I am curious about the downside of being out, if there still really is any.
I am not advocating not being out. It's a hard way to live in my view. I have been fortunate as the worst I've ever encountered was some woman at a neighborhood party who said 'there's so many of you around here now I can't keep you all straight.' Which was stupid and annoying but not exactly a gay bash or discrimination.
But I got wondering (God, I sound like Carrie Bradshaw, sorry) but I did get wondering is prejudice or other negative experience still happening if you're out and open about it and in what way? It's 2013... how bad can it be? Other than the morons in government, what are people up against, if anything?
Oh for fuck's sake
I mentioned it before but I was attacked by someone I knew when I first came out. I have a scarred up face to show for it Since then even living in the South, in the sticks, it hasn't been bad. At least not in the past 5 years or so. Most often I encounter puzzled looks. I don't look like/ct your ~average gay to most I suppose. If they only knew what I got up to on my Florida weekends.
When people ask me if they should come out to their parents, I say "no." It was of no advantage to me.
Work, it depends. You can probably answer that better than some stranger on the internet can.
The rest of the world, sure.
There were at least two tenure-track positions I didn't get (I was an adjunct, but promised tenure-track after a position opened) because I was out to my students. But to me, it was worth it. As I said to my Dean, gay kids need role models too. But apparently not in the South.
There's a general loss of status when you come out. It's not worth staying in the closet, but it's still a fact. Gay people are not as valued in our society as straight people. It manifests itself in all sorts of ways, many of which are difficult to pinpoint or articulate in the way you're asking,--they're often small and cumulative ('minority stress' is one way to put it) rather than a single incident of discrimination--but they exist nonetheless.
[quote]When people ask me if they should come out to their parents, I say "no." It was of no advantage to me.
Well, gee: if it didn't work for *you*, then *no one* should come out to their parents!
I guess you *are* an idiot, idiot. The question was "Has being out [italic]you[/italic]?"
Let me see...
-Getting a brick through my window
-One of my parents spitting in my face
-Getting told at work that God would forgive me for my sin
-Still hearing the chat about gays coupled with 'but you're different'.
-Having 'queer' written on the back of my school blazer
-Getting a threat of 'I'm gonna cut you, batty boy'
-When I did voluntary work with people suffering from cerebral palsy, they had to 'check' that a gay person could be alone with one of the patients.
-Not me, but when a friend got bashed so bad he ended up in hospital, the first comment his mothers best friend made when they found out was 'oh Roisin, how awful having a gay son'.
All that, but compared with what gay men and women face in most of the rest of the world, it seems like luxury.
Where the hell do you live, R8? Jesus, what an experience.
That is, "Has being out hurt [italic]you[/italic]?"
The most painful moment was the first time that Turkish guy I dated shoved his thick 8-incher up my tight twink butt, without lube, for what seemed like an eternity.
But the next session was quite enjoyable.
R8 The first concrete proof people hated me was "_________ is a fem" written on my high school geometry book.
God, he couldn't even spell it right. I'm looking at you, Marty B.
Any area where it has hurt were things I'd already lived and despised while "in" -- country clubs, church group bullshit, working with kids (ugh), and especially dumbshit unhappy women who have no power over me. with their pussies.
All happily traded for a long career in show biz and now teaching students of my own picking (and getting rid of, yes, the dumbshit unhappy women who still have no power over me with their pussies. Happy fun talented women, yes, are still a joy.
I go into straight bars once in a blue moon, and it's as if they're all speaking in garbled foreign languages; the men a gutteral blather, and the women in glass-breaking shrieks.
I wanted to ask the actors here this question but I can't find that actors thread. I wondered how many were actually out.
And OP there will always be a segment of society who are homophobic and/or bigots. There will always be discrimination and whatever rights LGBT people gain, they will likely always have to fight to keep due to being a minority group ( people of color and voting rights among other things). It being 2013 doesn't mean that things are great or not so bad for LGBT people.
I know, OP! I woke up this morning and took a good, hard look at the Gayborhood, too! No homophobia here! Just sunshine and rainbows!
[quote]When people ask me if they should come out to their parents, I say "no." It was of no advantage to me.
I hope no one asks you that often.
Are you aware that other people are different from you, or your parents? I'd imagine anyone asking you that question today is about five or six decades younger than you, for starters.
Again, reading-comprehension-deficent, R17, the question asked was: "Has being out hurt [italic]you[/italic] at any point and how?"
Why is that so hard to understand?
At work one day, in a general conversation, I said something about being gay. All my workmates knew, I figured it was one of those "of course he is" deals and nobody cared one way or the other.
My boss thought I was joking and said "You're not gay..." I said "Yes I am..." "No you're not..." a coworker said "Yes he is..."
After working there for a few years and being praised by my boss for doing good work, at that moment the switch got turned off and I could do nothing right in her eyes. She became bitchy and cold and I received constant criticism, eventually getting fired.
The difference in her behavior was instantaneous.
I can assure you being out is a factor in at least work life. Not saying you won't get the promotion, but I can assure you, some thought was given to your sexuality when they hired you and promoted you.
Every place I have worked I had at least one person out to undo me because I am gay.
I grew up in a small town and thankfully escaped to NYC. Being out hasn't hurt me professionally, but it did hurt when some childhood friends shunned me. We had such great times together as kids and I was naively shocked when they refused to speak to me when I visited my home town.
Need I say they got religious?
[quote]There's a general loss of status when you come out. It's not worth staying in the closet, but it's still a fact. Gay people are not as valued in our society as straight people. It manifests itself in all sorts of ways, many of which are difficult to pinpoint or articulate in the way you're asking,--they're often small and cumulative ('minority stress' is one way to put it) rather than a single incident of discrimination--but they exist nonetheless.
This is so true! And it has nothing to do with how successful you are, or how much money you have. I'm far more successful than anyone else in my family, and yet I feel like they look down on me.
You start to really notice it when you reach your mid-30s. That's when your straight family members, friends and co-workers start having families. You suddenly have nothing in common with each other anymore.
R18, because you wrote that when people ask you IF THEY SHOULD COME OUT to their parents, you say no.
That's what people are criticizing you about.
I do sometimes feel a bit discounted, now I think about it... 'oh, you wouldn't understand...' or 'well, your life isn't like that...' from other people.
One of the first people I came out to in the late 1970 turned out to be a true blue psychopath. I had told her how afraid I was that my parents would find out that I was gay.
It didn't end well.
If being out didn't cause greif than nobody would be closeted. I mean, why would they?
To me being out is a VAST improvement over the alternative. And yes, I'm old and have gotten tons of shit about it over the decades. And in my experience, I've gotten much less tolerant of straight people who categorize you as their "gay friend."
My best from from university was straight, had a gay mom and was unbelievably sympathetic for the time and I loved him for it. We recently re-connected via Facebook and the first outing he wanted us to go on was the Gay Pride Parade. Because I'm his gay friend. So let's do something gay! Maybe 30 years ago that would have been great, but now it seems very condescending. It's like the person upthread stated: little things you can't pinpoint exactly but they do add up. I have little patience for that now.
Being out at work did hurt me financially. Even though I was the top salesman, when business slowed down, the boss's str8 buddy was given a MAJOR slice of my territory "because he had a family to support." Fuck that, I've been self-employed for 20 years now.
[quote]"because he had a family to support."
I work in a business in which women make up a large number of senior positions... and this is a common and very often the only justification in giving work to a straight man over a gay man.
r5, you hit the nail on the head. There is a noticeable "change" ("loss of status", as you put it) when people find out you're gay. I had this happen several times at my old job, being a gay man in my 20's. I worked with several different departments, sometimes one-on-one with other men. New hires would open up to me, assuming I was "one of them", then they would know more about me, and the change would happen. They would either close themselves off in general, or they would still be someone open with me, one-on-one, but if there was a group of us, especially all guys, they would be VERY stand-offish. It was an immature work environment, so any male being observed being overly social with one of the gays would be the subject of the next round of rumors. That hurt, for me and for any of my decent co-workers who just wanted to make friends at a new workplace.
My current job is much more professional and diverse, but you still sometimes get the inkling that there's the "straight boys club", and then there's you.
[quote]there's the "straight boys club", and then there's you.
At my job the out gay guy got fired and the out lesbian got moved to another department that didn't with clients as much.
I'm not coming out at work.
Another issue with family:
My partner's brother has two kids with his wife. His wife's stepfather molested her, her sister, and beat his son while they were growing up. His wife's mother (who is still married to this molester) has told family on that side that she does NOT want her grandkids to be babysat at our house, because we're gay. These kids go to grandmas house every Saturday though, and are around this old pervert who molested their mom. This is all an open secret, but is not supposed to be discussed at all. Bunch of fucking hypocrites. And of course when we have large family functions and have to be around them, the mother GLARES at us like we are completely evil.
r19, did you get revenge?
It hurt me at one job I had here in Texas in the mid 1990s. I was in my late twenties and was out in all areas of my life except work. One guy knew but he was discreet with the info. One evening after work, a group of us went out for drinks. It turned out that most of the guys and girls I had clicked with (four guys and two girls) were gay. I came out to the ones I was close to that evening and we broke off from the herd and partied it up at a local gay club.
The straight soccer mom administrative assistant had overheard us talking about being gay and casually mentioned it to our department manager as what she thought was innocent gossip. Big mistake. The department manager immediately became enraged and said, "That goes against everything I believe in. I'm going to weed out every one of those perverted sickos. Those people are all perverts, thieves, liars and atheists."
Sure enough, in the next few weeks, people started to be written up and let go. The administrative assistant felt terrible and warned me that I was on the list for termination. I still remember the date, April 19, 1995 (the day of the Oklahoma City bombing), I was called into the manager's office and accused of offending a client (she would not tell me which client, but hinted that it was my biggest client) and told that I was unethical in my dealings with said client. It was all total bullshit. I was fired on the spot. There was no truth to the story. I was driving home from being fired when I heard the news report on the radio of the OKC bombing. A bad day all around.
I considered filing charges on my ex-employer, but I never did. I found a better job (a company I'm still with). I have never disclosed my sexuality at work again. I do not discuss my private life on the job. I go to work, do my job and go home. I am mostly isolated at work anyway, so it's no big deal that no one knows about my sexuality. The only thing they know is that I am married to a person named Stacy. They assume Stacy is a woman. They can speculate all they like, but I won't intentionally put a target on my back again.
[quote] The only thing they know is that I am married to a person named Stacy. They assume Stacy is a woman.
So on the job it seems to be the biggest problem. Glad to hear nobody's reporting any hassling in the street or gay bashing etc.
In college when I came out, I went to a very large but conservative University. While not everyone knew one another, you still had a general idea of who lived in your area of campus (dorms.)
Besides being called faggot, which didn't hurt so much physically, once I was heading off to a movie theater (by myself) to see a film late at night. Group of college students began to scream, "FAGGOT" before throwing glass bottles at me. That was the extent of that.
As for work, I always kept it to myself but some people figured out at a small firm I was employed at in 2008. Then, an attorney, who was obviously closeted started making passes at me. He was nice but he was older. So not my type and he was also married. Once while I was making photocopies, he came back into the copy room with me, locked the door and commented on my dick size - which he guessed was large because of my shoe size. There was no one to report him to but he always made me very uncomfortable. Eventually I did leave the firm and I'd say he was about 75% of the reason since I knew there was nothing I could do.
A similar thing happened at another firm where I was employed. However, this guy was on my level. He was just constantly making passes at me, writing me letters and e-mails. It was ultra annoying but he was harmless at first. He resented the way that I got along with other straight people easily & when he got into conflict with one of them he really went in on me to the point of attempting to physically fight me outside during lunch one day. He was psycho. (Of course the thing that he was upset with my coworker and friend about was something which was completely his fault.)
I understand in the work place (and I know some HR people on here always get testy about this) people do like to socialize and get to know one another in some small way. I've just always kept that to myself. I'm not at work to make friends, I'm at work to make money.
I've certainly been gay bashed, but I'm over 50. I haven't been gay bashed in a few years, but the attitudes still exist.
I even lost a job as a charity director because it was a "family charity." In truth, the charity was started by two gay doctors, so it was a lie all around, but the other directors were Republican so they participated in the hate.
We are one of the few minorities where it isn't necessarily obvious that we are not part of the majority. It has benefits of course, but it also has disadvantages.
I never much considered not being out as it didn't seem like a reasonable option. I kinda wish there wasn't that decision to make at all.
Just reading R40's (seemingly innocuous) post stirred rage in me. I am firmly from the school of get a gun and blow away gay bashers. You will mostly likely get away with it in this post-Hate Crime world. Just the idea of it brings back feelings of fury... and, no, I wasn't the victim. Didn't need to be to hate those mofuckers.
I think we're getting much closer to the no decision to make stage. I can't imagine this generation of young people being uncomfortable with the idea their kids could be gay or straight. Especially now they have marriage and they can raise both to expect anything they want. I wonder if 'that's gay' will eventually become something inappropriate to say as negative?
more stories please.
Yes, more stories. I think this is an interesting topic, especially the parallels with other minority groups.