Organic Progression: A Coming Out Strategy

January 26, 2011 § 6 Comments


They say slow and steady wins the race, but when coming out their is no proper pace – just a proper mindset.

I came out to my best friend via text as we walked the boards/boardwalk together. Ocean City NJ is known as a family resort and at that moment there were a half dozen families near us with screaming children, yet for that one moment when she looked at her cell phone I swear there was silence and afterwords peace. 

In contrast, my coming out experience with my devout Christian parents led to prolonged turmoil and awkward silence. As I imagined what they must have been thinking, my head filled the silence with its own shouts – and there were many.
Previously, coming out to my parents was last on my list of to-dos. I wanted to come out to everyone else before hand so they couldn’t restrict my openness. Because of this, I was surprised when my parents began figuring out I was gay only a few months after I told my best friend. Apparently my accidental favoriting a picture of Mario Lopez in tight swim trunks on our  family laptop did not assure them I was straight – but what can I say, the guy’s got nice glutes!

Nevertheless, my parents put two and two together. After a lengthy conversation, they forbade me to come out to anyone. Not willing to go against my parents’ wishes, I decided not to come out verbally. Instead, I formulated a concept which was fresh in my eyes though many before me have already walked its path before. I call it Organic Progression.

The rules I followed are simple:

1. Act the way you normally would had you come out

2. If anyone asks if you are gay, answer truthfully.
(lest it would put you in immediate harm)

That’s it! The idea assumed that after a while people would naturally conclude that I am gay. While I’m not overtly flamboyant, I figured the sum of my actions and resistance to get a new girlfriend would assure others of the fact. 3 years later, not one person had asked even as I began dating gay guys outside of my school. Instead, a growing number of people simply assumed I was gay.

Such a moderately paced transition from closeted to out removed any shock factor for my teammates. There was little backlash and conflict was nonexistent. It was as if everyone had known the whole time – and this is the true gem of organic progression.

For any athlete out there who is looking for a “safe” way to come out, consider just taking your time and letting the reality set in naturally. Your sexuality is your business and while the allure of a large and emotional coming out may entice some people, no one can blame you for following in Anderson Cooper’s footsteps. Organic progression certainly doesn’t allow for immediate satisfaction, but it can allow for a smoother transition both for yourself and your teammates.


To the community: which would you prefer? A slower, potentially easier coming out? Or an immediate celebration of your sexuality which could potentially lead to conflict?

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§ 6 Responses to Organic Progression: A Coming Out Strategy

  • JTBLA says:

    Depends on the person and the situation. Your “organic” way makes a lot of sense.

  • jorgitoluis says:

    Once again i read your work more and more and you give me hope that I’m not alone. thanks for that so i think i will follow your rules. I haven’t come out to anyone but people assume I’m gay too. I just hope that with time and patients my parents will understand me. My brother and sister know but it is still weird to them. My biggest worry is that my mother will disown me.

    • Craig says:

      You certainly aren’t alone Jorgito! I totally understand your last worry about your mother disowning you. If she’s anything like mine, while she may not understand, her love for you will be enough to keep things together. Taking a slower pace to coming out could help with her understanding too – sort of like softening the blow?

      Feel free to email me and let me know how its going – I’m always up for a chat

  • Mike says:

    Every time I see stories about parents who either forbid their children from coming out or disown them, etc., etc., I’m reminded of how lucky I was.

    My father’s also gay.

    I also agree with your strategy, although I have my own observation from the days since I came out for the first time. Some people I’ve been friendly with have either outright told me they knew I was gay and were fine with it or dropped hints both subtle and otherwise that they knew and had no problems with it.

    Subtle: Someone who’d never discussed LGBT issues suddenly starts mentioning something to you about them or clicks “like” on a link you post that’s related to LGBT issues (like one friend did when I linked my It Gets Better video on Facebook).

    Not so subtle: One of my friends recommended I see one of the Twilight movies because Taylor Lautner spent half that movie with his shirt off. That was the first time the subject of my sexuality actually came up with him. LOL

  • Angel says:

    Dude, where have you been my whole life?!
    (sorry for the informality)
    Dear Mr. Craig,
    I came upon your blog because I’m avoiding my essay that is due in like 10 hours. After reading this post, I realized that I’m using the organic process thingy. Prior to “coming out” everyone already thought I was gay, but I always denied it and tried to act more “masculine”, but it never worked. Now that I’ve become more open about my sexual orientation. I guess I adopted this organic progression, mainly so I didn’t have to say “I’m gay” when asked. If people assume, its less dramatic and less of a big deal, I think. I’m still not comfortable with saying “I’m gay” and I try to avoid it at all times. Maybe because I feel like the word “gay” has been given too much of a negative connotation, that I myself don’t want to be viewed as such or even be define by my sexual orientation. I am more than just “gay” or homosexual. The point of this is, thanks finding a word for this progression, that I didn’t even know I was fully conscience of doing.

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