Coming out – what does this truly mean?
Coming out – what does this truly mean?
Living in a same sex relationship is to me – talking from my livingness and the way I feel about it – absolutely normal. To my heart, I never questioned if it could be ‘right’ to love a person with the same sex. I just did. I loved men and women. Equally. At any given moment.
But fact: I’m not divided from the rest of humanity, society, my family etc. And this is where a whole new category of living my life is interwoven. There are some who think it’s ‘not normal’ to live in same sex relationships. There are some who still think I haven’t found the ‘right man’ yet. Some might even think it’s a loss for the world that I didn’t marry a man and found a family in a traditional sense, giving birth to kids and building a house and having a dog. “You would have been a great mother”, or “What’s wrong with you – didn’t you want kids?” . . . these are questions I heard way more than only once.
And as I am, due to my profession a person in the public eye, and having recently published a book, where the marriage to my wife was officially announced, I had observed an even more interesting phenomenon. Journalists wrote: “She’s having her ‘coming out’.” One headline said, “I love a woman” . . . and, so what?
Whilst this book is a 295-page philosophical work about life, the way we live together, and from that covers topics like suicide, drugs, psychological abuse in families and politics, the three pages about my marriage were enough to get the whole publishing process turned into a ‘coming out’ story. The media took that as the spectacular insight from the entire book.
I honestly had a laugh on this. Are we really that far back in the middle ages with our way of thinking about relationships that a same sex relationship is still worth such an effort, such a focus? I have many colleagues in my profession who would rather die than be ‘out’ in public. They hide a beautiful partner, show up on red carpets with an opposite sex gender ‘replacement’ instead of standing for their truth. Well, I feel it is not to blame my parents, friends or society for them having a way of thinking like this; it is rather to look at, what does ‘coming out’ truly mean?
I remember an interview about my book with a journalist who asked me: “So, you have now had your ‘coming out’. Can you say more about that?” And I paused. I felt what he had just asked me. And I lovingly replied,
“I had no ‘coming out’. That is what the media has made it about. I just am”.
He looked at me and obviously had a question mark in his head; “What do you mean with this? You just talked about your marriage with a woman”?
And I said, “True, but why is this a ‘coming out’?”
He still looked confused. “Well, this is committing to live a gay life in public. Did that have any negative effect on your career?”
I paused again. Not that I haven’t heard questions like that before many times. But I allowed myself to deeply feel into what caused these questions, and what I felt needed to be addressed with this question. And I replied, “Well, we need to stop here for a moment. By the way you ask me this question you already say I had a ‘coming out’. But that assumes that I did. But I didn’t.”
Now he totally lost it. “What do you mean? You had a ‘coming out’, or…?”
And I went on, “Well, that is how you call it. The moment I would agree, I would agree to be living in a way that is not normal. That I’m ‘outing’ me for living in a way that needs to be outed at all. That I’m not conforming with how, let’s say society, would suggest a normal way of living has to be. But I’ve got nothing to admit, as there’s nothing wrong, different or not normal about the way I live. I love. Full stop. I will not commit to saying I had a ‘coming out’, as all I did was write a very honest and open and transparent book about how I sense society works. And part of this transparency is to bring up as well, how glorious and divine the relationship is that I’m currently living in. And as this is with a woman, you – the media – made it a ‘coming out’. But for me it isn’t. I know this is a term we use. But why not look at why we use this term so unquestioned? As to my senses this is caused by the fact that we are living in a world where everything is based on the question of ‘right and wrong’ before anything else.”
“So, heterosexual was always seen as the ‘right’ way of living, and anything apart from that was tolerantly accepted. Nothing more. If it was simply accepted as normal as it is and been seen as an equal way of loving, we wouldn’t need the term ‘coming out’, would we?”
Now he went silent.
“And further to that . . .” I continued . . . “Isn’t when you ask questions about my same sex relationship, what you’re truly asking is what’s going on in my bedroom? As this would be an exciting story to read. A gay relationship! Is that truly worth a headline?”
He still sat in silence.
“I’m wondering if we as a society are truly that far off from true relationships and true intimacy that this is truly a question you are asking on behalf of the readership of your newspaper company, promoting itself as a serious and open institution for honest reporting, whilst in fact all you do by asking me this question is manifest a model of thinking, that heterosexual is ‘right’ and homosexual is therefore still worth a report. Why not offer something new to your readers? Why not expose the lie and ask me your questions the way you would ask a heterosexual person?”
Still quiet. Humbled, as my body senses him.
“We only have a chance to stop the circulation of lies by changing the way of reporting. By nominating the truth of things. I don’t care about my reputation, or if you publish this or not. But I do not stand up for a lie claiming it to be my truth, by saying I had a ‘coming out’, whilst this is not my truth. The truth is: I love. I stand up for a society that knows it doesn’t make a difference who you love, as long as a relationship is at its basic level respectful, honouring and always caring to evolve another. Under this aspect I feel a lot of marriages and relationships, whether they be heterosexual or homosexual, could be questioned about their truths. How many people in your life as a journalist have you interviewed that you felt have truly and honestly had a marriage like this? How many hadn’t had affairs or abusive relationships with their partners, or – and this to me is the worst case – lived a glamorous life according to how society would paint as the perfect picture…?”
After a while he looked at me and said,
“I never felt so much love. And honestly, I’ve never felt so exposed for seeing how much I myself was caught up in these pictures about right and wrong. The ‘normal’. The speed in which everything just has to be delivered. The outcome of how we have to produce articles bringing up as many clicks through fancy headlines as possible. I sense deeply what a truth you bring up here.”
“And so,” I said, “What’s the hesitation I can feel?”
He lowered his head and said, “I don’t know what to write now. And I feel ashamed for asking you these things.”
“I’m totally fine”, I replied, “I know this is the ‘normal’ procedure.”
We both had a laugh.
“But seriously, why not make a gift to the world and bring out an interview based on the intimacy we now grounded together, that is not ticking the boxes, but bringing truth? Building the new normal!” He smiled at me. “I like the idea… Let me see what I can do.”
In the end the interview did show many aspects of what we had talked about, whilst still the question remained about my ‘coming out’ – so the wording was exactly what one would have expected – but he did publish my replies. And with that he committed that he agreed. I knew he was supposed to produce a story, which he might have on a superficial level. But fact: through publishing my replies he made accessible a new perspective. That was extraordinary.
If we transfer this story to a talk between you and friends or family members, what it comes down to is — there is no society as such. There is no one to blame. It’s group consciousnesses we are dealing with. What is there to be done is to be transparent yourself, to give people space to expose the lies that they have been trapped in. The fact that there are still pictures about a right and wrong in relationships is because they haven’t been exposed.
The only reason why I could speak up like that in the interview is because I claimed what my truth is.
I didn’t allow false pictures to run my consciousness; in other words, I value my virtues. And that is the ground level, to not fall for a security that was never true in the first place, the security of wanting to not be rejected (or wanting to be liked) by ideals that do not match our truth. As it is not the dads or mums, friends or racists – or like in the described case, a journalist, or the media – in this world that are the enemy, it is the false ideal, the illusion of right and wrong that if we buy into, we constantly keep it going. This ongoing circulation needs to be stopped. This is what we need to stand up for, no matter who you love.
As long as this is a matter of personalisation, of an individual wanting to get out of the victimisation of being held less because of being gay, the one that does it – you yourself – hold yourself as less, as there is never anyone a victim. You only allow other truths – which in fact cannot be truths if they are harming anyone, as a truth is always true for all and never for some – to dominate you, which then makes you feel you are a victim.
Claim what you know is true. Never doubt your sensitivity. And make the world change simply by being you in full. It’s needed.