Sexuality is a sensitive subject. Some people dread coming out for fear of rejection, bullying or generally not being accepted by their peers. Most people are able to come out in their own time, at their own pace, when they are ready. But what about those people who aren't? What about the people who are forced to come out, via blackmail, or the people whose sexuality is revealed by somebody else?
Unfortunately, being ‘outed’ is a real thing, even now. The Urban Dictionary definition of being outed is ‘to reveal some previously secret part of someone's life, originally from someone coming "out of the closet" as gay.’ When you are outed, it is generally not by choice - the term being outed means that someone else who isn’t you has disclosed this information, usually without your permission. It is horrible and awkward and uncomfortable and you can feel completely unvalidated and betrayed.
I am lucky enough to have never been outed by someone. The people around me know that I will tell people my truth when I am ready and have not taken that decision to tell or not tell someone into their own hands. I guess you could say I have inadvertently outed myself though. Let me explain.
When I was 15, I was only just coming to terms with my bisexuality after having been in the closet, trying to ‘pray the gay away’ for the past 3/4 years. I was nowhere near ready to tell anyone yet, I hadn’t even properly admitted it to myself. So after a trip to Berlin with school, I came home and Mum asked how it was. I was so engrossed in telling her about my experience that I concluded my story with the sentence ‘the girls were gorgeous, and the boys weren’t much worse’ to which my mum said ‘is that your way of telling me you’re gay?’ I hadn’t meant to tell her that way, it just came out (no pun intended.) I felt horrified and ended up sobbing.
So although I don’t know how it feels to be outed by somebody else, I know how it feels to accidentally out yourself when you aren’t ready and I know things which come after that from the people around you. The questions. The negativity. The shame. I get it. Here are some tips to deal with all these things that come afterwards and be proud of who you are as well as dealing with the person who outed you.
Now go! Go live your truth! Scream it from the mountain tops - not literally, maybe just say it out in the street.
It’s okay to be who you are.
I love you and I am proud of you.