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April 2, 2012 | by  | in Features |
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Leaving the Closet


I had two main de-closetings. One took place during the toga party at the mighty Big K, and the other a few weeks prior, on the expansive rolling hills traveling down to our capital. My mother, through a series of sub- conversations, asked me if I was gay. This wasn’t an elephant in the room question; I’m about as camp as Clint Eastwood (although I guess I do kind of appreciate ABBA). I think it was just a cover all bases, general curiosity, I-spy-with-my- little-eye-got-boring hours-ago kind of question. Nevertheless, I said Yes. She didn’t take me seriously at first, but I assured her it was the truth. There were awkward silences, tears, awkward follow up questions, “Imma have no gran-babies” and so on, but ultimately, once the shock wore off we pulled over to a lookout among the fleet of wind turbines. She gave me a big hug and told me I was the best thing that’s ever happened to her. We returned to the car and everything went back to normal. It was as if nothing had happened.

Now it can’t be said that everybody exiting the metaphorical wardrobe will have such an un-taxing experience, including finding out that you’re the favorite sibling. I’m just lucky enough to have some pretty liberal parents (Dad seemed less fased than Mum when news reached). However there are some very conservative parents out there,

with strong unwavering views, whether it’s due to passed-down family ideals, or because they’ve witnessed Jehovah, or whatever reason. If you’re reading this however, you’re likely in Wellington and away from home. If so, congratulations. Nevertheless there will always be haterz no matter who you are. Those people however, are in a severe minority, especially in Wellington. You can take one look down Cuba Street and see that this is a tolerant city. If you’re still at home and stuck with oppressive parents, get out. The toll of moving away from home is worth the freedom, especially at this age. There’s a feeling of raw independence and unadulterated courage that moving out instills. Having said that, I am in a hall. I may as well be wearing a nappy.

Dismissing for now external pressure, there can still be a lot of psychological bridges to traverse before you feel that you can cross the threshold. ‘Am I sure that I am?’ ‘Is my own low self-esteem causing me to aspire to be another guy to the point of attraction?’ You’re probably over-complicating it, but if you really at war with yourself, just bi it up, not to say of course that bisexuality is exclusively a stepping stone, it can just be helpful to those in limbo.

Aside from your own tailored problems, you couldn’t have picked a better generation to be homosex. Most of the work’s been done. The Harvey Milks, Freddy Mercurys and the Neil Patrick Harrises of the world have blazed the trail of public media so that you may be free. I think a good way of judging the attitude of the masses is by looking at public media, the mirror and window to mainstream society.To quote James Morrison:

“Who controls the media, controls the mind.” Most popular teen shows these days have some gay character romping about: Maxi from skins, that gay kid from Glee; his less stereotypical love interest, thrown in to silence those perturbed by constant token representations. Given that America is the factory of most of the stuff that’s on TV, (and I’m informed that a lot of people do indeed still watch TV) the state of their society can be a good gauge as to the direction mainstream Western culture is headed. An openly homosexual President is a wee way off methinks, but they have made some progress.

In regards to individual de-closeting, you don’t have to pour a tall glass of chardonnay, wield a soft cheese knife, throw your pinky out and make a toast. Just start with the doctrine, ‘if anyone asks, I’ll be honest’. It worked for me. It definitely makes you more well-liked and respected than, ‘it’s none of your business’, lying about it, or worse still leading on a female.

Just remember, if you’re still in the closet by the end of university, it probably just means you aren’t drinking enough.

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