Coming Out Again and Again

Posted by on Feb 11, 2013 in Shadow Work, LGBT

Just as popular celebrities like Jodie Foster and Anderson Cooper have stated publicly in the past year, I came out years ago to friends and family. It was pretty much a non-event. But as I reach an age where that date was 20 years ago I have to ask myself as a soul-searching man with some amount of integrity and authenticity; Do I need to come out as a gay man instead of just a man?

In principle, I am against the idea of identifying as gay. It is an identity that is a social construction, one that was not created from gay people but by others as a way to separate what was judged in many ways as inferior to one who is sexually attracted to the opposite sex, gets married and raises a family. From this perspective the word has nothing to do with me as a person.

However, looking around in some of my workplaces and listening to conversations, it may seem that I hide some things. Absent from my desk are a photo of a loved one or loved ones. There’s no gold band on my ring finger. I tend to avoid sexually charged language that might reveal the fact that I know very little about women sexually or that I know too much about male sexuality. Therefore, when I retreat from an identity I seem to be invisible.

Which brings me to some real life dilemmas. Through social media and the internet, people who are getting to know me or who knew me before coming out can pretty easily identify me as gay or queer. And if a straight friend from high school uses a word like “pansy” to infer weak or inferior – I find myself taking offense and developing a charge. I can’t seem to avoid my sadness and anger over it, and there isn’t much I can tell the person other than I own my feelings around his use of the word.

Another spot I find myself in occurs when I meet men in a social setting personally. I’ve been in situations before where a buddy has said, “Dude, I wish you had said something about you being gay. I could have fixed you up.” But there’s also a deeper level of soul-searching involved here. It’s natural for me to size up a guy I meet and make a judgment about his beauty of mind, spirit and particularly body. I am a single man who enjoys sex with men. One of my agendas is to succeed in having sex with men. But not every man I meet knows this about me.

So the social identity seems necessary provided I set some discipline for myself about who I am as a person. This relates to shadow work and the process of individuation which Carl Jung developed based on his observations of how the human psyche works. My shadow work includes noticing when I feel “inflated” vs. enlivened. It includes investigating the thoughts and desires that come with feeling shame or secrecy. And of course, I pay attention to and record dreams regularly, engaging in a dialog with my inner characters from time to time.

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for writing about this issue that I relate to very much and for revealing yourself through it.

  2. Thank you for being true and sharing yourself through your blog!

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