Coming out can be one of the most challenging and scariest things anyone can go through but fortunately, the acceptance of gays and lesbians is quickly becoming more and more prevalent in mainstream media and today’s society. According to a Facebook research study, there was dramatic increase of people coming out on June 26th, 2015 after the United States Supreme Courts ruled favoring Marriage Equality. The increase was over 250%. Thats more people coming out on that day than on the National Coming Out Day on October 11, 2014. Although it is becoming easier for people to come out, there are still some people struggling with it. Sometimes, it may be easier to come out when someone else hears a “coming out” story that is similar to theirs.
“I am 20 years old and I’m gay. I know that if I come out, my family and many other people I grow up will disown me. Watching other people come out makes me happy and gives me sense of hope. Yet, at the same time, it hurts that I can’t bring myself to do the same” -Anonymous Facebook Post.
When I was reading the Merle Miller’s New York Times article, “What It Means To Be a Homosexual,” I instantly drew a connection to it. Merle Miller was a closeted gay man who came out later in his life. He was a soldier, editor at Harper’s and Time magazine and worked with other highly prestigious publishing companies, all while hiding his true identity as a gay man. Miller wrote about his struggles with hiding his homosexuality by masking himself with masculinity. “I was afraid I would never get into the Army…The psychiatrist asked how I felt about girls, before I really had the chance to answer, he said, ‘Next’ and I was being sworn in,” wrote Miller. “I continued to use my deepest voice…and kept my evening to myself.” This resonated with me and also reminded me of a “coming out” blog that I read a couple years earlier. The blog was written by professional soccer player Robbie Rogers.
Robbie Rogers is currently the only active openly gay professional male soccer player in the world. He plays as a defender and left-back-winger for the Major League Soccer team the L.A Galaxy. He came out on February of 2013 in a blog he posted on his personal website. The blog illustrated his struggles with having to hide is true identity from his friends, family and soccer colleagues. After coming out on his blog, Robbie Rogers briefly retire from professional soccer to find himself away from the scrutiny of the world of professional soccer. He eventually return to professional soccer after receiving overwhelming support from the public and the world of professional sports.
“Fear that judgment and rejection would hold me back from my dreams and aspirations. Fear that my loved ones would be farthest from me if they knew my secret. Fear that my secret would get in the way of my dreams.” –Robbie Rogers (his blog can be found here: blog)
Robbie Rogers helped me to come out. I read his blog multiple times and I felt the same insecurities and struggles he went through. I feared the same thing that Robbie Rogers feared. I feared that this small portion of who I am would overshadow everything I did before and would continue to do so in the future. I only recently came out on my birthday earlier this month because I felt it was finally time for me to start living the life that I hid away from so many of my friends and family for so many years. Merle Miller’s article and Robbie Rogers’ blog made it easier for me to come out and I hope that this too will make other people’s decision to come out a little bit easier.