What To Expect When You Come Out Late
There are some very important and moving shows on television right now that detail the interesting journey of showing your true self later in life, such as “Transparent” and “Grace and Frankie.” Coming out as gay or transgender is never easy, but many people who come out later in life say they wish they’d done so when they were younger, didn’t have many inhibitions, and were still blissfully naïve about how harsh the world could be. Furthermore, they just wish they’d given themselves the chance to live their truth for most of their life, rather than only capturing the last few decades of it. And when your community, from your family to your friends to your colleagues, sees you as one way, it can be very hard for them to see you a different way. Here are some things you may face if you come out late in life.
Some woke people weren’t that woke
You may be surprised to find that some of your friends who always claimed to be “totally woke” and very supportive of the gay community are, in fact, a bit uneasy about you coming out. Being supportive was easier said than done and before, they just had to say they were supportive. Now they need to show it.
Some friends change their behavior
Some silly friends may change their behavior, wondering if you’ve been secretly harboring feelings for them all of these years. It will feel a bit insulting at first, but eventually, they’ll normalize, and you’ll forgive them.
Some friends will be angry
Some friends will be angry with you for keeping such a large fact about yourself a secret. They may say, “I thought we were best friends and it turns out I barely knew you.” It’s a gross overgeneralization for them to say they barely knew you but, the truth is, your friends will react in all sorts of ways and you just need to give them time.
People will tell you why they “always knew”
Get ready for friends to start listing off all the reasons they “always knew you were gay.” These will range from your interests and hobbies to the way you dress and even the way you walk. It’s their own, misguided attempt at showing they accept you for who you are.
Friends will introduce you to their gay friends
Here’s another misguided but well-intended thing friends will do: begin introducing you to everyone else they know who is gay. As if you were going to struggle to find the gay community in your neighborhood. They’re just trying to help, and you may politely have to sit through coffee with some of their friends, just because you’re both gay.
If you’re a parent, it’s very complicated
If you are a parent, coming out late in life is very complicated. Figuring out exactly what to tell your children isn’t easy, nor is introducing them to the people you date. It could be a good idea to speak to a child psychiatrist about how to talk to your kids about this.
You may finally change your appearance
For years you may have been dressing in a way you don’t like, having a haircut you hate and just generally having an aesthetic that you didn’t feel represented who you are. You’ll realize you’re finally free to show your true colors, through your looks. You’ll have some shopping to do and some salon appointments to make.
It can be hard on your parents
Your parents are from another generation and their generation may not be as comfortable discussing homosexuality and being close to the gay community. Even if your parents say they accept you for who you are, they may not appear very comfortable when you talk about your dates with people of your same gender.
You’ll distance yourself from hetero friends for a while
You need to dive into the gay community—you’ve been missing out for decades. You’ll naturally distance yourself from your heterosexual friends for a while because you need time to build a friends group in the gay community. You certainly don’t need all gay friends, but you want to experience gay bars and all the LGBTQ community has to offer.
You just don’t tell some older relatives
Unfortunately, you may feel you can’t tell some of your much older relatives. Your grandma, who is in her 90s, just may not understand, or it may upset her so much that it isn’t worth it since she may not be around much longer anyway. It’s bleak, but it’s a reality.
You feel like a virgin, again
If you’re just now coming out, then you likely don’t have much sexual experience in the way that really matters to you. You have to learn how to be good in bed, as a gay person, which can be daunting since everyone you meet is already schooled in this area.
You inspire others to come out
Don’t be surprised if your coming out inspires others to come out late in life. You may have friends or family who just didn’t want to feel totally alone if they came out late, and now you’ve shown them they won’t feel that way.
You have to learn to ask women out
You’re so used to being asked out: now you have to learn the art of asking women out. You have to learn to identify when a woman is interested in you. You knew when men were interested—it was obvious—but it’s a whole different art with women.
You’re the “late-in-life lesbian”
Within the gay community, you’re the late-in-life lesbian. It’s like being the new kid in high school, senior year. Everybody already knows everyone’s business and who has slept with who and everyone is fascinated by you. You feel like a deer in the headlights.
You’ll feel like a weight has been lifted
After all of the obstacles that will come with coming out late in life, you’ll end up feeling happier than you ever thought you could feel. You’ll realize that going through the process of coming out, and all that comes with that, is so worth it and you cannot believe you waited this long. In a sense, you’ll feel that life can finally start.