I am 39 years old and just came out as homosexual. I'm struggling with my new identity and lifestyle...
Thanks for reaching out to us! And congrats for figuring out your identity and communicating it to those around you! Regardless of your age, that can be a pretty difficult time. And don’t worry, we talk with people over 35 all the time. 🙂
As I understand it, you recently came out to some close friends as gay or bisexual (you didn’t specify, if I missunderstood and you came out as a trans man or otherwise do let me know!). You also mention feeling quite isolated and struggling with this new identity.
First, in terms of coming to terms and accepting your gay or biseual identity can definitely take a while and that’s okay! A lot of us go through this period of internal conflict, especially in the beginning. Unfortunately, there are a lot of negative ideas and preconceptions about same sex relationships and LGBTQ+ identities in our society, and sometimes they can affect our thoughts and feelings in ways we don’t fully realize. So I’ll just start by saying that being gay is great, fun and healthy. You can find peace, joy and community as a gay man in ways most straights never will. And if that doesn’t feel real just yet that fine too. Give yourself time.
Having positive and diverse models of queer men and same sex relationships might be something that cheers you up, comforts or guides you in these trying times. To start you of here’s a list of tv shows and one of movies. I’d recommand Sense8, Shitt’s Creek and Queer as folks for instance! Fair warning, many LGBTQ+ stories have sad themes and endings. I think heartbreak is part of life, and it can be beautiful in hindsight, but we all need cute cotton candy puppy love once in a while too. Maybe you could follow social medias accounts that post queer couple stories and pictures?
Back to real life however, you said you’d like to know about groups and/or support available in Montreal. Meeting and talking with other people who have been or are currently going through the same things can be very helpful. You might be able to find a LGBTQ+ group or team that combines some of your interests/hobbies. I don’t know if you’re bilingual? I’ll give you some in english, but also some french/bilingual just in case.
- SafeBox Mtl – Support group (online, eventually in person)
- Canadian Association of Education and Outreach (CAEO) Québec – Volunteering (workshops in high schools)
- Monreal LGBTQ+ Community Center – Volunteering (sexual diversity specialized library)
- RÉZO – Individual and group support, volunteering (gay and bi men mental and sexual health)
- Montreal Gaymers – Video games
- Literary Pride – Reading
- Image+Nation – Film Festival
- Équipe Montréal – Sports
- Hors Sentiers – Hiking
- Club Bolo – Dance
- The Ensemble Vocal Ganymède – Signing
- Ensemble Vocal Extravaganza – Singing
There’s also lots of LGBTQ+ online communities on FaceBook and Reddit (too many to list to be honest), feel free to look them up. During the summer, there’s also the famous Pride Montreal festival which will be digital this year, but it’s still happening. For obvious reasons, the bars, clubs and saunas of the Gay Village are currently closed, but some gay men like to get involved in their community through them although it is a very sexualized context. Do you know if your workplace of school has a LGBTQ+ association? Not everyone has the same needs, wants and experiences of course, but for me finding a community, a home, it was definitely life changing.
And finally, coming out. I get your desire to close out the world and avoid the circles you used to be a part of. But us humans need to be with people, either new acquaintances, old friends, family or anything in between. You said you were still in the process of coming out with some people, but had a hard time staying motivated. You know, you don’t have to if you don’t feel comfortable, safe or if you don’t want to. Not being out to every person in your life doesn’t cancel out your inner truth. Coming out rarely goes perfectly, even with open minded people, but it can also surprise us with people who we expected negative reactions. Either way, you do what makes sense and feels good to you, I just wouldn’t want you to be alone when you’re having a difficult time.
Here are some articles that give more specific tips on coming out :
- Coming out as an adult
- Coming Out – General Tips
- 20 Things to Know Before You Come Out and How to Go About It
As well as the coming out section on our website.
Does any of this help? Figuring out your sexual orientation and more broadly where you fit in the world, is a process and it doesn’t happen in one day. I just hope you at least know you’re an amazing part of a large and colorful community.
Let us know if there’s anything else we can do for you or if you have more questions!
Maxime, intern for AlterHeros