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 Gay Self-Acceptance 
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Waitress in LA

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Post Gay Self-Acceptance
Hey, so I've (mostly) been a lurker on this forum for about two years now and I know that this isn't really the place for it, but I've noticed that several of the most frequent posters are gay, most of you guys here seem pretty cool, and I could really use some...input right now, so, here goes:

I'm 34, religious and gay, (in no particular order), and I've somehow managed to be (mostly) not out until now.

It's not like I'm some kind of macho jock either, I don't "do" sports, I'm extremely sensitive, and I write poetry, for Cripe's sake :funny: , but, somehow, these ingrown defenses I've had built in to me since 13-14, have, (for the most part), held up, and I don't know how to get "past" them. I kind of liken it to the example of a bandage: the longer the bandage sits in place, the more it gets kind of "congealed" there, and the more it hurts to take it off.

I don't know that I'm even ready to come out, but the fact that I've kept secrets my whole life has clearly held me back, (both romantically and professionally). I mean, nobody wants to deal, (romantically), with someone who, in their thirties, is still not brave enough to face reality/the truth, and I keep on wondering, (in the business sense), if people would still be willing to work with me if they knew what I was really like. It's like watching a whole bunch of twenty-somethings march past me into adulthood, with no idea of how, (or if), I should jump in line.

So, I wouldn't say that I'm looking for answers so much as that I'm looking for perspective. For those that are willing to share: how did you go about "Coming out", and what might have pushed you to decide to take that step? And if anybody here happens to be in the same boat as me, how are you dealing with keeping your secrets? Do you think it's held you back, or are you perfectly content?

And for those of you that don't want to, or don't have anything to add here, thanks for listening :)


Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:16 am
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Post Re: Gay Self-Acceptance
Hello! :)

I came out my sophomore year of high school to friends and then my family the next year (well it was more like they found out from other people since I was dating someone). With friends it wasn't a big deal for the most part. My parents rarely brought it up since that year they found out, which for the most part isn't that unordinary since I'm not close to my parents in general. So yeah, for me it was pretty uneventful. When it comes to letting new people know like at work I usually just just reference it in conversation as opposed to flat out saying it. I definitely struggled with coming out at first but after doing it for the first time it was liberating for me.

I'm not sure how it is for you in terms of accepting yourself as gay but if you're still not ready it's a good step to think about these things so you can move towards being more comfortable. If you have any specific questions feel free to ask.


Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:58 am
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Post Re: Gay Self-Acceptance
Don't know if this helps in anyway, but just some thoughts, I think it mostly depends on your support system on how comfortable you could be in coming out, like it sounds like your parents would not be open to it and then it can be tough to "make the jump", but I guess that depends on how close you are with them as well. And so I think what you'd need in order to make this easier, is a partner that's going to be there for you and I think you look at it too harshly that's going to be difficult to form that relationship. Sure confidence in your own being usually helps, but have you tried online dating sites and take it slow that way? I think once you form that romantic relationship first, the part of dealing with coming out in other aspects is then going to work itself out.


Mon Apr 12, 2021 1:17 am
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Post Re: Gay Self-Acceptance
Thank you for bringing this out Manny and I hope you get some perspective. I see that some of the replies here have been really good. Maybe finding someone who can first accept you and taking it one step at a time might help.


Mon Apr 12, 2021 1:49 am
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Waitress in LA

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Post Re: Gay Self-Acceptance
publicenemy#1 wrote:
Hello! :)

I came out my sophomore year of high school to friends and then my family the next year (well it was more like they found out from other people since I was dating someone). With friends it wasn't a big deal for the most part. My parents rarely brought it up since that year they found out, which for the most part isn't that unordinary since I'm not close to my parents in general. So yeah, for me it was pretty uneventful. When it comes to letting new people know like at work I usually just just reference it in conversation as opposed to flat out saying it. I definitely struggled with coming out at first but after doing it for the first time it was liberating for me.

I'm not sure how it is for you in terms of accepting yourself as gay but if you're still not ready it's a good step to think about these things so you can move towards being more comfortable. If you have any specific questions feel free to ask.


Hi :)

So, I've come out to many people, but it almost always ends up being one-on-one's in scenario's that I completely control. I never really had that "first time" where I didn't have the control, and, no matter how many people I tell, it (just about) always ends up being me deciding to tell them. (There was one time I almost screwed myself by doing that, but I think the guy I told was too embarrassed to ever talk about it anyway.)

And some of the people that know try to make sure I don't let other people know, (strongest example is my mom doesn't want me to tell my dad).

I think you're right, it would be liberating for me to do what you did, I just have to get over that feeling that the floor is going to swallow me whole if I do that, (especially hard because of my religious community).

I appreciate the offer :) . Thanks


Last edited by Manny81 on Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:37 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:25 am
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Waitress in LA

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Post Re: Gay Self-Acceptance
stuffp wrote:
Don't know if this helps in anyway, but just some thoughts, I think it mostly depends on your support system on how comfortable you could be in coming out, like it sounds like your parents would not be open to it and then it can be tough to "make the jump", but I guess that depends on how close you are with them as well. And so I think what you'd need in order to make this easier, is a partner that's going to be there for you and I think you look at it too harshly that's going to be difficult to form that relationship. Sure confidence in your own being usually helps, but have you tried online dating sites and take it slow that way? I think once you form that romantic relationship first, the part of dealing with coming out in other aspects is then going to work itself out.


So, my mom knows, not my dad, and I've told about a third or so of my family. My mom is trying to be more open, but it's tough. I was in a relationship that I didn't tell her about until it was over just because I couldn't bear to see the pain in her eyes. She's trying to change that, but I can't force that along. Not particularly close with my dad. I even had a falling out with him when I was eighteen or so, (didn't even think about coming out), and we've never completely repaired our relationship. I'm still not sure if he should know or not.

As far as relationships go, yes, I've tried online dating. I even kind of tried to do what you'v suggested. The problem is, nobody wants to be involved in my "experiment". And I can't blame them for that. Regardless, I can't expect someone else to be my "answer". At the very least, it hasn't worked yet :) . And, you're right. I can certainly be pretty harsh to myself :yes:.

Thanks for the input :)


Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:36 am
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Waitress in LA

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Post Re: Gay Self-Acceptance
Jack Sparrow wrote:
Thank you for bringing this out Manny and I hope you get some perspective. I see that some of the replies here have been really good. Maybe finding someone who can first accept you and taking it one step at a time might help.


Thank you, yes, the replies are great. Thanks guys :) !


Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:38 am
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Post Re: Gay Self-Acceptance
Hi Manny!
You just have to be yourself and accept yourself and when that time comes, you will be ready. Remember the most important thing is yourself. Just do you and you should be ok

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Tue Apr 13, 2021 2:53 am
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Waitress in LA

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Post Re: Gay Self-Acceptance
Mau wrote:
Hi Manny!
You just have to be yourself and accept yourself and when that time comes, you will be ready. Remember the most important thing is yourself. Just do you and you should be ok


Thank you for the encouragement. I really appreciate it


Tue Apr 13, 2021 2:47 pm
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Post Re: Gay Self-Acceptance
In short, you're just going to have to accept it and not shun away from who you are when the time(s) come. Do it at your own pace, but it might also be about time to take that leap sooner rather than later. Living a life of always worrying about this isn't living a very healthy life.

I came out a couple years after High School to some of my closest friends, and they were all fine with it. But I was also at the point to where I didn't really care if they were because I was going to be me, and if they didn't like that, that's on them and their choice. I then came out to my parents shortly afterwards which went very well, but I know that this is often the hardest part for many. I'm very fortunate to have incredibly supporting and accepting parents. And thereafter, if the topic ever came up at work or in public in some way, I was always open about it. I'd mention how that guy is attractive, discuss my boyfriend (now husband), and so on. I've made many a joke with co-workers over the years about being gay, and vice-versa. It's a HUGE relief to be able to make casual talk and jokes about it. And I've never had any negative experiences with being open.

I knew I was gay very early on, right at the beginning of Middle School. But I made it through those rough four years, and then arguably another rougher four years in High School (can I talk about the cute boys yet?!?! I waited four years already!), and then another year or so afterwards before really being open. During my school years, I'd just avoid discussing it, which you can imagine is hard to do with a lot of horny teenage boys always talking about the girls. It also "helped" when I was in school that I wasn't (and still not) a very "gay" (as in stereotypical) gay guy, so just acting as myself for the most part never really suggested I was ever gay. I could fit in with little trouble. I had a few girlfriends, and even went to prom with a girl. I never asked any of them out, but wasn't going to decline. (And I never engaged in anything with them besides holding hands though because...gross.) There weren't any social groups (other open gay people) at the time to associate with, and with the stigma that was still surrounding gay people back then, it would have been asking to be bullied, shamed, attacked, etc., for anyone who was open in school.

Far more people are open these days, and accepting. It's surely a much easier time to come out, in terms of acceptance. Legalizing same-sex marriage has gone a long way in making gay people "normal", and seeing gay people represented on TV, in music, in sports, in movies, and likely knowing more gay people (friends and family alike) as a result of all this is making it a lot easier for gay people to be open with themselves and others now. I especially hope it's easier for young people.

And finally, in regard to your parents (probably the big issue for you): My husband's parents are very (VERY) religious. They didn't "accept" him (especially us) for several years after he came out to them. His mom even made comments like saying they were afraid of him "going to hell." They'd still associate with him and visit him pretty often, but there was always this idea that he was just "going through a phase", and likely hoping he'd eventually come out of it. They'd never invite me over. I never cared much because that was all them. But there were many times when my husband was considering disassociating himself from them, but I always told him not to, and always encouraged him to maintain his good relationship with them. And, while it took awhile (just about 10 years), they came around and accept him and us. We visit each other, met somewhere for dinner or a day out every so often, etc. I even got a birthday card from them, the first ever, last year.

So, come out. Be you. It's cliché, but you will feel like a weight has been lifted off your chest. And, I don't know how religious you really are, but I just can't accept that God would be fine with one of his children not living the life he gave them to the fullest. If anyone close to you is unaccepting... give them some time (maybe a lot of time). Not going to guarantee they'll come around, because not every case is a happy story. But a life isn't one of others' acceptance.

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Tue Apr 13, 2021 4:08 pm
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Post Re: Gay Self-Acceptance
Wow, there’s a lot here, thank you, Corpse, for the thorough response!

I’m trying to learn how not to shun myself now, not because I hate myself or anything like that, but because I spent so long not being fully honest with myself. (Obviously, there’s a difference in how honest I was with myself when I was fourteen vs. in my twenties and thirties, but I’ve certainly never been “fully” honest. That’s part of the problem, I’m not sure I know how to do that, and that’s part of what I’ve been working on.). Accepting myself fully is a different story, and I think you’re right, at some point I’m going to have to take that leap, and I hope I can do it, “Sooner rather than later”, but I don’t think I’m there yet. I’ve been working on worrying less too, but I don’t think I’ve been particularly successful in that arena just yet.

Interesting enough, I came out to (some) people before you did, (despite the back in forth of if I even admitted it to myself. And it did take me until I was twenty-four to be willing to call myself “gay” out loud. Before that point, I would just (half) describe what it was I was going through to very few people). I left home to go to high school, (common in my religious group), and the first person I remember telling, (at fourteen), was in school with me there. It’s probably that back-and-forth that’s helping make this so hard: in some ways I’m learning to admit things to myself that I’ve already admitted to myself in the past, but-not having come out or being forced out-I somehow seemed to have forgotten. (A lot of that had to do with marriage and wanting a family, I think that’s a lot of the reason that I backtracked.)

My actual turning point was at twenty-four. I was giving someone a ride, (half business-half family friend), when I decided to talk to them. It turned out that she was a therapist, (I’m not sure if I knew that or not), and she set me up with someone to talk to. I told my mother soon after, and she was completely surprised and hurt, (for me). We’re trying to work on that, but she often still wants me not to tell people, (including my dad). I’ve told some siblings as well, and, while they’ve been able to “handle” it better, they don’t really want me to come out either. They’re at least somewhat afraid that it will tear our family apart. I understand that it’s my life, but that doesn’t make it easier, especially when I know that it would be “difficult”, to say the least. (I’ve been able to be more honest at work, but, in Covid times, that doesn’t necessarily mean much :) .) I’ve told some other people as well, and I’m trying to get more used to doing that.

I went to religious high schools that were all male, so no girls ever invited me to a dance :funny: . I remember being told not to look at girls, and I was afraid to look at boys, which sort of made me shyer than I really am. Despite what I opened with in my post, I’m also not so stereotypical, (in the words of the new Digimon show, “Somehow”, ;)), and people didn’t guess. When I was called gay, it was with no more frequency than everybody else. (I’m still not sure how much of my “manhood” is forced, if any.). We pretty much lived in a bubble, and that bubble certainly didn’t have anything nice to say about gays. (I’ve even written a short story or two where I allude to the hell called high school.). I was always just deathly afraid that people would find me out. In college, (my first time), which was also separated, I started to admit things to myself, (but not really out loud). I also had my first real crush at twenty-two, (that didn’t go very well), and I left college soon after, (not completely finished). Sometime between then and twenty-four/twenty-five, I became brave enough to say the word “gay” out loud.

The fact that the world is more accepting has actually sort of made things harder for me. It’s hard not to feel like a wimp for not being able to do what seventeen/eighteen-year-olds are less and less afraid of doing. I know that my circumstances are different, but that doesn’t necessarily help all that much.

I’m sorry for what your husband has gone through, but I’m glad to hear that things are better now. I’m glad the “time” approach worked :) .

So, the religious thing has more to do with having a real relationship than me accepting myself. It’s pretty rare for people in my group, (I’m Jewish), to be out and stay religious, (or, at least, orthodox), so people often don’t want to talk to me because I don’t “fit” their expectations. I’m a pretty secular guy, (I went back to college and got a STEM degree), and my poetry is, (oftentimes), not particularly religious, but most gay guys I meet, (basically all online), don’t think I’m “open” enough to even begin having a conversation, (sort of ironically), because I’m open about the fact that I’m still religious. Plus, in a weird way, there’s some sort of anger toward me, (only by some very few people), that I was never “outed”. That, coupled with the fact that I have no interest in meaningless sex, makes it very hard for me to even get to stage one. Someone actually just dumped me, (after three months), supposedly for that reason, (not sure if I believe that at all or not, to be honest).

I still clearly have religious issues, but I don’t think that God hates me. It took me a long time to get there, and I have no intention of giving that up :) .

I think it’s fair to say that I still need time myself, but, like you said in the beginning, I’m going to have to jump at some point. I appreciate all the encouragement.

Sorry it’s so long. Thanks for listening and responding :) .


Wed Apr 14, 2021 2:00 pm
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Post Re: Gay Self-Acceptance
I won't be able to relate to, or discuss many details of, much to the religious side of this. I'm not religious. I simply live by the "golden rule", and if there is a higher power that is (or will) judge me, I trust that living the life it gave me doing so is all it'd want. I didn't grow up in an overly religious family. Most of my family are Christians, just not the type that make religion a dominating way of life. (If that makes sense). They're largely the type that says that one's decisions and the type of life one leads is between them and God only, not any third parties. It's not their place to judge or say what's right or wrong for anyone else.

And if I may, I really think our Churches across all beliefs have largely failed in their mission to preach love and acceptance. No one should ever be growing up thinking they're "flawed", either through childhood or as an adult, because guess what? We're all flawed. What's it say about our teachings if it's making us think we're flawed, inferior, unwelcomed, etc.? They should be doing the complete opposite.

And I definitely understand where a more accepting world could create additional pressure on those not at the point of acceptance, or still struggling to find themselves, or how it may affect other parts of their life.

The family situation definitely appears to be the core determining factor in my judgement on what you've shared. But look at it like this: If you don't come out to your dad (the "key" individual), and to other family members or friends, you're always going to be fighting this. And you don't want to spend your life in a fight that leads to nothing. Nothing will ever change if your mom and siblings assume you're not going to tell others, thus being in "control" of you. And this will be blunt, but if a family can be torn apart by one of their own coming out as gay, they probably have more to discuss amongst themselves than someone (you) being gay. The whole purpose of a family is to love and support one another. I, personally, will never understand how a family would ever consider an action that would do otherwise.

So essentially, not coming out to them, and not even necessarily just saying "I'm gay" to them face-to-face, but living a life where it's clear you're gay to them, is going to keep you in the same position you are now. Take your time, of course. And when I say "sooner rather than later", I don't mean to rush with this decision, but you really don't want to be living in this endless worry loop for much longer, especially when, or if, it reaches the regret stage. Besides being self-prepared (which is indeed important), is the timing in coming out to them really going to change things for them? I don't imagine so in your case since those you have come out to are telling you not to tell anyone else. It's going to be the same reaction today, tomorrow, 5 years from now, and probably 5 years ago. And on the potential upside, the "sooner" you do it, the more time it allows the initial impact to subside and reaction to run its course.

I know you don't want to "tear apart" your family. And you're not. No one besides you has any idea of how things may happen once you come out to them, and even if the reaction does create a rift, that's not your fault. And if a rift would occur, it could also be mended. All families go through difficult situations. That's life, that's family. And it's a families duty before anything else to work together on those situations by supporting one another during that process.

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“Gods are great ... but the heart is greater. For it is from our hearts they come, and to our hearts they shall return.”
"Paper is dead without words / Ink idle without a poem / All the world dead without stories."
“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.”
“You have to pretend you get an endgame. You have to carry on like you will; otherwise, you can't carry on at all.”


Wakanda Forever


Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:55 pm
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Post Re: Gay Self-Acceptance
So, in all honesty, I don’t really care if people are religious or not. I just want them to respect my decisions like I try to respect theirs. And I largely live by the same approach as your religious family members, (obviously, aside from things like murder, etc., that affect others). I’ve met many religious people that suck and many secular people that are awesome, (and vice versa), and I try to judge people by the way they act, not the belief system they espouse, (if I have to judge them at all). I would date a non-religious person, (and I have), as long as I think that they’re a good person.
I very much agree with your point about teaching people they’re flawed and how hurtful that can be, and I’ve even argued that myself. Imagine what the world we be like if we taught our children to love and accept each other, and that that acceptance comes from accepting ourselves. I couldn’t agree more.

And I very much agree with your point about my family controlling me, (which is certainly helped along by my own fear), but, honestly, my family does have some serious issues :funny: . I come from a pretty large family, and I am certainly not the only one with things to work out. A lot of that comes from the fact that my dad lost his parents when he was very young, and that affected all of us, (at least on some level). Not that that means that they should have the right to control me, just that you’re right to wonder how good of a job we do at supporting each other.

One of the downsides to having a big family is that people can always say that, “now”, isn’t a good time, because there’s always something going on. I don’t think I fully realized that. You’re right. I should try to figure out what the, “right time” is for me and how to get there, not worrying about everybody else’s timing, or the, “Worry loop”, will never end.

It’s (probably) still going to take me some time, but you’re right. It isn’t my fault. I’m not responsible for their reactions, only my own actions. I hope my family, (and my community), supports me when I do come out, but I can’t make that my raison d’être.

Thank you.


Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:37 am
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