For the purpose of this article:
LGBTQIA+ refers to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersexual, Asexual. The + refers to anyone who identifies as anything not listed above.
Gay is used to describe my own sexuality and experiences.
Gay is also used, largely due to the common use in society as an umbrella term for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Being closeted has its high and low points. Mainly low points. In my experience of coming out of the closet, one of the lowest points was the constant fear of being associated with the largely effeminate, make up wearing, party animal, drug taking, sex addicted, HIV infected, leather wearing old man. AKA, the 'gay community'.
That was all I knew about the gay community. I genuinely thought that the minute I came out I would magically transform into “one of those gays.” I hated the idea of becoming anything like that. The ones who would express themselves, who had "girly" voices, who were skinny and not in the least bit masc. It’s hard to picture yourself becoming anything other than a ridiculous stereotype when you have nothing else to look up to.
***I would just like to take a break and thank the ghosts generations past for creating these bullshit stereotypes, who made sure that we would continue to live in a #hetero-normative society allowing the gays of the future to have internalised homophobia. I LITERALLY HATED MYSELF FOR BEING GAY BEFORE I EVEN KNEW I WAS GAY.***
For the eight years I was closeted, I came up with one million excuses why I didn’t, and couldn’t be just another stereotypical gay man. That’s just it though, I am a man. I may be gay, but I am a man. I don’t like sports, or cars, or girls, but I am a man. And when I grow up to be openly gay, at least I’m going to be manly about it. I’m not going to perpetuate these ridiculous stereotypes; in fact, I’m going try my damn hardest to break them down.
I used to think that all gay men had the same experience of coming out, accepting who they were and who they will become but boy (notice how I said boy… it’s because I’m gay) was I wrong.
I’ve officially been gay for about two years now, (my definition of official is coming out to my parents) and oh, how my opinions changed. I think all I needed to do was to come out and listen to other people's experiences, because now I know that I don't know everything.
I’d like to take you on a little journey regarding the personal opinions that I held before and after coming out:
Before: Bisexuals are greedy, undecided, closeted gay men, or just straight men who want to experiment and figure themselves out.
After: ^ Who the F**K invited this guy, there’s a B in LGBTQIA+ for a reason.
Before: I’ll never get my nails done. It’s for girls and cross dressers and extraverted gay men, something I’m never going to become.
After: Writes article whilst getting pedicure
Before: I’m just going to lay low. I don’t want to be an activist. It will just reinforce the stigma and that’s not what I want.
After: #KEYBOARDHERO. I literally talk about gay rights all the time. I will tell you if you are being homophobic, transphobic or ignorant. I don’t care who you are. STFU Tony. #MARRIAGEEQUALITY
Before: Effeminate gays are cementing damaging stereotypes for the gay community. It’s shit and I hate it and I could never be one of them.
After: Apologises every night for ever thinking that. The confidence that these brave men had to express themselves takes guts, and I hope one day to be as confident as they were.
Before: Listens to QueenBey (Beyoncé – as if I had to write her full name).
After: SLAYS AT MARDI GRAS 2k16 ON THE HEAPS GAY BEYONCE THEMED FLOAT! #WHORUNTHEWORLDGAYS
There is so much more that I have learnt from coming out, but you'll have to wait for my personal memoir to hear the rest.
For the longest time I misinterpreted jealously for fear. I was jealous of the confidence, of the expression of the way in which these men would own who they were. Having come out, I’m finding that confidence, I am becoming what I thought I hated, and I love it. I couldn’t be happier.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that if twenty something year old Tim could go back and talk to closeted Tim, he would probably say, “You’ve got nothing to be afraid of. You don’t have play to the stereotypes of gay culture, because they are just stereotypes, not rules. Wear more glitter, dance in heels, fly the rainbow and scream YAS QUEEN from the top of your lungs. It's okay. Just be the best you, you can be – you’re fabulous at that. Also wear a condom when you lose your virginity you fucking idiot.”
I’m happy with where I am at the moment. And I’m also happy knowing that my opinions and views will change. They’ve already come so far. I am going to finish on a cliché, I have to. It’s who I am. Before you think you know what’s right and wrong, try walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. It helps.
Tim is 75% fabulous, 22% unicorn, 6% cute af, 17% masc, 31% fem, 100% gay and obviously terrible at maths. When we grows up he wants to be swept away to a far off land hopefully by a foreigner who says words like “Bello, guapo, my prince, and would like another Hermes belt?”