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Hi -- My name is Shel. I have never done anything like this so I am just going to jump right in. I am a 39 year old man that came out just one year ago to all of my friends. I will say that all of my friends have been incredibly supportive. I have not had a negative experience with even one of them. I just recently told my dad who is basically ok with the gay thing, even though he wasn't overwhelmed with the idea. The problem I have is trying to reconcile my gayness with my evangelical church and my family. I can't bring myself to tell my mother. I really do not think she can emotionally handle it. In fact I think it would destroy her. I do not have what you would call a good relationship with my mother. She has always been a stern, authority figure and still continues to be so. I jokingly have told people in the past that if you ever watched the eighties soap Falcon Crest, my mother is Angela Channing. Acutally, it is close to the truth. Lately, I have had to confront the possibility of a relationship with a guy. The individuals interested have told me that there is no way they could get involved with someone who is not completely out. As much as I like these guys and wish something would develop with either one of them, I just can't be that out now and they cannot seem to understand it. Let me also say that I live in the south and my parents came from an ultra-conservative background that makes Southern Baptists look liberal. My mom still thinks this way. I have just finished Dr. White's book Religion Gone Bad and I understand that people can be victims of religion. My parents are. I am. I really wish that I could be fully out and proud of who I am. Even though I am mostly out, I am still not proud. In the past year, I have done the bar scene and have not been impressed with what I have found there. Most people are looking for one thing only. My friends have told me bars are not the places to meet quality people. Well, where can I find them then? The gay community in my southern city has all the depth of a frying pan. I just feel like I want to connect on a deeper level with the community rather than being a part of the pettiness and bickering that I see. Anyway, this is my one year anniversary of being out and I have come farther than even I ever thought I could, and especially in such a short time. But at the same time I am frustrated and angry with myself for not being completely myself. Sorry for the ramblings, but my life has been kind of crazy the past year and I just wanted to share that with someone...
04-08-2008, 04:00 PM
I'm sure you'll find plenty of stories similar to your own. Many of us come from conservative churches, strict religious families etc. and there are various levels of being "out" represented by the members of this forum. i understand the difficulties of being in a relationship with someone who is not out, and so I can sympathize with the men who want a relationship with someone who is out totally. My partner did not tell his parents that he was gay, and thus, denied our relationship to them and others, to stay in the closet. It became an issue in our relationship. It was painful every time he "covered" and I felt like I was nothing to him. our relationship improved greatly once he came out to his parents. and you know what? they survived it too!
jump in on the discussions here. I think you'll enjoy it
04-08-2008, 05:53 PM
I, too, am a victim of religion. After 10 years of trying to fight my gay feelings, thinking they were evil, ungodly, and of the devil, I am finally considering the possibility that they might just be from God. I am not out to a lot of people. I still haven't even completely accepted myself. But I pray that each day, God will allow me to do just that, one step at a time, with His help and the help of others in this journey. I have found Soulforce to be a very welcoming, loving and supportive community. I hope you do, too.
Love and blessings,
04-08-2008, 06:25 PM
Welcome to the jungle.:D
04-08-2008, 07:52 PM
Welcome, come on in, the waters fine! There are lots of us that 'closet' it for awhile. It takes time to get out there, don't rush the process. We all deal with it in our own ways and at our own speed. There is a book called 'coming out, an act of love' that is helpful to read. It kinda takes yo through the steps we all go through to some degree. It helped me to read as much as possible about being gay and coming out.
As for meeting other gay people. Try to google 'gay personals'. I hit lesbian personals and that is how I met my wife! We actually started out as really good friends and only chatted across the site for about 6 months. Then, after we met, we took our time to get to know each other. To say our courtship was protracted is an understatement. There are some really good sites out there for single gay guys. I have to agree with your friends, the bar is not a good place to meet persons of quality. You may find that the odds are good, but the goods have a tendancy to be odd!
04-08-2008, 10:18 PM
I have to agree, bars are not the best place to find happy adults who are looking for substantial personal relationships. I think they're more like places to hook up once. For the real stuff, I would guess any place you meet good, kind, interesting people where there might be some single gay ones is best. Just how slim is the gay community in your area? Maybe there is a book discussion group, a political group, a gardening club, a club for hiking and camping or for theater-going -- anything that interests you where you might meet other gay folk?
Take your time and don't rush into anything where you are uncomfortable, because that would spoil your experience. You've found a great place by visiting this website - so many kind, compassionate people here who will be ready to listen and share their stories.
Glad you are here. :)
04-08-2008, 11:24 PM
Welcome to Soulforce, Shel. Congrats on coming out, if only partially. I came out as transgender to my wife two years ago. It took her a while to accept that it is part of me. This is a great site where you can be yourself.
04-09-2008, 12:26 AM
Huray! Welcome. Let's see... I would agree, bars are not the way to find people. I'm from Tennessee and currently go to school at Vanderbilt in Nashville, so I don't know if I happen to be close to you or not. I've been raised Southern Baptist and I'm curious as to what religious group you're referencing that makes my parents religion look liberal. Other than that, welcome. I'm not really sure to say about a gay community outside of a school setting since I haven't ever had to find that (other than at the store OutLoud nearby in tow), so I'll let the elders of the forum do that. I think the online gay personal site suggestion sounds good. Maybe you could visit Chemistry.com (I think that's the site... it's gay friendly).
Speaking of mothers, mine entered a depression and is still in one after learning I was gay, but that was from her being so conservative and over-associating with me as a person. Sorry if that's a bit negative, but it's just my experience.
Also, I'm wondering if you might want to find someone who can be more empathetic with your situation than the two guys you're potentially looking at a relationship with. I realize I'm totally coming at this from an outside perspective, so I realize I don't understand all the circumstances so I can't really make suggestions. However, I will also say I can understand gay guys who don't want to deal with forming a relationship with someone who still isn't out of the closet. However, going through that together as a couple, empathizing with the situation, and helping you become more comfortable and eventually okay with outing yourself further might help strengthen and enrich a relationship... or it just might annoy the other person. It really just depends.
Anyway... again, welcome ^_^.
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