Many people have asked me what the title to my blog means… or at least i imagine they would if my blog were not brand new and actually had readers at this point. In any event, i feel that, instead of wait for such inevitable questions, i should just go ahead and explain myself for all of my eventual droves of readers to see when they arrive. i’ve titled this blog “Coming Out Three Times” because i have had to come out three times in my life. i’m still not completely out with any of the three, but as public opinion moves more toward a place where the “unique” aspects of my personality may become more generally acceptable and not potential professional liabilities, i hope to be able to be more fully out in time.
But what are these three times? Most people only really know of one sort of “coming out,” and this is reflected in the current dictionary definition of the term: “an acknowledgment of one’s homosexuality, either to oneself or publicly.” This is one of the coming out experiences i have had to go through, specifically as a bisexual. So what were the other two?
The second, as many of our readership will probably already have guessed, was coming out as an atheist. The process of revealing one’s atheism to others is remarkably similar to the coming out process in the LGBT community. And it only makes sense that it would be, especially in light of the 2006 study that showed that Atheists were the least-trusted minority in the entire United States. So that’s two, but what could the third possibly be?
The third is the card that i play closest to the vest. i only come out in person about this one to the people i feel very close to, because this one above all others could have the most damning professional repercussions. That is my involvement in BDSM. Because even with all of the distance the LGBT and atheist communities still have to cover to be truly equal members of society, BDSM hasn’t even come that far. It’s still an acceptable target of derision in entertainment, and pretty much still solely a trait of either comic relief or villainous characters.
It is also still an acceptable target for discrimination, legally speaking, because the primary definition is currently based on practices, rather than orientation (which i think is a mistake, as i believe it is actually an orientation, but that’s a discussion for a later entry). In fact, i have heard a number of stories of people losing their jobs, including a number of people in my chosen field, simply because their participation in BDSM activities became known to their superiors. They weren’t flaunting it or even talking about it in a professional environment at all, but the fact that that was a choice they made in their private lives was enough to get them terminated.
This is why i write under a pseudonym. This is why, for the time being, i must accept the unfortunate irony of using a title with the words “Coming Out” when i am still not fully out myself. This is why i must spend the majority of my time putting on a happy face and show of normalcy, even while longing at a very basic level to be able to simply be myself and have that self accepted, and maybe even valued, by my fellow human beings. It can be a pretty shitty way to live a life, but it’s something i must endure for the time being, while hoping that sometime down the road (hopefully within my lifetime), people like me will no longer be required to hide in plain sight.