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 and the queer community. What may change is others perception of you.
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. Subsequently what might occur is that you’ll feel free in your mind and spirit. They’ll still be caged in their prejudices.
Coming Out Happens Over and Over
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. 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.
Queer Community Stigmas
These assumptions are generally derived from people’s interactions with the queer community. And stigma and stereotypes that have been attached to these communities. These communities need to be supported. It’s something that a lot of Capital Cities need to address.
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. 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.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Being Gay
There are a lot of negative gay stereotypes out there. 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. It labels it with broad strokes that they’re not real men. That gay men are bitchy and queens. And that all gay men want to be women. There is that idea that you’re less of a man if you take it up the ass. A 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. 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.
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.
Lives of Queer Men as Just the Same as Everyone Else
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. 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. 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
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. Just because you have realised that you are gay, does not mean that you can no longer be religious. 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. 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 or 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. You should seek support for being gay in rural australia, and networking.
There’s no Right or Wrong way
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. 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. 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. You might choose to become a part of all of them whilst your find yourself. Or you may choose to become a part of none of them.
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.
What’s It Like Coming Out As A Mature Gay Man?
A Journey of Self Discovery And Acceptance
Coming out of the closet has always been a pivotal moment in the life of an individual identifying as LGBTQ+. It’s a journey of self-discovery, acceptance. Potentially facing societal norms that may not always be accepting. This journey is even more complex for a mature gay man. This article will explore the unique challenges of coming out and experiences. As well as the triumphs of coming out.
Societal Prism: Exploring Gay Culture
Many aspects of gay culture celebrate youth and physical attractiveness. There is a widespread perception, particularly among gay men, that youth is synonymous with desirability. On the other hand, ageing is often viewed negatively. Creating a sense of fear and insecurity among gay men as they grow older.
“Gay culture is being a teenager when you’re 30 because your teenage years were not yours to live.” – Anonymous
These are unique challenges for those coming out later in life. Pressure to conform to these expectations can be overwhelming and can lead to negative self-perception and anxiety.
Personification of Desirability: The “Twink”
Across various segments of the LGBTQ+ community, certain labels exist that symbolize youth and desirability. “Twink,” is often used to describe a young, attractive, often white, and slim gay man with little to no body hair.
Transition from being a “twink” to becoming a “chickenhawk” (the gay male equivalent of a “cougar”) often happens as a man ages. This transition can be challenging. Particularly for those who associate their self-worth with their physical attractiveness and sexual desirability.
Internal Struggle: The Need to Change
Many gay men, like Roo from London, have shared their struggles with the societal pressures of physical attractiveness and youth. They often feel trapped in a “marketplace mentality.” Where their worth is determined by their sexual exploits, popularity on social media, or physical appearance.
Many individuals begin to question these societal norms when they get to 30 and focus more on their mental health and overall well-being. This shift in mindset is not always easy and some struggle with the fear of ageing and becoming less desirable.
Ray Cunningham and Richard Prescott, who came out in their fifties, highlight the joy they now find in seeing young people celebrate pride and feel comfortable with who they are.
Silver Lining: Coming Out Later in Life
Coming out later in life has its advantages. Individuals get to explore their identities and embrace their sexuality at their pace, free from the pressures of conforming to societal norms.
Ray Cunningham and Richard Prescott, both of whom came out after retiring in their fifties, are perfect examples of this. Coming out later in life allowed them to explore their identities and accept their sexuality without fear of societal backlash.
Power of Sharing: The “Not Another Second” Exhibit
To shed light on the experiences of mature individuals coming out, the “Not Another Second” multimedia art exhibit in Brooklyn, New York, shares the stories of 12 LGBTQ+ elders.
This exhibit serves as a reminder of the diverse experiences within the LGBTQ+ community and emphasizes the importance of sharing these stories. It also underscores the need for societal acceptance and understanding of the unique challenges faced by those coming out as a mature gay man.
Double Life: Navigating Fear and Acceptance
Coming out involves navigating a complex maze of fear, acceptance, and societal norms. For instance, Ray Cunningham, who realized he was gay while serving in the Navy, lived a “double life” for fear of being discharged.
Richard Prescott knew he was different from a young age. But had to hide his true identity due to societal pressures and fear of backlash. Coming out involves not just accepting one’s sexuality but also confronting and overcoming these fears.
“Minority stress” is the chronic stress experienced by individuals belonging to a minority group like the LGBTQ+ community. This stress can stem from various sources like societal norms, familial expectations, and personal insecurities.
This stress can exacerbate the fear of ageing for many mature gays and the pressure to conform to societal norms of physical attractiveness and youth.
Celebrating Ageing and Acceptance
A narrative around ageing in the gay community needs to change. It should be celebrated as a sign of survival, resilience, and wisdom. Channel 4 series “It’s A Sin” highlights this by showing that many gay men did not get the chance to age due to the AIDS epidemic. Instead of denigrating ageing, it’s time to celebrate it and embrace the wisdom that comes with it.
Building a Supportive Community
It’s essential to build a supportive and understanding community where no one feels rejected or out of place as we move towards a more inclusive future,
We can create a “rainbow culture” that celebrates diversity and promotes acceptance by embracing each other’s unique experiences and stories. This is particularly important for those coming out later in life, as they often face unique challenges and societal pressures.
Embracing the Journey of Coming Out
Coming out as a mature gay man is a complex and personal journey. It involves not just accepting one’s sexuality but also navigating societal norms, overcoming personal insecurities, and building a supportive community.
This journey can be challenging. It’s also an opportunity for self-discovery, acceptance, and growth. By embracing the journey and celebrating the wisdom that comes with ageing, we can create a more inclusive and understanding society for all.
“Let’s create more of a community, open our arms to each other, create that Rainbow Community where nobody needs to feel rejected or out of place. Now, more than ever, we need it.” – Anonymous