Coming out, in the gay
sense, is not an easy thing to do, but it can certainly be very rewarding. Many gay activists think that queer
people will reach equal social status only if the majority of them come out of their closets.
Coming out is usually a gradual process. First, one comes out to him/herself, which can be a daunting task. Years of being told that being gay is wrong, sinful, disgusting, weak, and a host of other negative things, leaves people often hating themselves and trying anything to ignore their feelings, anything to be just like everyone else. The first person people come out to is usually a close friend and then they slowly tell their other friends as their confidence grows. For most people, the two hardest parts of coming out are taking the first step and telling that first person, and then most stressful of all, telling one's parents. Telling one's parents can be such a frightening prospect that many people never do it, even as their homo/bi/sexuality becomes blatantly obvious.
I've heard some straight people say that the whole coming out process is rather pointless.
"You don't hear straight people going around to their friends saying 'I have to tell you something... I'm straight'!"
Of course straight people don't do that, they don't have to; everyone just assumes they are heterosexual, by default.
"But why do you have to tell me what you do in your bedroom?" is another question that gets asked a lot.
Being bisexual, gay, or lesbian is not about sex, at least not completely; rather, for most, it's about who one falls in love with, who one dreams about when they close their eyes, the kind of person one wants to spend his/her life growing old with. Yes, sex does play a part in sexuality of course, but it's only a piece of the puzzle, not the whole picture.
Many times people choose to come out when they've met someone special. They naturally want to share their happiness with the important people in their life, they don't want to sneak around as if their relationship is some sort of dirty secret. More recently, coming out has become a part of the experience of becoming an adult. People are coming out at younger and younger ages every year.
Coming out can be very liberating. For me, coming out made me feel alive. I'd been hiding my feelings for as long as I could remember, being afraid of them, being ashamed of them, just hoping and praying that they'd go away. One day, I just couldn't hate myself anymore. I took a good hard look at myself and discovered that trying to live my life for other people wouldn't get me anywhere, and slowly I came to accept myself. The relief of knowing that I wouldn't spend my entire life alone feeling the way I used to feel was like being reborn. Eventually, I told my best friend and she was really supportive. Over the next year I told my other friends, and about two years later, I told my family. It's been a few years since then, and being gay isn't such a big deal to me anymore. Sometimes it's hard for me to imagine what the big deal was back then, but it was a big deal, and I'm glad that I won't have to do it again.