I suppose we should just jump right in and I can try to answer the obvious question in front of us. Why am I, a fairly intelligent and open-minded man, still closeted at the age of 28? A good question, and one unfortunately without a simple answer. Or maybe there is a simple answer and I am complicating all of this with my overly analytical mind. Please understand that I am trying to move past and deal with each of these points listed below. Regardless here is an attempt at explaining my actions.
- I’m a people pleaser. Some of my earliest memories are of gaining happiness from increasing other people’s comfort levels. I’ve always been willing to over exert myself and risk my comfort to increase someone else’s. I was, for the most part, a very sociable and pleasant child. I said “please” and “thank you” and I treated others in an overly respectful way. Treating others the way I wanted to be treated brought me a feeling of content and happiness. I’m still like this. I hold onto a fear that once I’m out, I’ll be going against this process, which used to provide me with great purpose. My sexuality will suddenly be making others displeased and uncomfortable.
- I need Acceptance. I was in a training course today and the instructor said something along the lines of, “Everyone has the need within them to feel important and accepted”. The idea of a man being gay disgusts and angers some people. When I am out, I will run the risk of some people not accepting me before I even open my mouth and they have the chance to know anything about me as an individual. This thought turns my stomach.
- My parents. I’ve been blessed with two awesome parents. As a couple, having children was always their main goal. My parents had a lot of trouble initially getting pregnant, and they diligently tried for 5 years. Finally in March 1982 along came me. I was the first-born and there was never any doubt in my mind that my parents loved my younger brother and me. From the moment their first child come into the world my parents’ entire focus switched to their kids. I’m very lucky. I know that they will still love me even if I am gay, but it will be a difficult transition for them. Mainly, I do not want to disappoint them. No one wants to let their parents down. To make matters worse, they are HUGE worriers. My being gay will just add another constant worry to their already overflowing list. It will terrify them to think my life will be harder than other people’s just because of my sexuality. Hell, I’m terrified about that as well.
- Fear of losing friends. Any person struggling with their sexuality is familiar with the mantra “Your true friends will accept you for who you are, and the ones that don’t were never your real friends in the first place.” Deep down I know this to be true, but it will still hurt to lose friends. Why was this one part of me a deal breaker? Why wasn’t I enough to love? Plus, I worry that I will feel like a fool for putting so many years into any friendship that stood on such weak grounds in the first place.
- My low self worth. Part of me feels that I would need people to forgive me for being gay and I’m not sure that I deserve anyone’s forgiveness. Part of me is angry with myself. That may seem stupid or ridiculous, but I’m being honest.
- I hate being judged. Being gay welcomes judgment.
- Part of me feels guilty about being gay. Why am I gay? What if there is something wrong with me?
- I’m afraid.