I don't want to be gay because it will perpetuate old stereotypes

I don’t want to come out because the people who have suspected me as being gay will be right.
When I was in junior high, I was bullied and called gay.. And back then I thought I was completely straight.
It angers me to know that the bullies were right.
I also don’t want to come out because I feel bad for guys like me who actually are straight. I am afraid that I am a gay stereotype. I feel that by coming out I am contributing to this stereotype.
I just know there are guys out there, who are like me, who got teased when they were younger, because they didn’t play sports, or liked musical theatre, but WEREN’T gay.
I’m angry that some 12 year old in junior high was right about me being gay because I crossed my legs in class.


Hello John,

Thank you for writing to AlterHéros about your concerns.

You say that you're hesitant to come out because you feel like you will be proving people right about gay stereotypes. Let me begin by telling you that I understand your anger at this situation; I too was called a lesbian as an insult when I wasn't out, and it can be very damaging. However, sometimes it's not your coming out and “proving them right” that makes the bullies win. Letting their insults make you deny a part of yourself is a greater victory for them. I like to think that by affirming yourself, despite the bullying you endured, makes you the ultimate victor in this case.

You indicated that you were bisexual, if that’s the case then it may be another issue to think about before coming out. Some people think that coming out as bisexual is easier than coming out as gay; people in both the “straight” and “gay” world misunderstand bisexuality. Sexuality is fluid and you should contemplate whether you feel emotionally/sexually/romantically attracted to men or women or both. Even if you feel attracted to both, it may not be on the same scale. I only say this because, should you identify as bisexual, I don't want you to think that your coming out is somehow less important. Furthermore, because it is sometimes less understood, you should ask yourself if you are comfortable answering certain questions people may have on the subject. The same can be said if you come out as gay and not bisexual. People sometimes have questions whose answers seem obvious to you, who is living through this, but not to those who have no basis or understanding.

That being said, before coming out, it is not technically the reactions of those people in the past – who have hopefully grown up in maturity – that you should think of, it is also the reaction of your group of friends or you family. Most importantly, it is your comfort with your sexuality that determines if you should come out now. Are you at ease with your sexuality? Have you already talked to someone about it and how did that make you feel? Are your parents and friends accepting towards homosexuality? Do you have friends who can support you during your coming out should anyone be less accepting or need time to adjust? These are all things to consider before coming out. If you feel comfortable and don't wish to hide it, I encourage you to come out. However, there is nothing wrong with waiting until you are fully comfortable with your sexuality before doing so.

In regards to your fitting certain stereotypes, I posit that most people fit into stereotypes; some more so than others. You shouldn't shoulder the blame for adding to that stereotype, nor should you feel bad for the things you like. We are each very different and no matter how you fit into certain parts of the stereotype, I am certain you distinguish yourself in others. Unfortunately, there are still ignorant people who don't seem to understand that stereotypes are in no way a definition of whom you are or who you are going to be. Many straight men, as you mentioned, also don't play sports and like musical theatre. The fact that you worry about those people who are not gay being mocked proves only that you are a good person. As I said however, you cannot shoulder the responsibility of not “adding” to the stereotype by coming out. The only way we can put a stop to this kind of bullying is by educating people on the facts. If you still feel angry at those who bullied you, I suggest putting your energy into educating young people about the dangers of falling for stereotypes and the effects of bullying. This is just a suggestion mind you, but it has helped me forgive and forget those who didn't know better or those whose insecurities were directed towards others.

I hope that this reply adequately addressed the concerns you have. Should you have any more questions on coming out or anything at all, don't hesitate to contact us again, or even visit the question sections of this website.

I wish you the best in your endeavors,