Once you have come out one of the first things that you'll notice is that coming out doesn't really affect you, and how you behave and act within society. What may change is others perception of you, and this is a narrow minded occurrence that is quite difficult to escape from. What you see in a particular art form might be illuminating for you, but someone else might not be able to feel that and subsequently what might occur is that you’ll feel free in your mind and spirit and they’ll still be caged in their prejudices. What many people fail to realise is that the event of coming out doesn't occur once. After you've come out to your close friends and family, you'll constantly be in a position whereby people in society will assume your sexuality. It might come as an innocuous comment from a co-worker asking how your wife was, or if you have a girlfriend, and it is at that point that you might decide to come out, or you might choose to stay within the closet in certain situations within society. You'd be surprised at how often this might happen, it could happen when shopping, when you're on a date with your partner or generally through any other situation where you're talking with people. Coming out is a constant process in a society where sexuality is assumed.
These assumptions are generally derived from people’s interactions with the queer community and the stigma and stereotypes that have been attached to these communities. These communities need to be supported, and it’s something that a lot of Capital Cities need to address, the City of Sydney does a great job in protecting the queer community and breaking down those stereotypes. There's a lot of stereotypes when it comes to the gay community within society, and these stereotypes might cause issues with some people in understanding the truth with which marks gay life. This is in despite of all the positive work that has been achieved in bringing queer rights to the front, in teaching every one of the acceptance of all people regardless of sex and gender.
Indeed, there are a lot of negative stereotypes out there and, what's most disheartening, is that not all of them stem from the heterosexual society as well. All too often gay men are subjected to negative imagery that subjugates queer society by labelling it with broad strokes that they're not real men, that gay men are bitchy and queens that all gay men want to be women, and the idea that you're less of a man if you take it up the ass.The tough part comes from the realisation that some of this negativity comes from the queer community itself! There is often an idea with which gay men are often thought to behave and act in a certain way, and this is especially true for older men who have spent many years in a heterosexual relationship. Often, the response is met with a confused, 'but you don't act gay?’ No. This is all wrong and it can be often quite hurtful when you have your sexuality dismissed based on certain characteristics which you may or may not display. All these negative images do is make it exceptionally difficult for anyone outside the queer world to actually gain an accurate depiction of queer life. People that identify as gay come from a wide diversity of races, ages and sizes.
Whilst many might disagree, the lives of queer men are just as boring and exciting as everyone else's life. People will pay their taxes, and buy houses, and plan and forge a career and represent their country in the fields of sport, music, entertainment and even the military just as gay men have always done throughout the course of history. There is no right or wrong way to be gay. In short identifying as a gay, or as queer, isn't going to change how you personally interact with society. Your interactions aren't going to change overnight and become profoundly different. What might change is how the perception of others towards you. Identifying as a gay male in today's society isn't going to limit you in any way at all. Rather, the opposite is going to occur, and you're going to find that many doors will open, allowing you to explore different facets of life in new and exciting ways.
There is an astounding diversity in the world of queer men as they will inevitably come from a myriad of different cultural backgrounds, as well as a wide variety of religious backgrounds. Just because you decide to identify as a gay man, does not mean that you have to throw all these things to the side, nor will it mean that all the things that are important to you have seemingly overnight, become meaningless. You might have practiced a particular religion for the past X amount of years, and just because you have realised that you are gay, does not mean that you can no longer be religious. The same goes in turn with cultural observances, in particular in relation to Islam, Hinduism, and observances found within Asian Cultures.
After coming out you might decide to continue on with all the religious practices and cultural observances that you held, you might choose to adopt some parts of them and dismiss others, or you might simply reject them all together. It's entirely up to you as to which changes need to occur and which changes simply won't happen. It's not an easy thing, especially when it regards religion, but you have found yourself in the position that many other men have faced before you, and will continue to face after you. How you decide to adopt these practices is entirely up to your own choice, and it should by no means be a choice that is influenced or is pressured by others. You have every right to observe and adopt whatever customs and practices that you desire that help you traverse through life.
The gay community is a vibrant community with a multitude of different facets. If you live in a rural area, you might find this a little more difficult than people who live in the city, but there will still be ways in which you interact with the queer community. People living in rural areas might choose to relocate, they might choose to regularly travel, they might choose to engage with the queer community online, or they might choose not to have any form of engagement at all. It should be noted that if you live in a rural area then you can be considered to be quite vulnerable and that you should seek support, and networking. In most major cities there will be an exceptionally active and vibrant social scene that you can engage in complete with clubs, bars, and venues specifically geared towards the queer community. Further, there are a variety of different community activities, services or organisations that you can become a part of. These organisations and communities will have a variety of, or focus on, particular interests and hobbies. The purpose of these groups, and organisations is to provide a level of connection between people that don't just focus on ones sexuality, but ones like-minded interests, and common hobbies. Just because you identify as being gay, does not mean you automatically have something in common with the rest of the community. These organisations promote themselves on their open mindedness and you might choose to become a part of all of them whilst your find yourself, you may choose to become a part of none of them - there's no right or wrong way to handle this. Just because you don't go to the local gay bar every week, or indeed at all, does not make you any less gay than the guy next to you.