What do you think the closet or being closeted means to you?
The closet was a safe place at one point in time, where I could be while I was still figuring out who I was and how that could fit in to my family as that person. Fitting into society as a whole hasn’t really ever been a part of it – I’ve always been strange enough that I was never quite going to fit in to any social group or pass as a “normal” person for longer than about 6-8 hours at a time (and even that probably doesn’t hold up under much scrutiny).
I have tended to only come out of the closet when there was a compelling reason to do so, or I just couldn’t hold it to myself any longer. However, coming out as a concept has become much more complicated for me over time – I prefer to be out, for sure, but the idea of the necesssity of making a big deal out of it has been starting to strike me as weird. I mean, being bi, poly, non-binary – these are normal things and I should be able to talk about them in ordinary conversation without it being a big deal.
They say coming out reduces the stigma around marginalized groups, but I think that it doesn’t have to be a big deal to do it. Heck, think of a world where it isn’t a big deal for someone to off-handedly mention their same sex partner when talking about vacation plans (even when they’ve never talked about them before) or mention that they prefer they/them or xie/xir pronouns without someone picking on their grammar. Imagine a world where this is a normal ordinary thing for people to do. I like that world, so I do what I can to create that world, by trying to talk about my sexuality, gender identity, and relationship styles without implying that they should be anything but normal and ordinary.
Granted, as much as I like the idea of that world, I grew up in this one, where these things aren’t normal or ordinary. So, sometimes having a foot in the closet is necessary to maintain economic security or safety. And sometimes my ideals don’t match my situation and I am a hypocrite – I am slowly introducing my parents to the idea of non-cisgender gender identity, so I can talk about my situation comfortably eventually and know that they have the whole context in which to judge it. I am sharing my experiences with my partners on Facebook and slowly widening what I am comfortable sharing about any of my relationships and the group of people I am comfortable sharing it with. I am hoping that I can bypass coming out as an event to my extended family by just presenting my life as it is to my family on Facebook.