Walking back in

In one of my previous posts I mentioned a friend of mine, “Flannel”. He’s gay, and a week ago we talked about sexuality briefly.

He’s out to all of his friends, his school, but not his family, “obviously,” he said. His main contemplation with coming out revolves around moving into the occupational world in a few years. He’s concerned that he will be denied jobs because he is gay, or get fired if or when employers find out.

He said to me that he’s not sure if he wants to live his adult life openly gay because of this fear.

I was stunned.

After spending adolescence and early adulthood struggling with this concept of sexuality, and for some reason being ordered by society to label yourself, how could someone be so open to the idea of disregarding all the pain, confusion and courage only to walk back into the closet? I couldn’t understand. And I’m still not sure that I do.

I know it’s reasonable for him to be worried about being treated differently based on sexuality — something that no one wants — and I know that gays are frequently disadvantaged in the workplace. But isn’t society making some progression? Albeit slowly, I like to think that there is some hope. The field he wants to pursue is artsy, liberal. Doesn’t that increase his chances of being okay?

I guess that I don’t see the logic behind his contemplation. If he has a boyfriend, or a husband, or any traces of a personal, romantic life, is he going to spend the rest of his life hiding that from 9-5?

I think that coming out is difficult enough. Walking back in, for me, would be unbearable.

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