Telling Your World: Part I
Okay, you’re just a regular gay guy, comfortable in being a guy. Should you tell the world you’re gay? You know the world I’m talking about, the shitty little two-by-four world each of us occupies, work, school, family, friends.
So, should you spill the beans?
Well, my answer to that lofty question is the usual politician’s cop-out: it all depends.
If you live in a megalopolis, your ex-hippie parents raised you in a commune, most of your friends or co-workers are gay, bi, or super liberals, you work in a gay-friendly office or an industry or profession where being gay is actually a plus, well, what the fuck, why not?
If, on the other hand, you live in Smalltown, Nowhere, your parents read the Bible while taking a shit, your college buddies think a wild Friday night is finishing off a couple of six packs, cursing in the office is frowned on, or you work for an ultra-conservative employer (like I did – the Catholic Church), then I don’t think so.
Using some common sense, and what God gave you, upstairs, you have to decide whether coming clean is more grief than benefit.
Sure, sometimes there are financial and legal advantages, like if you have a legit partner and he and you live in a state or city or work for an employer that offers domestic or spousal partnership benefits. (It always blows my mind when I think about Disney, one of the most family-oriented corporations on the planet, also offering same sex benefits even if it took them awhile.). But if signing up will only make you a pariah with co-workers or your tight-assed boss (Human Resources personnel are notorious for being the biggest blabber mouths in a company), you and your guy may reluctantly just pass it all up.
A buddy of mine a few years ago decided to take advantage of domestic partnership benefits at his job for him and his partner, only to be grilled by the H.R. director for all sorts of documentation that living-together straights are never asked for. I admire him for not backing down and bringing a discrimination grievance against the prick.
Again, you need to carefully weigh your own private reality and see if it makes sense. White lies are not mortal sins, but if questions from family or straight friends about marriage start getting under your skin, and you’re tired of dodging the bullets (and possibly misleading some woman into thinking you’re ready to buy the engagement ring), maybe it’s time to consider relocating to a place where nobody knows you and you can live your life as you want. (Change jobs, decide to go to college out-of-state.) That’s not being a coward; sometimes it’s just being sensible.
But what if you’re already married, wifey truly suspects nothing (doubtful), and you wake up one morning and decide you’re tired of waking up to a woman? Well, again, whether you kiss and tell may be dictated by circumstance. Is there a family legacy you must protect? Is she your boss? Would a divorce leave you broke?* Is there some guy waiting in the wings, or do you think leaving your straight life behind for a studio apartment in Boystown would solve all your pent-up sexual angst? (Don’t count on it.)
Friday: Two other realities about Telling Your World