Tell Them You’re Gay

If you’re gay, outing yourself can be be about as pleasant as getting a root canal. Even if you’re comfortable with the fact of your own gayness, you can’t always predict other people’s reactions.

By Matthew Christopher

rom family members, to co-workers, to friends and neighbors, there are people you want to share your truth with, but whom you’re unsure how to tell.

If you’re ready to come out of the closet but don’t know how, consider these five strategies:

Tactfully tack up your true colors
Frame up that beaming photo of you and your significant other frolicking in
What—a roommate, at your age?
the Keys last February. Put it on your desk, or some other central location where people can’t miss it. Pin that gay marriage clipping to your bulletin board, and place a rainbow sticker on your car. Still, for very straight-minded folks, these subtle and not-so-subtle visual cues could sail right over their heads. If blinders and bias blur their appreciation of your crafty little art expo, you might decide to…

Hint, hint, hint
Monday morning, go into work and tell the coffeemaker crowd how you and your — ahem — “roommate” just enjoyed a weekend getaway at a B&B on the coast, complete with a sunset sail, surf ’n turf and disco dancing. What—a roommate, at your age? Nowadays, chances are most people will get the hint. But isn’t all this beating around the bush just too much trouble? If you’re done with euphemisms and innuendoes, you could…

Shut up and dance
Act like everything is perfectly normal, and the fact of your being gay is a complete non-issue. Bring your partner to the company picnic and be just
In the end, simple honesty is usually the best policy.
like all the other guests with a significant other on their arm. Take it all the way, and whisk your date out onto the dance floor for a spin. Let your actions do the talking. But don’t be shocked if for some, this open-minded worldview just does not compute. In those cases, it might be wise to…

Casually let the cat slip out of the bag
Slip an understated yet unmistakable gay reference into the conversation. With your lover at your side, sidle up to your superior in the buffet line with, “Oh, by the way, have you met my partner, Pat?” Ask how the boss’s kids are, and solicit his or her thoughts on that cool old house you and Pat are thinking of buying and renovating, together. Still, the cat and bag approach may be too off the cuff for some situations. Perhaps a formal declaration is in order. It may be time to…

Drop the bomb
Sit them down for a “talk,” and break the news gently. Feeling tongue-tied, on the spot? Don’t worry—a simple “I wanted to let you to know that I’m gay” should get things rolling. Besides, most people weren’t born yesterday anymore, so you may be pleasantly surprised to discover they’re way cooler about the whole thing than you’d feared. Plus, they probably already knew anyway.

Risky as coming out can feel, it really doesn’t serve anybody for you to live a lie, or for those close to you to go around pretending you’re not who you really are. In the end, simple honesty is usually the best policy. With a little nerve, creativity, and social grace, you’ll be flying your rainbow flag with pride and joy.

Matthew Christopher is a freelance writer who frequently contributes to Happen magazine.
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