Remembering the Closet

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

For those of us that have come out of the closet and move away from hiding our sexual identity to those that are around us, the memory of what it means to be in the closet becomes more distant with time as we become more comfortable with our sexuality. However, in doing so and moving past the closet, do we also in turn distance ourselves away from those that are still in the closet?

It was a topic of discussion over drinks at the Esplanade last night and as we sipped mango and mangosteen martinis (delicious!) I popped the question to my ‘out’ friends of whether or not they would date a closet person.

I was answered with a flat "No."

The matter-of-factly manner in which I was replied caused me to ponder if ‘out’ people ostracize the closeted community?

To be honest I would not even entertain this train of thought if it had not been for a recent encounter. I was online, again, and on one of those many gay personals websites when I received a message from a guy who claim he knew me when I was in the navy. We chatted for a bit and when I asked for a face picture he declined because of the need for discretion due to the nature of his job in the military. I will not lie to you, my eyeballs stayed white for a good five seconds as I rolled my eyes. Urgh, I am so over that word, discreet.

Honeys, the frequent D words in my vocabulary are dildo, douche, douche bag and double on the rocks. But wasn’t there a time when I was in the closet too? (You know around the time when dinosaurs roamed the earth and sequined bellbottoms where in fashion?)

Those of us that wear the rainbow flag on our sleeve we become tired of those in the closet because to us there really shouldn’t be a reason to stay in the closet in this day and age. However, coming out does not have a timeline and we have to remember that a large part of the LGBT community is still in the closet and we should try to project a welcoming environment for those to come out to instead of losing our patience with them.

So back to the question of would I date a closeted person? The answer is yes, but I would like to think that with the time and effort that I spend moving back closer to the closet in order to form a relationship with this person would someday have a positive effect on him to make him want to come out. My wrists can only stay butch for so long before they become limp again.

It is our struggles that unite us and remembering that there was a time that we too we afraid, lost and confused would actually help us build a better community in the end.

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