Coming Out: What Not To Do

Earlier this month, YouTubers Bria and Chrissy came out with a fun, silly list of the “10 Worst Ways to Come Out.” Some of their suggestions were ones you should take to heart — “while drunk” and “like you’re talking to a child” are definitely not the best ways to come out — and some were all in good fun, like “with scissors.” (Though, coming out through a musical number actually sounds like a wonderful idea, if you ask me.)

I have been insanely fortunate as far as coming out to my family and friends. Most people were a little surprised, but then after a moment of consideration went, “Yeah, that makes sense.” I came out at 22, so by then I had managed to surround myself with the type of people who would be understanding. I’m sure if I had come out while I was still in my small Catholic high school, things would have been a wee bit different. But let’s not think about that.

Instead, let’s consider some of the ways I decided to come out that I only realized in retrospect were a little odd as far as timing/location were concerned.

1. In a car on the highway going 70 mph, two hours into a four-plus hour trip.

I decided to come out to my parents while they were driving me from Boston to New York after Christmas in 2009. In my worst-case-scenario mind, every time I tried to imagine the conversation, one or both of them would storm out of the room. I wanted to force them to have to deal with the news and have a conversation about it, so for some reason I thought the car was the best option. The conversation ended up being fine — anticlimactic, even — but after we talked and laughed about it for a while, my mother turned around and said, “Not for nothing, but if you thought we’d react poorly to this news, why did you wait until we were on the highway to tell us?”

Huh. Good point, madre.

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2. In the back of a small classroom.

I was in grad school when I came out to my parents, and while I had told some of my nearest and dearest, I didn’t tell most of my friends until it came up. One such occurrence was during a class that was held in a small classroom that doubled as a tutoring center for kids. I was sitting with a friend at one of the little back tables, in chairs made for people much smaller than us, when something about our conversation made her casually say, “What, do you play for the other team or something?” She took my reddening ears and reflexive smile as proof and she jumped up and squealed — right in the middle of class. The teacher asked what was going on when she looked to the back of the classroom and saw her hitting me like this:

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We smiled innocently and luckily my friend calmed down and waited until the end of class to give me the third degree.

3. On the internet, accidentally.

My mother always told me, don’t put into writing what you don’t want someone else to find out, because you never know in whose hands it will end up. She was talking about passing notes in elementary school, but she also applied it to the internet as it got popular. I took this advice to heart, and was mindful of it while I was writing my personal blog. I did not, however, take into account that my Italian-Catholic, conservative, 70-something-year-old grandfather would be able to navigate the internet well enough to find aforementioned blog. I was wrong and I am a very lucky girl because my Papa was more upset that he had to find out from a computer than about the actual fact that I was gay.

4. In the middle of an office outing.

In 2010, I was receptionist for a little less than a year when I went on a company weekend outing. I wasn’t close with many co-workers yet, but one or two knew I was gay, so I assumed it was common knowledge. I learned I was wrong in the middle of a crowded room at this outing. I don’t even remember exactly what we were talking about — I think something about getting married in a church — but something I said caused a co-worker to clarify and my answer was, “Because I’m gay?” Well, during a lull in the music, said co-worker shouted, “You’re gay?!” and suddenly I was out to the entire office.

I’ve had other funny coming out experiences, but those were some of my favorites (though, looking back, some of them were stressful while they were happening).

Here are some other places I would imagine it might be a little…unorthodox to come out to someone:

On a roller coaster, during the slow climb up the biggest hill. Then you wouldn’t know if they were screaming because of your news or because of the free-fall.

In the middle of a fire drill. (It can wait.)

While watching the TV show Girls. Many a celebrity confused the hell out of me by tweeting “I LOVE GIRLS!”

At a movie theatre, in the middle of the movie.

At work, by relentlessly hitting on your married co-worker. (I’m looking at you, Dr. Peyton.)

In a costume shop, to your ex’s current girlfriend. Especially if you might be secretly dating her flute-wielding arch-nemesis cyborg.

At someone else’s wedding.

At someone else’s funeral.

In the basement of a library when you have the object of your desire handcuffed to–oh, no, wait. THAT’S THE PERFECT TIME TO COME OUT, RUBY.

In a coffee shop by telling the barista your name is “Alice Beeyan” so when your drink is ready they call, “Vanilla latte for Alice Beeyan!” and then you shout, “I’m Alice Beeyan!”

Sometimes coming out of the closet can be hard and scary, but sometimes it’s more like that time you were trying to play a trick on your friend by hiding in her closet but leaned against the door to listen and came tumbling out, giving everyone—including yourself—a good laugh.

Alright, hit me. Funniest place you came out. Go!

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