Coming out of the closet is a whole damn process. Although I am happy with my decision to reveal my bisexuality a few years ago, it has plagued my mind for almost my entire life. It involves exploring your own identity and sharing it with others. You have to come out to yourself first. It usually comes with a realization that feelings you’ve had some time make sense if you define them as something within the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Even in 2021, we still experience the societal codes of behavior enforced on us regarding sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
Most people receive the message that they must be heterosexual or straight and act according to the definition of their gender. A sense of being different and feeling alone exists as it makes you feel ashamed, isolated, and afraid.
And, as I have said. I am happy with my decision to reveal my bisexuality – just like a lot of other people within the community. Coming out made me feel liberated and free. I can finally be authentic and true to who I really am. Then, you find an entire community of people like you. You finally feel understood and somewhat not alone anymore. You also feel supported and inspired. Sure, it’s nerve-wracking and overall traumatizing. However, a reward sometimes exists within coming out of the closet. Once you accept that you’re within the LGBTQ+ spectrum, you can decide to be out to others or to stay “in the closet.” You can go at your own pace.
Coming out of the closet.
Although we have come a long way when it comes to LGBTQ+ advocacy and acceptance, we still have a long way to go. Even in 2021, there are still members of the community that does not feel protected and supported. At this point, allies need to realize the power they have when standing up against homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. There are still people living in fear which stops them from living their lives as their authentic selves. The fact that safe spaces are always targets of terrorism, it comes as no surprise that even now, in a seemingly progressive age, members of the LGBTQ+ community fear what may happen if they come out.
Again, why are people still afraid of coming out of the closet? Here are only a few of them:
- For a long time, people have seen LGBTQ+ people as evil, often resulting in “praying the gay away.”
- The fetishization of lesbians and bisexual women, special thanks to the porn industry.
- Men raping and/or threatening to rape lesbian women to “cure” them of their sexuality.
- Family and friends treating you differently.
- The Catholic-dominated Philippines may tolerate LGBTQ+ people but the county surely does not accept them.
- Parents disowning their own children just because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
- People continuing to call a trans man or woman with their dead name.
- Crimes against LGBTQ+ people, need I say more?
- AND. SO. MUCH. MORE.
Ultimately, LGBTQ+ people fear coming out of the closet because straight people culture treats us terribly enough to make us feel afraid of coming out of the closet.
Angela Grace P. Baltan is a Communication graduate from Colegio de San Juan de Letran. She doesn’t hesitate to be opinionated in analyzing movies and television series. As a writer, she uses her articles to advocate for feminism, gender equality, and mental health among others.