QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.

Question

I have been in a relationship for three years and we've been living together for two years. So far we've both been pretty closeted. I'm tired of hiding and want to come out but he doesn't. If I come out people will assume that we're both gay. I don't know what to do. I don't feel like I can keep hiding: it feels like lying. My boyfriend is totally opposed to it and doesn't want anyone to find out. He wants me to consider his feelings but he's not considering mine. Please help.

Answer

Thanks for writing about this very difficult dilemma. Disagreements about coming out are common in same sex relationships, and there are no easy answers. Here are some ways to approach the problem. There are many different ways to be more open about your sexual orientation. For instance, telling a heterosexual friend, wearing a symbol such as a rainbow flag lapel pin, buying books or movies with gay, bisexual or lesbian themes, telling a coworker or supervisor, telling a member of the clergy, attending meetings of lesbian or gay or bisexual organizations, contributing money to a relevant cause or telling your parents or children are just some of the ways people become more open. I wonder if it would help to brainstorm whether there is any way of being more out that would be acceptable to both you and your partner.

Perhaps it would help for the two of you to talk about the issue by discussing the positive and negative aspects of being more open, as well as the positive and negative aspects of remaining more closeted. I also suggest you talk with others who've faced similar challenges. Some of the sites listed on our links page are good places to meet people on-line.

Best of luck with this important challenge.

3/14/98


Author and psychologist Gail S. Bernstein, Ph.D. has a psychotherapy practice in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Bernstein speaks and writes about gay, lesbian and bisexual people for both general and professional audiences, and is the author of the new audiotape, NOT HETEROSEXUAL: An Educational Program About Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People.

 

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