This Page - Gay Christian, Gay Christians, Lesbian Christians coming out. (What it means, when it is the correct step to take, when it is not needed, necessary, or the right timing).
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ow, a moment of explanation. When I say coming out externally, I do not necessarily mean coming out externally to someone else, telling someone else that you are gay. That may be part of coming out externally, depending on your individual circumstances, and needs. What I do mean is coming out externally in ways whereby you are able to live fully outside of yourself in the same levels of peace, centeredness, and balance you have achieved internally. You are able to allow yourself to walk fully in your sexuality, your sexual orientation. You are able to make positive, healthy, and responsible connections with other gays and lesbians, able to positively express your sexual orientation through making positive acquaintances and friendships with other gays and lesbians, and able to develop positive same-sex dating, sexual, and relationship experiences. Now that we have clarified that, let's discuss what it means to come out externally.
You have the right to your sexual orientation; you have the right to walk in it, fully and completely within the boundary of Godly Love. To be yourself completely, to the fullest extent on the inside, means you have to allow that inside to come out to the fullest extent on the outside, too. It isn't enough just to be out to yourself and to God, it isn't enough just to know you are gay, accept it, to even see it as good, positive, healthy and normal for you. You have to apply it, and that means applying it outside and not just inside.
To know life to its fullest, you must integrate your sexuality and sexual orientation with the other aspects of your life. To know life to its fullest, to experience complete wholeness, to walk in your self completely, means to come out as gay. Coming out is an act of Love, and act of Love towards yourself and other people. It is being open and honest with life, and receiving openness and honesty in return. It is wrong, it is not Love to believe you can live your life to its fullest from the sidelines, you have to get up and go to bat. Going to bat means you will hit both home runs and strike outs, but the point is this, you are fully in the game, having fun, enjoying and experiencing life to its fullest. Coming out means not just feeling pride within yourself about who you are in Christ, it means walking openly in that pride, being proud of who you are in Jesus before the whole world. Isn't that what you want? Of course it is.
But, having read this previous paragraph, for those of you who have not come out publicly, you may have feelings of fear. You may even be telling me I don't know what it's like for you, what coming out would do to you and your world. Yes, I do understand. I understand both your feelings and your fears. But, I also understand that whatever fears you have, whatever things may happen to you and your world in coming out publicly, I know the final end result will be better, healthier, and more positive than remaining where you are now. The opposite of Love is not hate; it is fear. Fear is an absence of Love. Love casts out fear. Love brings trust, hope, and faith. All these can be found in Jesus Christ. Through Love, you can overcome any fears in coming out externally.
Coming out publicly means change. Some of it may be subtle, but a lot of it may be very obvious and radical. It may mean changes in friendships, hobbies and interests, work and living arrangements, changes in relationships. It may mean the loss of some things and people, but the gain of others. What changes, what things are lost, what is torn down, has to be replaced. The challenge is to apply your newly found sense of inner value, worth, and dignity, to your outer world. The challenge is to create a new outer world just as beautiful as your new inner world. The challenge is to be creative, nurturing, bold, and positive. It means to accept the loss of things you cannot change, and embrace the things you can
When I came out publicly as gay, I did so because I not only knew I needed to be myself totally and completely, but because I knew I needed to do so for the betterment of other people in my life whom I loved and cared for deeply. Coming out is, and should always be, an act of Love. It is an act of Love not just for self, but for other people, too.
My friends said when I decided to come out, I did not just come out of the closet, I blew up the whole closet. I did not just tell my friends and family, I told everyone. I told people at work, I told strangers, I would go to fast food restaurants and say, "I will have a hamburger, a large order of French fries, a Dr. Pepper, and, oh, by the way, I am gay." I admit, I am exaggerating slightly here, but you get the idea. Knowing my past personal history of false shame, low self-esteem, etc., I knew if I did not come out totally and completely, I would be tempted to retreat again to the closet the moment I felt pain or rejection.
In your case, you may not want, nor need to blow up the closet, but you need to come out just the same. Closets are for clothes, and for storing things, not you; closets are also for hiding things, too. Since I blew up my closet I have had a terrible time finding places for my clothes and boxes of Christmas decorations, but I have not had any trouble being me. Yes, I endured rejection and loss, but the greater good I have gained in coming out has made up for such losses, and a lot of them I now realize were not in either mine or other people's best interests. Love sometimes tears down in order to build, as we have already discussed.
Just as coming out to your self as gay was a positive radical life changing experience, so will coming out to the world. You sometimes cannot control the actions and reactions of other people and life, but you can always control your own actions and reactions to their actions and reactions. Did I lose you? By coming out to self, but forming a good and positive self-image and self-esteem, you are now better equipped to handle life in being open about your sexual orientation. Believe it or not, but coming out to self was ninety per cent of the battle, and coming out publicly is only ten per cent.
When you do decide to come out, come out first to someone you know will be Love to you. In so doing it helps reinforce the good and positive changes you are making. This someone may be a friend, your doctor, a counselor, or a co-worker. Frankly, it is rarely a family member, though it sometimes can be a brother or sister, cousin, etc. We seem to have our most difficult time coming out to family members, especially parents. This is understandable. Our family and our parents are where we first found or tried to find love and unconditional acceptance. We desire to belong and need to belong to a family. We are autonomous, do not need anyone to be happy and complete, but we also have a built in need to belong. So, it only natural to desire, need, and want the love and acceptance of your parents and family.
But, all of these people are human, and they may be struggling with their own issues of self-love, self-image, and self-acceptance, as well as their own personal demons and dysfunctions. They may not be very receptive to your sexual orientation revelation, or know how to handle it. Coming out puts the person to whom you are coming out to into the closet. Just as it took you some time and effort, and a nurturing process to come out to yourself as gay, it may take the same amount time, or longer for that person to come out as the friend, co-worker, brother or sister, mother or father, wife or husband of you, a gay person. Sadly, some of them stay in the closet forever. You cannot force them to love and accept you as gay, but you can create as positive and healthy environment as you possibly can to hopefully bring about positive change and full acceptance. You do this by Love, by Loving them, serving them, being Jesus to them. Remember, you are Christian long, long before you are gay or anything else. It is Christ people should see in you first, your sexuality way, way down the line, maybe even last place.
So, wash the feet of those who will accept you and wash the feet of those who will reject you. You may have to change churches, locations, jobs, but that is part of the process for developing and being the person God desires you to be. You may have to build new friendships, let go of old ones. You may have to create a family of your own, where you can both Love and give Love. You make the positive and effective changes necessary, not only for your own life and mental health, but for the lives and mental health of those around you. Reality begets reality, honesty begets honesty, and Love begets Love.