North Texas Daily

Straight people have hijacked the process of coming out

Straight people have hijacked the process of coming out

Straight people have hijacked the process of coming out
October 07
17:22 2019

Society treats being queer as a mutation of the natural human condition. As a result, members of the LGBTQ community are strong-armed into coming out, even as their heterosexual relatives sometimes hijack the process.

Coming out to my grandparents was a distressing, degrading ordeal, and I am one of the lucky ones. I wasn’t disowned. They said all the right words, using generic phrases likely lifted from a wikiHow article on how to reassure your gay grandchild that you still love them.

Then, they tacked a Donald Trump 2016 campaign flier over a photo of me and my brother.

Coming out should be a defining moment on the road to self-acceptance. However, since the term was popularized, society has managed to convert the process into an opportunity for homophobic relatives to milk the situation into a ploy for sympathy. These relatives will gaslight the queer people in their family into tolerating intolerance, reminding them that they were not disowned for being queer and implying that they should be grateful for this easily accomplished inaction.

They will also write articles, movies and books detailing the suffering they somehow endured as a result of knowing a queer person, blaming the muse in their deliberate omission of the reality that somebody else coming out does not inconvenience them in the slightest unless they let it. Lastly, they do not take into account the welfare of those they claim to love and support when voting, speaking or posting on social media.

A verbal assurance of love means nothing when actions suggest otherwise.

Logic dictates that queer people should be ones either forgiving or disowning their homophobic relatives, but the reverse is what usually comes to fruition because society still percieves being queer as a shameful attribute that requires repentance, and members of the LGBTQ community then internalize that mindset.

I felt so indebted to my grandparents for managing to not be terrible during the course of a 15-minute long conversation that I didn’t say anything when they demonstrated their insincerity.

On what may seem at first to be a dissimilar note, straight people are notoriously bad at writing queer characters.

Members of the LGBTQ community have continuously petitioned Hollywood for the reiteration of the “Bury Your Gays” trope and the Transgender Hooker trope with limited success. But one trope that tends to slip under the radar of activist fanbases is the media-perpetuated notion that a gay person would be mad at their partner for refusing to come out.

In the show “Mindhunter,” a television show about fictional FBI agents hunting real serial killers in the late 1970s and early 1980s, psychologist Wendy Carr has a love interest berate her for not going public with her sexuality.

In reality, a queer couple might break up if one of them is not ready to come out, but most people in the LGBTQ community understand that not wanting to be persecuted isn’t actually a character flaw in need of correction. Queer people are not “lying” when they neglect to disclose their sexuality to a heteronormative world, especially if that world is set in 1981. Queer people also should not feel obligated to dictate the time of their coming out based on when it’s convenient for another person, even if that person is David Fincher.

Seeing as coming out would cease to exist as a concept without queer people, straight people should probably, maybe just let us keep this one thing. That is, if it’s not too much trouble.

Featured Illustration: Jae-Eun Suh

About Author

Rachel Card

Rachel Card

Rachel Card is a junior majoring in public relations and minoring in sociology. She was born in Austin, Texas, and is currently quarantining there with her family and three dogs.

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