I really feel like coming out is very affirming.
It isn't always reported to be so, as some of us tend to do it as an act of desperation and not always at the "best time".
As someone who used absolutely bad timing to judge when to come out, I was very dependent on those around me to support me both financially and for validation of my gay Identity. Both were denied to me at a critical time in my youth. (I first came out at 15) I was struggling with internal homophobia and shame of my gay self. Dealing with the fall out from coming out, I was ostracized by an extremely conservative family and subjected to Ex-Gay ministries and agendas.
Later in my life I (as you deftly point out) became aware that coming out wasn't an event, but more a process. It is a commitment to self that you become willing to accept yourself as a gay person and refuse the mantle of shame and guilt that may be presented to you. Regardless of how much acceptance you receive from your family or friends, you must be strong enough to challenge negativity and affirm and validate yourself internally. I was met on all sides with rejection and hate and consequently lacked the abilities I needed to be affirming and validating of my own sexual identity. I needed to be able to say, "I am gay, if you don't like it, that is your choice" instead of "I know I like boys, I hope you will still love me."
Coming out is really really good for mental health. I spent many years accepting that my family was right. I married a woman, fathered a son, and hated myself for my desire for men. I spent several years hating them for this, and only recently became aware that truly my own acceptance of myself was what was actually the lack, the deficiency, the Achilles tendon that broke.
SO--Yes come out.
But--also see it for what it is, a SELF DISCOVERY and VALIDATION and ACCEPTANCE.
Grieve if you must for your denial, for the loss of assumptions about your future and inclusion into the fraternity of male heterosexuality, but do it only when you can get support, unconditional love, or privacy and validation. Make it stick. Think it through, I regretted for years that I shot from the hip.
Today I am exceedingly grateful that I got to defeat the internalized homophobia and self hate that kept me in chains for years. Today I am so very happy to be gay and will NEVER allow anyone to saddle me with shame or guilt about it.
I hope every gay person born finds this destination along the journey of self acceptance. Especially survivors of CSA who are particularly targeted as EX-Gay ministries try to tie in early abuse with later homosexual revelation.
Edited by bodyguard8367 (01/31/13 11:16 AM)