You Never Stop Coming Out
"With each coming out you test the waters to see how that person will react, to see if it will be safe, if you will be accepted, or if it will be a disaster."
May 30, 2016
My name is Chantal. I work in social services for the Province and am a member of the MGEU Equality and Human Rights Committee.
As someone who is gay, I can tell you you never stop coming out.
Your first coming out is to yourself, and that can be filled with so many mixed emotions. Then, once you’re ready, you decide to come out to someone else. And then another. And with each coming out you test the waters to see how that person will react, to see if it will be safe, if you will be accepted, or if it will be a disaster. It’s not something that you only do once: any change where there are new people interacting with you, whether it be work or pleasure, family or friends.
There are some coming outs that stick with you. I’ll always remember the four times I came out while I was still in high school (note: when you come from a small rural town before the age of Facebook, the people who you can consider your friends are limited!). The first person was worried about me and showed that they cared, the second was super supportive, the third blocked it out of their memory (or so it seems ) and pretended we never had that conversation (which I thought went well), and the fourth told me they didn’t believe me.
Moving to Winnipeg and going to university expanded my own knowledge of who I am in so many ways. I’ve been blessed with meeting the most amazing group of friends who’ve stood by me through disastrous coming outs, heartaches and learning experiences.
With my new set of friends and new relationships I’ve made along the way, the meaning of celebrations like PRIDE has changed for me over the years. At first, it was an occasion to learn about myself and others like me, to feel less alone, and to let loose. With time, it’s meant being aware of others, creating a support network and challenging ideas.
Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to do lots of volunteer work with the Rainbow Resource Centre, Camp Aurora, and to help student groups find their way. Providing people with a safe space to talk, ask questions and offering a shoulder to cry on if needed has helped me throughout the years feel true to myself and more ready for the next time I have to come out.
Today, PRIDE has a whole new meaning for me. It means starting a new chapter in my life, moving in together with my partner, planning a wedding and starting a family. I know that there will be many more coming outs to do, with caterers, florists, doctors, schools and everyone else who will be involved in the making of our special day and our family.
One day, I’ll probably be coming out again to the retirement residence of my dreams, to funeral directors because you are never done coming out!
The MGEU is a proud sponsoring partner of Pride Winnipeg 2016.
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