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Was life easier inside the closet?

 
 
Reply Sun 28 Mar, 2004 07:54 am
I've been thinking a lot recently about how homosexuals are encouraged to be open about their sexuality, and society will eventually become accepting of their situation... But it seems as though the gay people I know are having more struggles trying to be open about it.

As I live my life, as a heterosexual, married female, with no kids, and a lot of strong opinions... I don't open all of my thoughts up to those around me. There is a lot about me that my aquaintences don't know...

1. Thoughts on religion.
2. Thoughts on politics.
3. The details of my many health problems.
4. The psychological problems I feel I have due to my family.
5. What medications I am taking.
6. Who my ancestors were (I keep that one to myself for very good reason).

... Things like that. I know that if I shared those aspects of who I am with everyone I have to spend any time with, I would end up in a lot of arguments, and would possibly end up an outcast. I'm not saying my problems are especially bad or degrading, because I think that everyone hides a part of themselves from the world.

So how is that different from a homosexual keeping their sexuality private? I know its a little different, but would life be easier or harder hiding that?

Forgive me if I sound niave, but I'd rather ask than assume.
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Titus
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Mar, 2004 08:37 am
"6. Who my ancestors were (I keep that one to myself for very good reason). " LRR Hood

So many secrets?

Are you the descendant of Adolph Hitler?
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eoe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Mar, 2004 09:15 am
Everyone has secrets and personal opinions they chose to share, or not share, with others but imagine, as a straight woman, having to keep your lover, your love life, that entire aspect of your being, undercover, along with all of the other things you mentioned above?
I can't imagine life being easier for homosexuals in the closet. There's always the fear of being found out.
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L R R Hood
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Mar, 2004 09:24 am
Titus wrote:
"6. Who my ancestors were (I keep that one to myself for very good reason). " LRR Hood

So many secrets?

Are you the descendant of Adolph Hitler?


LOL no, nothing like that.
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L R R Hood
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Mar, 2004 09:25 am
eoe wrote:
Everyone has secrets and personal opinions they chose to share, or not share, with others but imagine, as a straight woman, having to keep your lover, your love life, that entire aspect of your being, undercover, along with all of the other things you mentioned above?
I can't imagine life being easier for homosexuals in the closet. There's always the fear of being found out.


That is exactly what I was saying about all the things I listed. Its a huge part of who I am, and there is always the fear of being found out.
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Windtamer
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Mar, 2004 09:26 am
Quote:
I've been thinking a lot recently about how homosexuals are encouraged to be open about their sexuality, and society will eventually become accepting of their situation... But it seems as though the gay people I know are having more struggles trying to be open about it.

As I live my life, as a heterosexual, married female, with no kids, and a lot of strong opinions... I don't open all of my thoughts up to those around me. There is a lot about me that my aquaintences don't know...

1. Thoughts on religion.
2. Thoughts on politics.
3. The details of my many health problems.
4. The psychological problems I feel I have due to my family.
5. What medications I am taking.
6. Who my ancestors were (I keep that one to myself for very good reason).

... Things like that. I know that if I shared those aspects of who I am with everyone I have to spend any time with, I would end up in a lot of arguments, and would possibly end up an outcast. I'm not saying my problems are especially bad or degrading, because I think that everyone hides a part of themselves from the world.

So how is that different from a homosexual keeping their sexuality private? I know its a little different, but would life be easier or harder hiding that?

Forgive me if I sound niave, but I'd rather ask than assume.


If I told you about my life you would probably soil your pants. That being said, one thing that should be remembered about homosexuality is that, this is a movement, or way of living that has probably existed since the beginning of time. I really don't think that anybody wants to be gay. Would you?

A friend of mine came out of the closet a few years back and I remember being so shocked because he was such a tough guy. I realize looking back now that this was a false front that he put forward in order to hide who he really was. He was truly ashamed of the way he felt. I feel bad for him now because he really is a good guy. He is not a pervert or sexual deviant, or child molester, like a lot of people would think. He's just different, and that's okay by me. I think this is the beauty of God, that we are all different and yet our souls come from the same place, no matter who we are.
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L R R Hood
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Mar, 2004 05:39 am
Why do you think that people don't want to be gay? Some of them do.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Mar, 2004 05:49 am
Quote:
Why do you think that people don't want to be gay? Some of them do.


L.R.R.Hood- And many of them don't. The reason for that is because society, even in this "enlightened" day and age, makes life more difficult for a gay person.

It must be a horrible conflict for a person to live a lie, to deny feelings that they have. The problem is NOT with the gay person, but with society. And many people repress their sexuality, rather than go through the hassle. Fortunately, there are areas of the world where gay people may live in peace, and feel comfortable and secure with who they are.

It is a pity that a gay individual cannot choose to live anywhere that he pleases, without being concerned about being ostracized (or worse) by his neighbors.


0 Replies
 
L R R Hood
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Mar, 2004 06:04 am
SO are you saying that in some areas life is easier inside the closet? Keep in mind, I'm using the word easiER... I'm not saying that any kind of life would be stress free.
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Mar, 2004 06:07 am
No, I don't think that it is easier to live a lie. I think that some people are just not strong enough to go through life in a society that discriminates against you. I think, that for some people, it is the easier of the two bad options.

I think, that in a rational society, a gay person could live anywhere that he chooses, and not be concerned about being discriminated against. I think that the gay enclaves that arose are a means for gay people to live comfortably with one another. I think that it is more than a "birds of a feather" phenomenon.

I am sure that there are many gay people who would not wish to live in a gay ghetto, but just....................anywhere that he liked.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Mar, 2004 06:19 am
Re: Was life easier inside the closet?
L.R.R.Hood wrote:


1. Thoughts on religion.
2. Thoughts on politics.
3. The details of my many health problems.
4. The psychological problems I feel I have due to my family.
5. What medications I am taking.
6. Who my ancestors were (I keep that one to myself for very good reason).

... Things like that. I know that if I shared those aspects of who I am with everyone I have to spend any time with, I would end up in a lot of arguments, and would possibly end up an outcast. I'm not saying my problems are especially bad or degrading, because I think that everyone hides a part of themselves from the world.

So how is that different from a homosexual keeping their sexuality private? I know its a little different, but would life be easier or harder hiding that?


Without reading the other responses (sorry, short of time), i would suggest to you the following:

1. & 2. As you live in the US, although you might get unpleasant responses, you are unlikely to be beaten or killed for your religious or political beliefs. You might lose your employment, but you'd have had to provide some other opening as an excuse for anyone to have gotten away with that. You might lose your "friends," but if someone will not associate with you based on your expressed political opinions, they likely were no real friends to begin with. There is the obvious example of being Jewish in an area in which that is rare, and prejudice is enshrined.

3. This is a non-starter as a criterion--you provide no details, and even were you to do so, no one reading has any idea whether or not your health issues are real or imagined. I don't say that to be offensive, but i really don't think this has sufficient significance. Once again, you are unlikely to be beaten or killed, and unlikely to lose your employment on this basis.

4. My answer to this would essentially be the same as for #3, although it may be that if you are estranged from you family, you may have some small inkling of what a homosexual woman or man sometimes experiences when dealing with an unloving family.

5. Not relevant to such a debate, unless one were reasonably able to assert that this caused you to behave in "pathological" ways.

6. This is an issue closer to the reality of what people who are actively discriminated against experience. When i Ireland, i once met a nasty old bastard who would ask what your surname is, and, if necessary to establish his bigotry, how you spelled it--he wanted to determine whether or not you are of Protestant descent because he was not simply bigoted, but actively prejudiced, militantly so. I told him my last name is that of my mother's family, which is a Protestant name, and then asked what the hell he thought he was going to do about it. I could have given him my last name (and its spelling) and been "approved of" by him, but he was a right nasty little weasel, and i enjoyed making him squirm.

Which brings me to my point. I could do that in that situation, but had the majority of people in County Sligo expressed the same prejudice as him, i might have been in trouble for identifying myself with a known Protestant name. A homosexual man or woman who so identifies him- or herself still risks physical assault, as well as loss of employment. You may be aware of the young man who was tied to a fence and murdered in the western U.S. (Montana? Wyoming?). In Columbus, Ohio, several years ago, a young man who was walking through what i would describe as a "white trash" neighborhood was assaulted, and beaten while his tormentors chanted anti-homosexual hatefulness. He was so severely beaten that one of his retinae separated from the orbit, and he was tormented for so long, that by the time he received medical attention, it was not possible to adequately repair the damage. He was, effectively, blinded in one eye. So you might answer you own question by asking if any of the circumstances you have listed might lead to being assaulted or murdered, or the loss of employment, or the deprivation of your civil liberties--which is what homosexual women and men routinely face. As for one's relationships with one's family, it is a non-issue, but only in that one needn't be homosexual to experience such estrangement--i have had no face-to-face contact with any member of my family for more than twenty years.

I don't wish to be unkind to you, but my inclination is to suggest that you have no idea what such people face; and that your problems, although certainly and reasonably important to you, and not being made light of by me, are likely considerably less of a burden to you than being homosexual is to those women and men in our society, especially given that they may well have one or several of the problems you describe, in addition to have that one "problem" which can put them at risk of life and limb.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Mar, 2004 06:21 am
As a black man keeping my skin color a secret I can really understand homosexuals who stay in the closet.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Mar, 2004 07:33 am
Many gay people believe that, by going through the difficulties of refusing to live in hiding from much of the world, they make it easier for subsequent generations.

Many social movements have believed that difficulty in the now improves things for others.

I admire them.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Mar, 2004 07:38 am
dlowan- I agree. I think that many gay people, putting themselves on the line, have made it easier for the people who come after them. I applaud those folks for the courage of their convictions. What I am saying is that there are some people who do not have the intestinal fortitude to go through the difficulties that many gays face when they are out of the closet.
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Windtamer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Mar, 2004 08:32 am
Maybe I was a little one-sided in my comment, let me elaborate. Alot of gay people feel embarrased about who they are and therefore are afraid to come out of the closet. Certainly there are those who just come out and unabashedly declare their homosexuality, which should be admired. But many people feel that its nobody's business what they do with their personal life and therefore keep it hidden. Nobody should be afraid of expressing who they are, especially in the land that wrote the book on freedom. Supressing people who are different in America is just flat out hypocrisy.
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L R R Hood
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Mar, 2004 09:08 am
There are a lot of people who aren't gay who decide to keep their personal life private.
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eoe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Mar, 2004 11:08 am
L.R.R.Hood wrote:
There are a lot of people who aren't gay who decide to keep their personal life private.


Gay or straight, most people keep their personal life private. That's what a personal life is, right?
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L R R Hood
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Mar, 2004 03:15 pm
eoe. I guess "personal" wasn't quite the right word there, sorry.
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revel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Mar, 2004 06:48 am
Someone very close to me is gay and I know that for all the difficulties and there are many they almost have no choice but to come out of the closet at some point in their lives. Maybe back before the general public knew so much about homosexuality it would have been easier to have a fulfilling relationship or just have your desires fulfilled so to speak to keep it private from you family and friends who are not gay.

Our family lives in a kind of backwards area of Kentucky and these kinds of things were not as acceptable back when we were young adults as they are becoming now. So it was hard for the person I know to come out and admit what we already suspected. To top that off, our family is very religious and traditional. When she first admitted it, for a while, there was a split and she moved to another state in a bigger city. We have reconciled but she still lives in away in a society that is more tolerant of that lifestyle. We have kind of drifted into a way to handle things. We visit her and her partner we just put the whole thing out of our minds and just visit them as though they are just friends. When she comes home for the holidays and things she doesn't bring her partner out of respect for my parents religious beliefs. It has worked out well so far and she seems to be happy where she lives and with the kind of crowd she hangs out with.

Imagine how it would be for her had she never accepted herself. It would have been a lonely dysfunctional existence in my opinion.
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onyxelle
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Mar, 2004 07:10 am
I don't think anyone who's not gay can say whether their life would be easier or not whether in the closet or not.

Something like that would be up to the individual & only they know the circumstances that would make their life easier. People who've got something about themselves that causes a major prejudice

like being of a different race or having an accent indicative of a different ethnicity

are given the tast of dealing with that day in and day out, there's no 'in the closet' about that.

I assume that gay people, once out of the closet and openly gay, take on the same as the people i the above mentioned categories. The same bigots ad assholes who come after people in those categories go after Gays. So...what's that say? Couldn't it be said that anything that's an obvious prejudice that can't be hidden for the world at large is something that's going to make life a little less easy to deal with?

Granted, there are probably more people who're openly prejudiced against gay individuals that anyone else.....but the ease of life for the most part, sort of comes along with choosing to live it the easy way, or not.

This is not even considering the mental anguish they must go through. Is there more mental anguish just being who you are and doing what you want to in the privacy of your own home, or is there more being who you are and letting everyone around know about it and then sitting, waiting and muddling over the abuse that might/will come?
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