Coming out at middle age

topic posted Sun, November 5, 2006 - 5:12 AM by  Unsubscribed
This post was inspired by a discussion on another tribe. I came out of the closet when I was 42 years old. All things considered it has been a positive experience with zero opposition from friends and family. I wish everybody's coming out experience could be as easy.
In a discussion at the other tribe I was accused of "not being a real fag" because I came out in mid-life. Has anybody else heard this gayer than thou attitude? Peresonally I can eaisly dismiss such nonsense, but has anybody here heard this baloney before?
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  • Re: Coming out at middle age

    Sun, November 5, 2006 - 11:56 AM
    I think it's easier to come out when youre older. People could be less likely to think it's something you'll outgrow & be less condescending. For some reason people seem to respect older people more. Like it's somehow more acceptable for someone to "come out" at 40 something than it is for a 20 something. Some younger gays may think an older person who waits so long to come out hasnt had the guts to come out before or is too spineless to "be real" with themselves & others. Regardless of how long it has taken to me doesnt matter. People have their own personal reasons for remaining closeted & though things may seem simple can actually be quite complex. Even if it took you till you are 42 at least it didnt take you till you were 72. You should still have many years of personal freedom and liberation to be whomever you wish. To experience all life has to offer. I think if someone has anything negative to say about someone elses affairs they are just wrong. It's like when gay people roll their eyes when I say I am predominantly gay but consider myself bi because I do enjoy sex with women & would do it if I could. It's been a long time & I don't pursue it so....... Alot of gays think people use the term bi because they think it's somehow not as bad as being totally gay. Like they are affraid to be identified as gay. This may be true in some cases but I think it's rediculous to think there are no truly bi people. I speak from personal experience that this thinking is completely wrong. Usually people that think this way have many issues they are dealing with as well. It seems that even alot of gays have to feel like theyre better than others too. They want everyone to allow them to be themselves yet they do the same thing or have the same negative attitudes towards non-gays as they want non-gays to not have towards them. Ignorance abounds in a world of chaos!
    • Unsu...

      Re: Coming out at middle age

      Sun, November 5, 2006 - 12:05 PM
      I agree that coming out in your 40s is probably easier than when you were younger. I am glad you are open about being bi. I have heard a few voices in our community who have issues with bisexuals or even that there is no such thing as bisexuals. IMHO, people say they are bi, therefore bisexuality exists. Happily most gay and lesbian folks welcome bisexuals into our community and parades.
      • Re: Coming out at middle age

        Sun, November 5, 2006 - 12:10 PM
        I think of myself as predominantly gay. I'm definitely gay but technically bi. If you will fuck anything that moves and fire hydrants and trees then maybe you are try-sexual. I know that's an old term. Try anything sexual. I'm just me. Marvin. Human. I will do whatever I want when I want & don't really give a damn what anyone else thinks. Why would we want to be inhibited in any way by what others may think. That's what alot of gays experienced before they came out. Why would they behave the same way towards gays that str8s were to them before they came out? Alot of people don't even consider such things.
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          Re: Coming out at middle age

          Sun, November 5, 2006 - 12:34 PM
          I think the negative reaction a handfull of people have about bisexuals has to do with that "more queer than thou" attitude that I mentioned above. The anti-bi bias seems somewhat generational. The few younger gay men I talk to just assume that bisexuals are a part of the LGBT scene and have no issue at all with having bi friends and welcoming bisexuals to our community centers and parades. This bodes well for a future in which who we choose to sleep with is not the subject of judgement by others.
          Isn't that what sparked the modern gay rights movement in the first place?

      • Re: Coming out at middle age

        Mon, November 13, 2006 - 9:28 PM
        I came out when I was 15, it was so long ago.
        I have also hear people in the community, say stuff about "not being a real gay or lesbian etc. I have also see alot of bi phobia.
        You would think we would learn from the way we are/were treated.
        I was on this chat line talking to this young lesbian. She was so bi phobic saying stuff like bi's are the ones spreading disease. Really messed up stuff. It was the same things that people blame on anyone that is different than themselfs.
        I keep thinking, what give people the right to say who is the real gay/les/etc?
  • Re: Coming out at middle age

    Sun, November 5, 2006 - 7:42 PM
    Bear, it's not about whether one is a "real fag" or not, it's about experience. Coming out of the closet is a form of re-birth. We gain experience as we age. So, in queer culture, it's entirely possible for someone in their 20's or 30's to have more experience, and be entitled to more respect for their experience, than someone who waited until their 40's and beyond to come out.

    Unless, of course, you believe that experience is irrelevant, and that we're all fully formed and fully intelligent, from birth?
    • Unsu...

      Re: Coming out at middle age

      Sun, November 5, 2006 - 9:20 PM
      Damien, you must not be reading all of my posts, perhaps you see a post by Bear and just automically decide I need opposition. A couple of posts above I pointed out that IMHO younger gay folks have a more mature view of total acceptance of bisexuals than some in our generation. I think their view is based on their expierence and I respect that very much.

      • Re: Coming out at middle age

        Mon, November 13, 2006 - 9:31 PM
        I don't totaly think youth have more acceptance of bisexuals.
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          Re: Coming out at middle age

          Sun, November 19, 2006 - 2:31 PM
          Actually i disagree with that !!!!Young people ,are much more readily accepting of all kinds of differnent lifestyles witness the many Gay/Stright alliances in schools now!
          We must also remember , depending where you live, that the USA in general, is far more 'provincial' that Europe ,be it adults or youth
          • Unsu...

            Re: Coming out at middle age

            Mon, November 20, 2006 - 10:09 AM
            I have to agree with Miss Fill In The Blanks.
            In many communities of color the concept of being gay is still taboo.
            The fact that some are bi makes things even harder. Right now
            in the black community we are being hit hard by the "DL" ( down low )
            culture. These mostly young men don't see themselves as gay and
            bi isn't an alternative either. This stimulates confusion and misconception
            in not only the person but the community. The lack of support from both
            gay and st8 communities do nothing but further this confusion.
            These young men are not playing safe and infecting their wives and girlfriends.
            ( and in some cases their boyfriends too. ) I would also add that in Muslim
            communities here that the same thing seems to be happening with similar
            devistating results. I know of a friend who's best friend recently killed himself because
            he wasn't accepted in the Muslim nor the gay community. His bisexuality was
            an issue for him and a disgrace for his family. He was kicked out of his home
            where he wandered from friend to friend all whom seem to be more intent
            on forcing him to choose either being str8 or gay and coming out as such.
            ( preferably gay ) They would say " bi is just a bus stop away from gaysville."
            The lack of support from his family and the LGBT community forced him to end his
            life. Very sad if you ask me. I think it's easy tfor some of us o take a very "Euroccentric"
            view when discussing gay/bi culture. But they need to realize that not everyone fits into that catagory.
          • Re: Coming out at middle age

            Sun, November 26, 2006 - 6:37 PM
            Id have to agree with Steve on this one. Society as a whole is more accepting of gays than when i came out. I came out a 17 but more or less had to move away from home to do it. Even my brother and father disowned me at that time. These days my father has since passed away but until the day he died he never really accepted the fact that i was gay and would only speak to me at family holidays when he was there and only the essential polite responses for the families sake. By brother came around a few year age but thats after not being in contact for over 10 years. Oh yeah dont let me forget to mention that my sister is also a lesbian and my father and brother both had no problem with that one at all. Anyway, back to the point of this I go home to the small midwestern area i grew up in and now there are gay bars all over the place and its not really a big deal. Society is changing even here in the good ol us of a but it's taking its damn time to do it.
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    Re: Coming out at middle age

    Mon, November 6, 2006 - 5:02 AM
    Glad for your posting Bear and am always delighted to hear Marvin's wise voice. I used to be so pleased with being the only out bisexual in the room and thought I would link to the vast number of folks that fall in the middle (if we believe Kinsey) and have twice the dates of other people (if we believe Woody Allen). But it didn't work out that way - Gay people and straight people were quite suspicious of bisexuality and kept their distance until I made up my mind. So I went back and forth between coming out straight or gay depending on my interests at the time. Right now I am coming out Gay again. And want to beild my social network around that identity. Its a little difficult when folks ask my about whether I've been married (I have) and about former relationships because I honestly tell them the truth and then they often categorize me as straight and I hate bringing up my sexuality as some kind of banner to say "HEY, I'M GAY." But I do want to embrace that identity now and know from past experiences that my social world builds around that.
    • Re: Coming out at middle age

      Mon, November 6, 2006 - 6:21 AM
      I think some str8 men are homophobic because they are jealous of our personal freedom. They see us having LOTS of fun and doing pretty much whatever we want while they have made the personal choice to put themselves in the typical ball & chain monogamous (And no I'm not saying there's anything wrong with being monogamous. I only look at it in a bad light when it's presented as being somehow more virtuous & righteous when I see alot of times it becomes an unrealistic trap that ultimately results in frustration & degradation.) relationship. So many men enter into relationships because that's what's expected of them. I'm sure some do for true love but I see so many that are obviously NOT in true love. True love being what they claim to be in and what they define it as. Essentially they willfully turn themselves into hippocrites. Into something they themselves despise. When you despise yourself it's easy to despise others and attempt to make them look bad. To see them in a negative light. Like if they do it enough they can shift the focus off of their own failures & flaws. I never really "came out". I guess I did in a way because I didnt feel comfortable dealing with all the derision I would have experienced in Texas when I was youn and especially in highschool. People knew anyway but I'm sure if I was out back then I would have had to deal with more bs. When I came to SF in 89 I was 21 and working and paying my own bills so I just decided I would say & do what I want. I figured especially living in SF that I don't care what anyone thinks. That was a very exciting time for me. To finally realize that the best part about being an adult is that you don't have to give a fuck what negative view other might have of you. That the workplace is totally different than a highschool classroom. In school people can fuck with you non stop and make your life miserable. In the work place (at least in the Bay Area) fortunately there are laws that protect us and official policies that help keep peoples behavior in check. The assholes might be able to think what they want but if they get to vocal they might get themselves written up, counscelled or fired in the process. It's funny too when you can tell who they are. There are the str8 guys that are gay friendly & truly good guys. Then there are the ones that never talk to you. That avoid you and may give you dirty looks when you walk past them and act like it woulld kill them to look you in the eye and say hello. Like doing that might make other people (NOT FAG / REAL MEN) lol think they are gay if they are gay friendly. Guilt by association. : ) It's funny, and sad, how they don't even realize it just confirms to me that they are closeted cock suckers. Whether they actually do it or not. To me more & more I see homophobic men as not being in touch with their own sexuality and the fact that they have such anti gay views makes it obvious they have issues themselves.
      So to ramble & if I'm somewhat off topic. I'm just venting a little I guess.
      • Unsu...

        Re: Coming out at middle age

        Mon, November 6, 2006 - 7:04 AM
        I agree about how homophobic men are sometimes out of touch with their own sexuality.
        The Rev. Ted Haggard is the poster boy for that idea. There is agood post at The Stranger newspaper's "slog" by Dan Savage about the Haggard story. Savage makes the point that this may weaken the ex-gay movement. If somebody like Haggard, a minister so "close to God" is not "saved" from homosexuality by Jebus then how could anyone else be "saved"?

        It is not suprising that the outed reverend is at this point more willing to admit to buying meth than sucking cock.
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          Re: Coming out at middle age

          Mon, November 6, 2006 - 10:18 AM
          I think Damien's comment which assumes that people who come out later have less experience is
          a bit simple and judmental.

          Folks who come out late may or may not be acting on sexual impulses. ( if that's the experience your refering to?)
          My ex has only been out for about 4yrs but has had many experiences with both men and women. He's 36yo.
          While there are somethings about gay life he's just no plugged into ( no pun intended ) it doesn't make his
          experience as a now out gay man any more or less than anyone else. Respect should be based on how
          someone treats you not how many sexual conquests you've had in your teens and twenties. You also
          need to consider the cultural differences throughout time. It's easier to come out now than let's say...1957.
          So why hold it agains folks who in 2006 finally feel comfortable enough to come out? Coming out is a very
          personal thing. There can be struggles and there can be conquests. What they don't need is opposition
          not only from str8 folks but gay folks too. "Judge not lest he be judged." ( did I just use a bible quote? OMFG!! )

          Bottom line: If ya suck dick / clit, fuck folks of the same sex.....then.....YOUR GAY!! PERIOD !!
          Unless of course you like both sexes? I personally don't have a problem with that. One problem
          I have with the gay community and bi folks is how there is always this pressure for bi folks to choose one or the other.
          Now...if we are born gay...couldn't it be possible for bi folks to be born bi? ( ok...think about it now! )
          Some may be more gay( ish ) some may be more str8( ish ). (So are some gay folks for that matter!)
          But who really cares? We are who we are! Why do we need to define and validate folks based off of our comfort level?
          Isn' that what str8 folks do? We hate that right? So why do we do it to each other!

          Big up to you Bear for being who you are!
          They say " life begins at 40" so enjoy yourself man!
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            Re: Coming out at middle age

            Mon, November 6, 2006 - 11:01 AM
            I think it is a relatively small part of our community who are judgemental about bisexuality. In the circles of gay men I know most of us have a few bi friends. There are histories about how in the early years after Stonewall activists debated about including bi people in parades. Most cities across the world label the parades as GLBT and explicitly invite Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Trans-people. This strengthens our movement.

            We might make a modest difference by speaking up for our bi brothers and sisters when people in our community try to put them on the defensive. It is possible I guess that some bi people may be in some sort of transition, but what difference does that make?

            If some people desire the best of both worlds then I say more power to you and welcome to the community.
  • Re: Coming out at middle age

    Sat, November 11, 2006 - 6:01 PM
    I'm actually hoping you guys can help me :-) I have a good friend who is nearing 40. He comes from a country where if you are gay, you would be hung in a square and would have stones thrown at you. If you will forgive me for saying so, I have a pretty good "gaydar" and decided to talk to him about it as he was obviously very unhappy. Make him realise that being gay is not abnormal and is nothing to be ashamed of. He has kinda admited "feelings" to me, but I get the feeling he's just too ashamed. And he told me that he keeps asking "why me" and says things like "I just want to be a real man." He's married, has children and feels that he has made his bed and must now lay in it. He's had a hard life. He's found living hard in itself with suicide attempts etc. And to be perfectly honest, I'm scared that one day he will simply choose death as the better solution. How can I support this friend, get him to realise that in this changing world being gay is not something to be ashamed of? I know that many of you may be able to relate to this to some degree, and would really welcome your advice. He's a kind, gentle man who has everything to live for, and I'd really like to be there to help him through this.

    Any and all advice would be welcome :-)
    • Re: Coming out at middle age

      Sat, November 11, 2006 - 6:31 PM
      I would compile a list of a bunch of dynamic people throughout history all the way up to the present that are gay. Alot of people that may even be married with children too. People who are known to have been gay or bi or whatever. When someone sees a list like this it can help them to realize there are alot of people in the world that are gay. That their possible view of the world as being filled with hateful people that despise homosexuals does not have to be their reality. That there must be ways to enjoy their lives the way they want to. I know in a backward country with archaic fucked up thinking it could be hard. Having a wife and kids could make it harder. There are no simple solutions to these complex issues. The simplest thing might be to just keep it a secret. A secret to cherish and savor & enjoy in private. You don't have to parade down the street with a strap on screaming we're here we're queer get use to it to enjoy all the pleasures life has to offer. ?
      • Re: Coming out at middle age

        Sat, November 11, 2006 - 6:47 PM
        Thank you so much for taking the time to reply :-) I totally get you! but the issue here is that due to the totally fucked up society he comes from, he can't admit it to himself - not directly anyway. He works away from home and I actually slipped into conversation that maybe he could have two lives... one at home with his family and another where he can be himself in the city he works, but he told me he could never go home and look his wife in the eye :( You have to admire a man who wants to be faithful and has the desire to do that in a relationship he's miserable in. He's religious, believes god frowns on it and as I said in my last post, believes he's made his bed. If he could just admit it to himself it would be a start, but when we get into deeper conversations, he admits more and more and then returns to the "I'm not gay" because by admitting it to himself, he's also, in his mind, going against god. This is so horrible, and I hate the fact that the chances are he will never come out - not even to himself hence my fear he will end up killing himself one day.
        • Re: Coming out at middle age

          Sat, November 11, 2006 - 7:04 PM
          There world is full of societal & self imposed misery. It's sad but maybe he has made his bed. Maybe some people are beyond "help". Usually people that are trying to "help" are the moral majority that try to help by telling you it's wrong to be gay. The best thing we can do for people like this is to be friendly & be ourselves. Sometimes we just have to let things go. Things that are beyond us. Just as people who say they are examples of the pure righteous life who say we should live our lives as an example of gods goodness. It doesnt really matter if we are christians or not. That's good advice for str8s and gays whether there is actually a God or not. All any of us can really do is try to be a good friend. Ultimately nothing else really mattters.
    • Re: Coming out at middle age

      Mon, November 13, 2006 - 9:41 PM
      in any area there is usually some gay groups, some are underground.
      If your friend no longer live in his place or orgin, he might find others like himself. Example queer latin groups, asian gay groups etc.
      I think when one finds others like themselfs they don't feel so isolated(spelling)
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    Re: Coming out at middle age

    Thu, April 12, 2007 - 1:01 PM
    I was out to family and friends, living as I do in what traditionally has been a hyperhomophobic place - the otherwise beautiful Isle of Man in the middle of the Irish Sea - and then was outed forcibly by a fellow lawyer in January 2004 when he sent my then Gaydar URL to all the other law firms on the island, to our Courthouse and to the General Registry. Copies of the pics from that now deleted profile are still circulating.

    That I'm bi was a distinction too subtle for my fellow islanders - so now I play up to it, 50 and indefatigable, campaigning for LGBT rights here, open with my colleagues and clients; doing my best.
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      Re: Coming out at middle age

      Fri, April 13, 2007 - 8:55 AM
      Congratulations, P50 for making the most of it after being forced out. I came out at 42 and am a better person because of coming out. No matter what age we come out at we all have an equal place in the GLBT community. Welcome, P50.
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        Re: Coming out at middle age

        Fri, April 13, 2007 - 2:21 PM
        By the by, and slightly off topic, you'll see the severe difficulties faced by the LGBT community in my small corner of Western Europe, and the inspirational way the youngsters in particular are overcoming them, if you access