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?