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Coming Out Advice A supportive place to ask for and give advice about coming out. Includes a sub-forum for posting stories about your coming out experiences.

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Old 26th Apr 2013, 05:07 AM   #1
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Is coming out selfish?

Hey im new to this forum but have been reading for a while, alot of good advice for coming out!

Over the last couple of weeks i have come out to all my close friends. which im quite proud of being able to do, and things were mostly going alright. Only my family dont know right now.

Last night me and my flat mates got onto the discussion of being bi and coming out and that. And my gay flat mate (who is out, but never really came out) started having a go saying that coming out to someone was selfish and puts them in an awkward position.

Its kinda got me thinking about it. I dont regret it at all because im much more confident and happy now that people know and i can dance how i want in clubs, play music i like and generally be honest. Though the fact that people see it as selfish that i came out has kinda put me on a bit of a downer. It got kinda heated and i was surprised that someone whos gay would take that stance, especially when we were pretty close before i came out, and seem to have changed since.

I guess im just looking for reassurance that coming out is/was the right thing to do. Either way getting this off my chest will make me feel better.
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 05:26 AM   #2
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Re: Is coming out selfish?

I suppose you could say it is selfish, yeah. It's done entirely for oneself.

But, this is an instance where the word changes--selfish isn't bad in this context. Coming out is, like I said, entirely done for oneself. However, it SHOULD BE. Why should anyone have to live for anyone else's standard? Coming out gives one peace of mind and truth of self (even if only temporary), and gives others knowledge something about them that's actually quite important.

Your friend saying this (and I'm assuming with a negative connotation) clearly doesn't know that nothing is ALWAYS gonna be awkward, but it's peoples' reactions that make things awkward and how one treats their reactions. There doesn't have to be anything awkward about coming out, and sure it COULD be seen as selfish, but not in a bad way.
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 05:32 AM   #3
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Re: Is coming out selfish?

Simple answer. no. Coming out is not selfish at all. It`s who you are. Those who think otherwise is their problem.
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 05:38 AM   #4
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Re: Is coming out selfish?

This line from him about putting other people "in an awkward position" is a strange take on things. In my experience, people felt happy to be trusted/included in the coming out news. I think it's significantly more awkward (downright harmful) to expect someone who is ready to come out to keep it a secret instead.
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 06:46 AM   #5
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Re: Is coming out selfish?

I feel your friend is totally off base. Yes, people should treat you the same no matter what your orientation. But the bottom line is that it's selfish to yourself by not coming out to those that matter to you. It may be a little awkward at first but if they can't accept you for who you are then "they" don't deserve to be your friend. You absolutely did the right thing!
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 06:54 AM   #6
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Re: Is coming out selfish?

Coming out is completely selfish. It's not done with anyone in mind other than yourself. How you feel, how you want to act, how you want to be perceived by others. Saying that, sometimes you have to look after #1 and coming out is one of those times when you need to look out for yourself first, and others second.

Also, maybe you're stealing his rainbow thunder a little. I've known gay guys that hate it when they realise I'm gay. As if, somehow, some of the attention they get will be stolen by me.

tl/dr gays are weird.
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 07:14 AM   #7
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Re: Is coming out selfish?

It is done for yourself, most of the time. However, I don't think its a result of neglecting someone else's needs. It is selfish to do it for the purpose of attention, or to try and keep yourself in the spotlight for longer than everyone else, but that isn't why most people do it. Anyway, if we can't be ourselves, what is the point of it all?
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 07:29 AM   #8
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Re: Is coming out selfish?

Cheers for the replies guys, reading them has made it alot clearer in my head.

@Lull23, i reckon that might be what it is. Either that or hes got it into his head i fancy him cos im out, which i spose is his problem too.

It is nice not to hide anything anymore so whatever comes of things is fair dos.
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 07:45 AM   #9
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Re: Is coming out selfish?

The word "selfish" is extremely problematic, it's a label with very negative connotations, it can be used to wound because we think of ourselves as altruistic. Is it selfish to take care of yourself? Or is it self-respect?

If you are taking care of yourself, eating could be called selfish. Going into a relationship has some very selfish aspects, where is the line between self-respect and selfishness?

More to the point, of what use to anyone will you be if you don't take care of yourself?
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 07:48 AM   #10
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Re: Is coming out selfish?

Coming out is an awkward conversation, true...but so is getting hassled by someone about why you don't have a girlfriend/never dated/appear uninterested about girls. Lying about it may only be awkward for you, but its severely awkward. And one awkward conversation ends a lot more awkward conversations, where you are forced to lie.

Selfish? Absolutely, but like everyone else said, justifiably so. I disagree with your friend.

Also, I think it depends on your friends...I once had a friend thank me for telling him. I even said the words "I'm sorry for making things awkward" to which he replied, "it's not awkward, its just something I can't really relate to, but I still got your back."
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 10:14 AM   #11
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Re: Is coming out selfish?

Congratulations! Be proud of the strength, courage, and bravery you had to come out! Big steps. And I get you feel good about that, right? So more questions....

Is it selfish to be honest, open, authentic with others? To let them know you better? To have the chance to be in a better relationship with them? Of course not!

Your room mate is out but never came out? One way of living "out" is simply to be out. Though to me the question would be, what about everyone in your life before you "lived out" -- are they just supposed to get it?

What matters is you're doing what's right for you. Don't let the convo with your room mate cloud the situation. Be happy you've come out!
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 10:31 AM   #12
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Re: Is coming out selfish?

I see, you can feel awkward being closeted til hell freezes over, but it is wrong to impose a simple truth on another person.

Ummm...

Have your friend adjust their meds.
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 10:45 AM   #13
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Re: Is coming out selfish?

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Originally Posted by PeteNJ View Post
Congratulations! Be proud of the strength, courage, and bravery you had to come out! Big steps. And I get you feel good about that, right? So more questions....

Is it selfish to be honest, open, authentic with others? To let them know you better? To have the chance to be in a better relationship with them? Of course not!

Your room mate is out but never came out? One way of living "out" is simply to be out. Though to me the question would be, what about everyone in your life before you "lived out" -- are they just supposed to get it?

What matters is you're doing what's right for you. Don't let the convo with your room mate cloud the situation. Be happy you've come out!

I couldn't have said it better.....need I say I completely agree with Pete?
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 02:13 PM   #14
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Re: Is coming out selfish?

Its not selfish, you are GIVING them the truth.
What is selfish about giving.
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 02:41 PM   #15
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Re: Is coming out selfish?

Nothing wrong with being selfish. You can't just always be making sacrifices for others else you'll eventually break down.

Besides, if there's one thing you should be selfish about it's definitively your sexuality. So many LGBT members falling into depression and whatnot because they feel they can't tell anybody, it just leads into such an unstable and unhealthy state of mind.
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 05:07 PM   #16
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Re: Is coming out selfish?

Perhaps your friend was never in the closet. Is that what you're saying? Or that he just started living gay and didn't care who knew or didn't?

In any event, coming out is definitely something to do most of all for yourself. So in that sense you could call it selfish. But that's not how I use the word "selfish."

I mean once you're out, you're out. You don't have to keep doing it to everyone you know. Believe, they'll find out pretty quickly from those who already know.
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 07:18 PM   #17
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Re: Is coming out selfish?

In my experience some people use the accusation of being 'selfish' as a rhetorical weapon because in our culture 'selfishness' is apparently viewed as a cardinal sin and being accused of this often has (or is apparently intended to have) the effect of putting the target on the defensive or otherwise bothering them or make them back down or change their behavior (regardless of what they may or may not be doing or whether or not it is actually selfish in any way). That could be happening here.

My response to this has usually been to not only wholeheartedly agree with the accuser but take it totally over the top to the point of ridiculousness, much to their distress (I'm selfish? Damn right! People only exist to be used and exploited for my convenience and pleasure then thrown away. Why do you say this as though it's a bad thing?). This usually leaves the aforementioned accuser either sputtering in horror or slack-jawed because I'm not playing according their 'script'.

If someone wants to try this sort of rhetorical assault on my person, I figure they deserve whatever I decide to do to them in response

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Old 26th Apr 2013, 08:56 PM   #18
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Re: Is coming out selfish?

For me, the main value of *any* relationship worth having is authenticity and vulnerability, which can only come with openness. And something as core to one's being as sexual orientation is a part of that authenticity.

I would argue that it's selfish *not* to come out, because by staying closeted, one invariably creates an invisible wall that limits disclosure, and therefore, vulnerability and authenticity. You can't be completely yourself with whomever you're closeted to, because you have to hold back a part of who you are that is something that most people talk about in the course of normal conversation.

So if you don't tell someone, usually it's because you're being selfish, and not wanting to go through the awkward phase of the actual coming out. But in almost all cases, borrowing from Brené Brown, "it is the fear of the dark that casts our light into the shadows." In other words, the fear of coming out is almost always worse than the actual event itself, and the sense of relief afterewards nearly always makes it worth it, even if it is momentarily difficult and uncomfortable.
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 11:48 PM   #19
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Re: Is coming out selfish?

It can be selfish at times, but overall, I'd consider that resistance from others is much more selfish. It is everyone's right to live a life free from hate just for who they are. Of course it's not always prudent to make it a big loud scene, it isn't inherently inconsiderate of others.
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Old 27th Apr 2013, 02:50 AM   #20
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Re: Is coming out selfish?

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Originally Posted by Chip View Post
For me, the main value of *any* relationship worth having is authenticity and vulnerability, which can only come with openness. And something as core to one's being as sexual orientation is a part of that authenticity.

I would argue that it's selfish *not* to come out, because by staying closeted, one invariably creates an invisible wall that limits disclosure, and therefore, vulnerability and authenticity. You can't be completely yourself with whomever you're closeted to, because you have to hold back a part of who you are that is something that most people talk about in the course of normal conversation.

So if you don't tell someone, usually it's because you're being selfish, and not wanting to go through the awkward phase of the actual coming out. But in almost all cases, borrowing from Brené Brown, "it is the fear of the dark that casts our light into the shadows." In other words, the fear of coming out is almost always worse than the actual event itself, and the sense of relief afterewards nearly always makes it worth it, even if it is momentarily difficult and uncomfortable.
As a frequent victim of this particularly vicious rhetorical insult, I believe I will take your advice wholeheartedly and see if what you say actually happens, this will be fun!
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