As the pride month comes to an end, here’s an open letter addressed to those who still linger inside the confinement of the so-called closet.
An open letter to those who linger inside the ‘closet’:
As a Filipino, you’ve probably known by now how difficult it is to come out from the safe yet dark confinement of your safe zone. Since unfortunately, unlike in the western side of the world, the Philippine society still has a long, long way to go in terms of accepting the LGBTQ+. Despite the prevailing tolerance, this for the long run is not enough.
In addition to having the majority of the population still tightly embracing strict religious beliefs, chances are coming out would mean facing a lot of backlashes and homophobic criticisms.
Sounds scary, isn’t it? But let’s set these things aside and talk about—You.
After months of contemplation (and self-hatred) and years of sorting things out, you’ve finally come to terms with your sexual identity—and it’s somewhere between the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+), and that’s OKAY.
You are okay.
It’s not your fault, and neither is something that can be controlled by choice (’cause if you could, you’d prefer to stay in the heteronorm, right?).
So don’t apologize for it.
Now that you’ve figured things out, the next step would probably tell people—to open up and tell your friends and folks. But hey, don’t rush it.
It’s okay not to come out just yet.
People might speculate, peers might push, your family might question but remember that telling it is not sort of an obligation. Or at least not until you’re ready.
Know that coming out is not just ‘coming out’ but rather a moment where you will impart something very, VERY personal. Coming out is an intimate thing, and putting it into the open space would also mean exposing yourself to all forms of possible vulnerability. That’s why you need to make sure about being comfortable and boosting your confidence first. The thought of finally liberating yourself might sound promising, but consider thinking thoroughly about it too.
It does not mean it’s trendy, which means you have to push yourself on doing it.
Anyway, just like anything else in life, coming out is not a race, nor is it a necessity. You have a lifetime ahead of you; you don’t have to validate the assumptions of your peers and family; not even because your partner told you so (if they really love you, they will respect your decision).
So, come out when you are confident, ready and sure. Take your time.
To friends and peers,
Please don’t rob their moment.
You might get a hint, but know that it is NEVER YOUR RIGHT to disclose nor place them in any uncomfortable situations. Remember, there’s a reason why they are not telling you in the first place. So please, just don’t spill the tea.
Give them the time and space they need to sort things out. For them to understand the complexity of identifying one’s preference. In the event when they finally open up, try not to make a big fuss out of it. Nevertheless, if you happen to disagree, at least be civil and respectful about it.
No matter what someone’s preference is, they are still human beings—Respect them.
Know that LGBTQ+ is not a choice. What choice you have though is the progress towards acceptance. To concede that this isn’t a phase anymore, it’s something that cannot change. It is not a disease that can be cured nor something reversible by boot camps.
Moreover, be sensitive in using slang and gay jokes. Not everyone in the community is comedic or tough. There are those who are sensitive too—‘cause surprise, surprise, they are humans with human emotions.
Acceptance might take a while (or longer), but at least give them the respect a human deserves.
Educate yourself as well. Not all in the LGBTQ+ community has the same meaning and preference—not all are attracted to the same-sex. Queer for such does not conform to the established ideas of sexuality. They are more on “living without explanations.” While, Bisexual, on the other hand, means they are attracted to both men and women, and some to Queer people. Basically, they just like who they want to like and love who they want to love. It’s not even a 50-50 thing. And if it happens they fell for a hetero, it does not make them any less bi (unless otherwise, they said so).
Coming out is one of the most difficult yet bravest things to do. Just so you know, who you are, wherever you are—you are not alone on this. Not everyone will accept just like “you cannot please everybody.” So, come out when you are ready and comfortable and at peace with yourself.
Always put in mind that no matter what, you deserve to be happy—to experience love and most especially, be respected.
If you already came out from the closet, Kudos to you!
Nevertheless, if you decided to stay for a little longer or to not just come out at all—
Again, IT’S OKAY.