, while I played hide and seek throughout, until after our last dinner when I finally told her that I am gay and her response left me almost in tears.

“I have known you were gay since you were 8 and we love you the way you are. You are still the same person we have known and loved then and you haven’t changed.”

These words are not common in all families and I feel very lucky to have such a family which embraces me the way I am and is happy to see me being true to myself. I also appreciated when she went on to say that I can talk to her anytime I need someone to be on my corner and how lonely it is being LGBTIQ at times. Which is so real as others lack such support the second they spark a ray of their rainbow glow and instead face discrimination and rejection.

At times we ask ourselves why should one even come out and if it is necessary for us to come out as LGBTIQ people. I used to be of the opinion that it is not important, but of late I feel it is important, especially in communities that are quiet and intolerant of the LGBTIQ community; however also bearing in mind your safety when you do so. Coming out brings a liberating feeling and lifts that burden of being stuck in a glass closet where all can see, but can’t talk about it.

One of my friends’ once shared with me that:

Coming out indirectly hands you a role of activism that one doesn’t necessarily sign up for. Being openly gay means you live a true and honest life. Society notices you, they question you, they challenge you, and you become the face of homosexuality in that community. Visibility is a huge form of activism and we often don’t pay attention to the power of merely living our lives.

I love my three dots… This is where I will pen off.