Misc //

Different closets, same feelings

Coming out isn’t just about gender and sexuality, writes Hannah Pankau.

A number of students have been removed from the Queer Action Collective (QuAC) Facebook group.

Coming out is hard and complicated sometimes. There’s the awkward stage of trying to figure out how the person will react, the worrying about how to say it, that they will judge me for it. What if they react in the wrong way? You worry about how it’s going to change their opinion of you, and whether you’ve been interesting enough beforehand that they won’t find this new revelation the most important and interesting factor of your personality.

Sometimes you barely mumble out the words, other times you internally yell “fuck it” and make the announcement like ripping off a week-old band-aid. You can’t do it once: every single person you meet is another damn person you have to figure out how to tell. New things are discovered and you have to accept it within yourself, sometimes never divulging these details to others.

Before, and even after you come out, you may be faced with emotional challenges like coming to terms with it for yourself. Some people may face serious problems along with this, such as depression and anxiety. You find yourself questioning cause and effect of these things and worrying if people will make judgements based on this.

Hiding feelings becomes an automatic action, because telling people the truth is too hard for anyone to deal with. Learning to change names to make stories less awkward is commonplace in everyday situations, which most people wouldn’t even be thinking about.

Coming out isn’t just a thing you do about your sexuality and gender. I started coming out to people when I was five years old. I started coming out as queer when I was sixteen. When I was five I had to come out though because my mum died. People emphasise coming out as a thing you do regarding your sexuality, but last month I finally realised that it’s not, and all the feelings I’m having now about coming out as queer are things I’ve been feeling for most of my life.