Oh, the times they are a changin’…

With this being National LGBTQ History Month, I also think it is important to celebrate the present. Our city, Cleveland, has had a few victories this year that definitely need celebrating. While we still have a fight ahead of us, acknowledging where we have made advances gives us strength to fight on. Share with me in this and know that each of you are a part of this.

Say what you want, but gay bars have been the cornerstones of LGBTQ culture for a very long time. They have been sanctuary, front lines of rebellion, keystones to neighborhoods, and starts of our “out lives”. As we move forward through our history, we are seeing a decline in those establishments.

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Leather Stallion Saloon Cleveland, OH

In the 1960s, as New York’s gay community started coming into its own, we needed a place where we could come together without fear of reprisals. Until that point, there were laws in place, in most of the country that gay men could not be served in public. All it took was for a bartender to assume you were gay for them to not serve you and even have you arrested. Sit to close to another guy, busted. Touch a man that looked intimate, cops showed up and probably smashed your head. Even meeting in public places was dangerous. Cruisy areas were heavily patrolled and regular arrests were made. But the LGBTQ community had an unlikely ally, the Mob.

New York had a liquor law that barred what they called disorderly conduct on premises, this was used to make sure that gay men didn’t dance together in bars or even be romantic with one another. The Mob saw this as a perfect business opportunity. The Genovese family was the “Dons” of Manhattan’s West side bar scene, which included the Village, where the LGBTQ community was getting its start. “Fat Tony” a.k.a Tony Lauria bought the Stonewall Inn in 1966 and made the first gay bar. It was run very cheaply; no running water, no sanitation for dishes, bathrooms not cleaned or maintained, and no fire exit. It was, however, a place we could go freely and be who we were without fear of being arrested. It also gave a safe place, as long as it was open, to runaways and LGBTQ homeless.

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Stonewall Inn New York

After the events at Stonewall, more gay bars started popping up in cities all over the country. As years progressed, they weren’t just limited to larger progressive cities. This gay more rural LGBTQ people opportunities to meet others like themselves to alleviate the feeling of being alone, even if it was only once every month or so. We knew we had a place to go where we felt like we belonged and could meet others. For me I remember it being more like a community center with a bar. TVs showed LGBTQ movies, TV Shows, and videos. Events were held each month and clubs like Leather Clubs or Pride Committees. It was the place you could come and see people you didn’t get to see daily and just be yourself. The Internet hadn’t really come to handheld devices yet, so this was our meeting place.

Over the years, LGBTQ bars in Cleveland have come into existence, thrived, and closed often. Leaving the landscape shaped by their being. In the 1970s there were as much as two-dozen gay bars, according to Cleveland.com. Their main areas were the Warehouse district and a small stretch of St Claire. From then until the mid 80s, they scene was thriving and exciting Many bars held specialty balls and events and the parties were wild. U4ia and Bounce were some of the bigger nightclubs and more popular for drag shows, both have now closed. A Man’s World, Leather Stallion Saloon, and Cocktails tended to be more neighborhood styles bars with Man’s World and Stallion catering to the leather crowds. At present there are roughly six LGBTQ bars left in Cleveland; Leather Stallion, Twist, Cocktails, The Hawk, Vibe, and the newest Shade. Leather Stallion frequently holds neighborhood events and caters to its original leather clientele. While Twist and Cocktails have smaller stages, they do host drag events.

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Twist Social Club Lakewood OH

As the 90s moved into 2000s, we saw computer gets smaller and cell phones move to smart phones. Apps were being developed that let us meet people without having to leave our homes. This was the start of the decline of the gay bar scene. Craigslist also gave freedom for random sexual encounters. With all of these changes, we saw that the bar scene slowly started falling away as the cornerstones they once were. Society, as a whole, has shifted as well. It is now much more accepted to be LGBTQ than it was in the 1960s, so the need for the sanctuaries has seemed to have fallen away. Many more conventional bars are more accepting of all sexual orientations, so niche bars are less frequented.

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The Park Roanoke, Virginia

Throughout our history we have celebrated our differences. We have reveled in our promiscuous sex life and wanted our own safe place to be as we are. With the shouts of “We’re here, We’re Queer, get used to it,” we expected others to take us at what we were. History progressed and we slowly started fighting for our right to marry, have a family and be like everyone else. Our radical sides fell away and we wanted to go back into the closet, so to speak. We fought against heterosexuals for so long and now we were fighting to be like them. Our acquiescence is what has caused a central core of our community to be left behind. I am not saying that it right or wrong, it just is.

I think it is important to remember where our foundations lie and we must accept that gay bars were a vital part of that foundation. Our community has changed, but it is still the gay bars that were where our fight began. Let us remember them and if they still exist near you, frequent them to show that you remember. We may need them again, one day.

 

 

Celebrating the Victories

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With this being National LGBTQ History Month, I also think it is important to celebrate the present. Our city, Cleveland, has had a few victories this year that definitely need celebrating. While we still have a fight ahead of us, acknowledging where we have made advances gives us strength to fight on. Share with me in this and know that each of you are a part of this.

Fighting is hard, especially in the instances of civil and social justices. We get focused on the need to push forward and what the next battle is going to be that we often forget to take a moment out to celebrate what we have gained. That doesn’t mean we should not stay focused, but we need to recognize victories that have been gained. Currently, Ohio and Cleveland are both a battle ground for getting protection status for LGBTQ people in the work place. When only 20 states have any form of protection status, every additional state added to that list is very important.

Again, victories are important and something I think we should take a moment to celebrate. Mayor Jackson has made appointments recently that are leaps for our community. Sherry Bowman was appointed as LGBTQ+ Representative to Cleveland’s Community Relations Board. She is both a native Clevelander and a long time activist in the LGBTQ+ and African American community. In 2006 she created a website called feelgoode.com to provide information and access to people to get involved in local activism. When the site closed in 2012 it was receiving 300,000 hits per day. She went on to become actively involved in local advocacy groups and was instrumental in helping shape Cleveland’s nondiscrimination ordinances. This year the mayor appointed her, to serve as a LGBTQ+ representative on the Cleveland’s Community Relations Board. This position is responsibility to help build positive relationships between City Hall and the LGBTQ+ community at large. Sherry’s goals include more economic opportunities for the LGBTQ+ community, reducing violence against the transgender community, and to maximize collaboration between the various organizations that serve the LGBTQ+ community.

We also saw the appointment of Commander Deidre Jones as a LGBTQ Liaison to the Department of Safety. Deidre has long been out in her 30 years service with the city. Her role as LGBTQ liaison will be to build on and strengthen relationships between the Police and the LGBTQ+ community. Part of her means to accomplish this is to work on increasing recruiting from the LGBTQ+ community, to meet with and examining other Police leaders to bring back best practices to Cleveland, provide ongoing training to officers, and to meets with business owners of the LGBTQ+ community to ensure their public safety needs are being met. She is also working directly with officers on cases involving the LGBTQ+ community on how to respectfully write reports, behave on scene, and interact with the media. “I want to improve the basic interaction,” Jones says, “to make sure that LGTQ+ people are afforded the same dignity and respect from officers that everyone else would get.” Commander Jones wants to increase visibility of Police and Public Safety as allies and to keep the tradition of police participation at Cleveland’s annual Pride in the CLE celebration.

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Kevin Schmotzer was appointed as the first LGBTQ+ liaison to Mayor Frank G. Jackson, this year. His position is to address the needs of the LGBTQ+ community with the internal departments, social service organizations and coalitions and as an adviser to the mayor. Mayor Frank Jackson was quoted saying, “Mr. Schmotzer will helps us expand and advance nondiscriminatory policies that move our entire community forward.” Kevin has been working with the city of Cleveland for two decades and served as the Executive of Small Business Development for attracting entrepreneurship, creating and administering programs, and financial incentives for economic development in Cleveland. Mr. Schmotzer also served on the 2014 board for the Cleveland held Gay Games.

We also have the recent passing of the Cuyahoga County Non-Discrimination Ordinance. This ordinance gave equal protection and access employment, housing, accommodations, including public bathrooms and locker rooms. This allowed Cuyahoga to fall in line with most of its localities that already had these types of protections in place and a further step to ensure that all of Ohio has them, as well.

We still have a way to go in our fight and the forward momentum needs to be carried along. Whether you are out, have plans to come out, or not we need to rally together to ensure that all people are equally accessed to services. None of us should ever feel that we are not a part of the global collective. Find your means to fight and speak out. Civil disobedience or full on activism, all aspects are needed to make a change.

 

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LGBTQ Myths

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In honor of it being National LGBTQ History Month I thought I would dedicate my blog to sharing coming out stories, facts and or questions about coming out, LGBTQ history tidbits, and things that are important but feel good at the same time. So, sit back, read, and as always let me know what you think. As this isn’t my personal post but from another website, I apologize for the lack of inclusion. Their website does have great information, just wasn’t much in the way of inclusion in this post.

Myths and Facts about Sexual Orientation in Identity

There are lots of myths about sexual orientations and what they all mean – we clear the misconceptions up and give you the facts about what different sexualities mean. Republished with the permission of LGBT Youth Scotland. https://www.lgbtyouth.org.uk

Myth: Being lesbian, gay or bisexual is just a phase.

Fact: Lots of people do experiment with their sexuality, but for lesbian, gay and bisexual people, being attracted to the same gender or both genders all their life is no different to straight people being attracted to the opposite sex.

Myth: Being lesbian, gay or bisexual is a choice/lifestyle.

Fact: People do not choose who they are attracted to, whether they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or straight.

Myth: Lesbian, gay and bisexual people can be cured.

Fact: There is no valid scientific evidence that shows a person’s sexual orientation can be changed, but many experts have warned that trying to do so can be extremely damaging.

Myth: Being lesbian, gay or bisexual is unnatural.

Fact: There is nothing unnatural about being attracted to or loving someone regardless of their gender.

Myth: Being lesbian, gay or bisexual means you can’t be religious.

Fact: Although some religions/ faiths still condemn being lesbian, gay or bisexual, lots of LGBT people are religious or follow the teachings of a religion.

Myth: Bisexual people are just confused.

Fact: Many people are attracted to more than one gender all their lives and don’t feel any more confused over their sexual orientation than anyone else.

Myth: Bisexual people are greedy.

Fact: Being attracted to more than one gender doesn’t make a person greedy, it’s no different from being attracted to one.

Myth: Bisexual people are just gay or lesbian people who haven’t admitted it yet.

Fact: Some gay and lesbian people will identify as bisexual first as part of the coming out process, whereas other people who first identify as gay or lesbian people may later identify as bisexual, but many people happily identify as bisexual all their life.

Myth: It’s fashionable to be bi.

Fact: Some people may think its cool/fashionable to be bisexual, but this type of attitude can prevent people who are genuinely bisexual from being taken seriously. This links back to ideas of sexual orientation being a choice or a lifestyle that can be changed.

Myth: Lesbians/gay men fancy every woman/man they see.

Fact: Some lesbians/gay men will be attracted to lots of women/men and some just a few; most will be somewhere in the middle. Your sexual orientation has no direct relation to how many or how few people you are attracted to and is no different to heterosexual people’s attraction to people of the opposite gender.

Myth: Lesbians/gay men are promiscuous and will try and jump into bed with every woman/man they meet.

Fact: Again, a person’s sexual orientation has nothing to do with how many or how few partners a person will have.

Myth: All lesbians are butch/All gay men are camp.

Fact: Gay, lesbian and bisexual people are as varied as straight people. Some lesbians will be butch and some won’t. Some gay men will be camp and some won’t. You should never feel pressure to act a certain way or change how you behave just because of your sexual orientation.

 

Other side of the coin.

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In honor of October being National LGBTQ History month, I feel it is important to talk about coming out. October 11th is National Coming Out Day, so this should be a time of reflection to those who wish they could come out and cannot find the means to do so. It should be a time for celebration of coming out, remember why we go through it, encouraging and helping others with coming out. We all know that it doesn’t stop; we are constantly coming out to new friends, to our jobs, family members, or whatever.

I feel our community, myself included, often judge those that aren’t out. How many times have we been on our apps and have seen the married person that is looking for a hookup. We all go through that moment of “Who is this closeted queen looking for sex?” Or maybe that brief thought of fulfilling some fantasy of sleeping with the unattainable straight person. Instead of thinking what struggles they have be going through. Not everyone feels comfortable with the thought of coming out it is a huge decision. We all have worried about what we may lose when those around us find out that we are LGBTQ. Then there are those of us whose fear of that is crippling that we remain hidden.

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Photo by Alexander Dummer on Pexels.com

Coming out as an older LGBTQ person has its own unique sets of challenges. Many grew up with the horrible images of what Hollywood portrayed LGBTQ people. It became second nature to hide, if you didn’t fit the stereotypes that were out there. That lead to getting married in hopes you could change. When it didn’t you ended up lying to your spouse as to where you were when you disappeared. Once you are married you fear coming out because you fear whom it may hurt your life as well as destroy your spouse for something you felt ashamed to share. It only becomes worse if there are children involved. So you lived a lie suppressing who you are or sneaking around cruisy spots when the need becomes too much to bear. We shouldn’t have to live this way.

If you are at a point you feel that you are ready to start coming out, there are still other concerns many face. The gay community is rife with showing hot young guys with “perfect” bodies that are happy, having lots of sex, and lots of attention. Age becomes an issue and you fear you will never find anyone that may be attracted to you. Due to this they often over compensate for it by dressing younger than they are, dying their hair, taking on younger affectations, or even spending large amounts of money. Drugs and alcohol often can come into the picture and lead to many more serious problems.

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Photo by Tomáš Gal on Pexels.com

Many also worry that they carry to much baggage, from their lives before coming out, to find love. They fear that many will see they have an ex spouse or children and no one will want to take that on. Or their lack of experience will make them less desirable. None of us knew what we liked the first time we tried things with someone. Those that are coming out later in life feel they are coming late to the party. That everyone else already knows what they like and you have no idea. It may also be that they want a monogamous relationship and because of that they turn away people for fear that it won’t result in that.

Those that don’t come out are forced to endure the portion of the LGBTQ community that judges them and this leads to exacerbating those fears. We all need a safe network when we come out and if our community stands in judgment, how do we foster that support. Remember back to when you came out, it wasn’t all unicorns and rainbows. We all had some fear of people reacting to it. We should be the extended hand in the maelstrom, not the tide that forces them under. Yes I am an advocate for being out, it is important to do so. But I also understand why some chose not to and there are some valid reasons behind many of those choices. Just remember that we are only in charge of our happiness, not the happiness of others.

October is National LGBTQ History Month and October 11th is National Coming Out Day, reflect on the meaning of those and the strides we have taken when we decide to judge others. Remember those courageous people that have taken those steps and gain solace and strength. From them and us we should draw strength and be supportive of our fellow LGBTQ people. If we don’t, no one else will.

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It’s my coming out party and I’ll be meh if I want to…

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Many people have coming out stories that are filled with horror to rival the best Hollywood scream fest. Others still, seem to have blissful parties surrounded by beautiful bodies waiting to take them into the fold for a life of carnal lust and endless disco dramas. Me, you ask? Well mine was simply less glorious.

From a young age I simply knew that I was different. I didn’t have a means to put my finger on it, but still it was there in the back of my mind. Like most young men, I did sneak into my father’s cleverly hidden porn stash, due to the curiosity of my young hormones. The strange part for me was that I always seem to be drawn more to the images of the men in the magazine. If was something like a Playboy, I simply was not interested. I needed to see the male flesh. I soon learned the term for that was “QUEER” or “FAGGOT.” I knew they were different and different meant you were apt to get made fun of by your peers. So, I did what every other closeted queer kid did, I hid those feelings while trying to steal furtive glances at the boys in the locker rooms

My youth was spent trying to hide what I was and pretend to follow a path I thought my parents wanted for me. I knew my father was not keen on anyone or anything that was vastly different from his way of thinking. It was hard enough being his son watching him react with my friends in boy scouts. I always felt like I was his disappointment and this didn’t help my self esteem one bit. Foolishly, I fumbled around and dated a few girls in high school and tried to be the boyfriend I heard other guys talking about in the halls before and after classes. That worked out as well as you can imagine.

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It wasn’t until I went to college that I finally said that I would like my live a little more close to what I knew that I wanted. So what did I do? I joined a fraternity. There, I did meet a few guys who had same thoughts and desires as myself. It gave me a chance to experiment to see what I had been missing, all while still mostly hiding. Finally in about 1994 or 95, I was thrust out into the open and the veil I hid behind was ripped off like a Band-Aid.  The guy I had been fooling around with decided he wanted more and that it would be a great idea to out me to the girl I had also been dating. I decided to preempt him and tell her first. As it turned out she too had been keeping to herself a desire for the same sex. Basically, his grand schemes fizzled out more akin to Wile E Coyote.

This didn’t abate my fears much as next I had to come out to my circle of friends. I was in terror of how that would happen. My circle of friends was small as it was and primarily focused around my fraternity. The best way, in mind, to do it was one night while we had all went out to a bar near the college we attended. After becoming drunk on apple pie shots, Jack Daniels, and tequila I broke down into tears and decided to tell everyone at the table. I told them how much I knew they were going to hate me and how much I was sorry for betraying them. They all looked at me smiled and said it was not a big deal. One even joked that maybe I could help him learn to dance a bit better. Yay for the stereotypes!! But they were accepting; all the same, more than I thought would happen.

As they say, you never stop coming out. I returned home in 95 with my newfound freedom and started going to a gay bar about 45 minutes from my house. I was living with my parents at the time, so my every weekend out was starting to draw a notice. I decided that it I would also have to come out to my mother. I went to visit her on her lunch break to have lunch with her and share my dark secret. While we were eating Campbell’s soup and sandwiches, I dropped the bomb on her. She looked me dead in the eye and said “Its about damned time you finally tell me. I have known since you were a kid dressing up in my gowns, shoes, and singing into a hair brush.” I was the one left in shock and dismay. How did she manage to know the one thing I was unsure of and hid from everyone? Her response was, “A mother knows.”

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I think it was after that I dealt more with issues from people than when I came out. That could also be from growing up in a small southern town. The first time I moved in with the guy I was dating then, we moved to a small town not far from my house to rent an apartment. The complex we rented from wasn’t especially gay friendly. We inquired about a single apartment and were met with resistance because they couldn’t understand how two men only wanted one bedroom. So invariably we ended up with a two bedroom that we outfitted as both were occupied, for keeping up appearances. We kept an immaculate apartment, but upon leaving we were told we couldn’t have our security deposit back, due to the nature of the apartment’s condition.

We moved to North Carolina afterwards because that where he wanted to be. While living there I worked with Spencer Gifts as a manager, up until he died from complications due to HIV in 2000. Then I transferred back to my hometown due to not really knowing anyone in North Carolina. I transferred with Spencer’s to a store there and immediately was entrenched with coworkers who already knew I was gay and not happy about it. They made it purely inhospitable for me and told the District Manager that I was being intolerant and belligerent. It ended up I was fired based on these accusations and when I confronter the Human Resources Department about it, their response was they agreed that I was being harassed but giving me back my job would create more issues than not and since Virginia, in early 2000, had no protection status, I was left unemployed.

As I said, my coming out was more of a fizzle than a feud. I wasn’t disowned, at the time, or kicked out of the house. My friends still cared for me and do to this very day. My rough patches of being Gay has come much later in life. Losing a job due to being gay, dealing with people’s inadequacies of being able to deal with someone who is different. But nothing to the degree that many have witnessed or endured, I am fortunate in what I have experienced. I have friends with the horror stories you hear about. I have witnessed teenage kids kicked out of their house and left to their own devices to survive. You can even read the statistics of the many youth that still opt for suicide. Rest assured when I tell you that it does get better. Know yourself and be yourself, fully. Learn to love who you are and what you can contribute. Your story of survival could be the inspiration someone else needs to survive. Know you have people who will listen and help. My contact information is included in my blog, use it if you need to vent. There are people there for you.

 

Closets are for clothes

National Coming Out Day is next Thursday. Whether you are for or against coming out, it is a huge deal that takes a lot of bravery to do. Here are just a few fun facts from UselessDaily.com

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  1. Founded in 1988, in the feminist and gay liberation spirit of the personal being political, the emphasis is that the most basic form of activism is coming out to family, friends and colleagues, and living life as an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person.
  2. The foundational belief is that homophobia thrives in an atmosphere of silence and ignorance, and that once people know that they have loved ones who are lesbian or gay, they are far less likely to maintain homophobic or oppressive views.
  3. In the LGBT community, “coming out” means the voluntary self-disclosure of one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  4. NCOD was founded in 1988 by Robert Eichberg and Jean O’Leary. Eichberg, who died in 1995 of complications from AIDS, was a psychologist from New Mexico and founder of the personal growth workshop, The Experience.
  5. O’Leary was an openly lesbian political leader and long-time activist from New York, and was at the time the head of the National Gay Rights Advocates in Los Angeles.
  6. The date of October 11 was chosen because it is the anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
  7. Initially administered from the West Hollywood offices of the National Gay Rights Advocates, the first NCOD received participation from eighteen states, garnering national media coverage.
  8. In its second year NCOD headquarters moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and participation grew to 21 states.
  9. After a media push in 1990 NCOD was observed in all 50 states and seven other countries.
  10. Participation continued to grow and in 1990 NCOD merged their efforts with the Human Rights Campaign.
  11. National Coming Out Day is observed annually to celebrate coming out and to raise awareness of the LGBT community and civil rights movement.
  12. The first decades of observances were marked by private and public people coming out, often in the media, to raise awareness and let the mainstream know that everyone knows at least one person who is lesbian or gay.
  13. In more recent years, when coming out as a lesbian or gay man is now far less risky in most Western countries, the day is more of a holiday. Participants often wear pride symbols such as pink triangles and rainbow flags.
  14. National Coming Out Day is also observed in Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
  15. In the United States, the Human Rights Campaign sponsors NCOD events under the auspices of their National Coming Out Project, offering resources to LGBT individuals, couples, parents and children, as well as straight friends and relatives, to promote awareness of LGBT families living honest and open lives.
  16. This year (2016) Coming Out Day has its 28th anniversary.
  17. In the past, spokespeople for NCOD include Betty DeGeneres (Ellen DeGeneres’ mother), Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Sally Field, Lady Gaga, Whoopi Goldberg, Anne Hathaway, Cyndi Lauper, Don Lemon, Jennifer Lopez, Demi Lovato, Mo’Nique, Pink, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brad Pitt, Charlize Theron, Stanley Tucci, and Lana Wachowski.

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Source: https://www.uselessdaily.com/world/national-coming-out-day-trivia-17-facts-you-werent-aware-of-about-this-awareness-day/#ixzz5OGlnLDDp

Under Creative Commons License: Attribution  Follow us: @UselessDaily on Twitter

 

You may be asked…

In honor of it being National LGBTQ History Month I thought I would dedicate my blog to sharing coming out stories, facts and or questions about coming out, LGBTQ history tidbits, and things that are important but feel good at the same time. So, sit back, read, and as always let me know what you think.

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Questions You Might Be Asked If You Come out as Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual in Identity

If you do decide to come out as either lesbian, gay or bisexual, there may be a number of questions asked on you. Depending on who’s being asked and who’s asking, answers will vary, but the questions and guide answers below will hopefully help you to prepare for some of the common questions and reactions when someone comes out as lesbian, gay or bisexual. Reproduced with permission from LGBT Youth Scotland.

Q: How do you know/are you sure?

A: Like everyone else, lesbian, gay and bisexual people know who they are attracted to; it’s not any different.

Q: What does that mean?

A: Gay – emotionally and physically attracted to men. Lesbian – emotionally and physically attracted to women. Bisexual – emotionally and physically attracted to both women and men.

Q: Does that mean you’ll never have children?

A: There are lots of ways to have children as a lesbian, gay or bisexual person, if I decide I want to be a parent

Q: It’s a difficult life to lead.

A: Lots of lesbian, gay and bisexual people lead full and happy lives.

Q: Don’t tell anyone.

A: It’s my decision to tell people if I want to and I would like you to support me with whatever decision I make.

Q: It’s against my/your religion.

A: There are many lesbian, gay and bisexual people who are religious and many places of worship are welcoming to them. If your religion or place of worship doesn’t accept LGB people, you can still have your own relationship with your god, and no-one has the right to tell you otherwise.

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Q: I don’t want to know you anymore.

A: Some people may never accept it, but many do with time. Give these people some space or ask a supportive friend to talk to them. Just because I am attracted to people of the same gender or people of both genders doesn’t change me as a person.

Q: It’s probably just a phase.

A: I’ve thought about it for a long while before telling you and I know how I feel.

Q: I feel like I don’t know you anymore.

A: I’m still the same person, and because I am close to you I didn’t want there to be any secrets between us.

Q: You don’t look gay.

A: Lesbian, gay and bisexual people look, dress and act in many different ways, just like straight people.

Q: How do people have sex with someone who is the same gender as them?

A: This is a personal question, which you should only answer if you feel comfortable doing so. Lesbian, gay and bisexual people have sex in different ways (just like straight people)

For more information check out the Coming Out guide from LGBT Youth Scotland, and go to their website for extra advice and resources.  
Also, if you are in need in the Cleveland area you can check out the LGBTQ Community Center of Greater Cleveland’s webpage. Specifically you can go here for phone numbers of people to talk to you. You have resources available and people ready to help, you do not have to face it along. Also, if you need a voice or someone to vent to, please don’t hesitate to email me.

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