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How out is "out" in your book?
Hey guys, I've been wondering about this for a while:

How out is "out"? Does it mean letting everybody (and I mean *everybody*) around you know you're gay? Or just those closest to you (family and friends)?

For instance, at work? Most of the work I do itself is solitary, but I do work at a hospital and am in contact with other staff members often. There are two days out of the week I work at our occupational medicine department and like to chit chat with the staff there, but they're mostly middle-aged women in straight relationships, talking about their kids and husbands, etc. I don't feel I'm "lying' to them seeing as am I'm not in a relationship of any sort, but I'd just let them randomly know I'm gay.

And what if you work with clients? Most of the folks I see at the clinic are senior citizens, and most of them are very sweet, but they're products of a different time and mind set, and many are openly more conservative-leaning. I like to keep it professional and not go into my personal life too deeply, but I do get the occasional curious patient wondering if/when I'm getting married, if I have a girlfriend, etc. For the sake of keeping our relationship with the clientele harmonious, I don't wave rainbow flags in front of them (and I'm not exactly flamboyant so it's not super obvious without asking).

Is it bad that I don't disclose my orientation to them? Would a potential future partner be turned off about the lack of disclosure, or would he be more understanding?

All my friends, my boss, even my bass teacher, I'm out to. (Working on my parents - there may be a future post about that). I'd like to believe that any future partner would respect the level of my outness, and that I am slowly-but-surely making it a more well-known fact to those around me.

What do you guys think?
OUT means not hiding, not going around telling everyone you are gay.

OUT just means you have accepted your sexuality and are honest and don't hide your sexuality. It's no ones business if you are gay or straight. You don't see straights running around announcing their sexuality, why should gays be any different?
I agree with Dfiant on this.
In everyday life I do not hide who and what I am. However I am 'straight acting' not even the hint of a 'gay accent'. The only way people would know is if they ask me or through the act of general conversation I talk about my SO as he, him, his....

The folk at our now closed grocery store knew that I and my partner were a couple. But then over a decade shopping at the same store, the pissy fights over what we are buying, my telling him 'Yes you will eat this fucking vegetables, you don't eat enough fucking vegetables!' in the produce section was obvious that we were a couple.

An old married couple. Wink

In 2002-2003 I took on a stronger stance when it came to my clients.

As a 'straight acting' man I have been subjected to the litany from homophobes who feel that they need to tell me their opinion on many things, from colored people to gay people. I never asked for their opinion, but sure enough they like to bring up the subject.

I finally got a stomach full of listening and I came right out and told clients who had shared their opinion with me the fact that I was gay and that due to their anti-gay stance I feel I can no longer provide them the service they need.

I have dropped other haters along the way. I do not appreciate racism and bigotry in any form. I have dropped clients for their stance on blacks, Jews, whatever. Dropping them for their stance on the gay only gave me more pleasure when I 'came out' to them.

Most are very surprised, a few accused me of lying.:biggrin:

My family knows - I told them way back when I first started seeing a man. My parents and I have nothing to do with each other - this gay issue is only the straw that broke the camels back. We stopped sending cards to each other for holidays about 15-16 years ago.

I do not announce 'I am gay' to anyone. They figure it out eventually on their own. Just like I have to figure out that they are straight....
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[SIZE=4]I told you I had the body of a 25 year old....

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Dfiant and Bowyn said everything I feel and I agree with both of them...they said it so well I have nothing to add.
if they look like they would not understand, they probably will not. Dont wast your time with these people.

Drew Wrote:... Would a potential future partner be turned off about the lack of disclosure, or would he be more understanding?
Dont let anyone make you come out any further than you feel comfortable. Your new partner should know this. Rather he should work on your sense of comfort of who you are as a gay man.
Do you completely love your self?
Generally speaking I'm out to close friends. With the exception of my Granny, no one in my family knows (though I think some suspect) that I'm a lesbian. They live in the East Texas Bible Belt (aka "behind the pine curtain") so I think it would be a very bad idea to let people there know, especially as I like to keep moving into Granny's place a viable option. Being that I live in California (and may never return to Texas) it's not much of an issue, however.

I never saw a big deal about it even as a kid when others freaked over it (and before I identified as gay myself) so I was pretty open at first. But it really caused problems, even got me and my girlfriend under a death threat the the local deputies told me to take seriously, so I learned not to volunteer it.

I have wondered if I should announce my orientation at times, especially when someone tells me how evil the gays are. If I thought they'd react by going, "Whoa, maybe I should reconsider what I believe about gays" I would, but I don't think that's what would happen--and it would spread to other homophobes before they got to know me, too. (And a couple of FORMER friends told me that they thought I was ok, but that "most gays" were child molesting perverts who shouldn't marry or otherwise have access to kids, so even though they could see the stereotype didn't apply to me, they were still convinced it did to other gay people.)

It would also hurt my property (as I'd likely face vandalism, at least where I used to live), hurt my livelihood (especially as many "don't want their children around that" and part of my livelihood is working with children), and caused me other problems (for example, I found the reason I was one of the rare few to use the sauna at a fitness center I used to go to--one that blared FOX at us until I got fed up and quit--was because women were scared of lesbians jumping their tender hetero bones, and I'm sure if they knew I WAS a lesbian who used the sauna then I'd have lost my membership over a false accusation of sexual harassment by a member who didn't want to share the showers and locker room with me or just a need for drama). I've met some Christian gun nuts at a shooting range I used to go to who not only thought gays should be killed, but one (thanks to ) was especially worried about armed lesbians...armed lesbians like me...and he encouraged me (whom he presumed to be a heterosexual Christian rather than godless lesbian) to be ready to shoot to kill against lesbians that tried raping me, which would probably save young girls from being raped & indoctrinated anyway. One death threat was more than enough, thank you. I see no reason to be a martyr for little to no gain.
For me being out is not lying about who I am or that I am gay.

My family and friends all know, as do my roommates and people I work with, although I hope to be transferring to a different store in town so no one there will know but actually the store I'll be going to is like right by the big gay part of town so I'm sure I wont be the only one working there and I highly doubt to run into anyone who is going to care or be against it.

So I am open about it with people and if it comes up I dont lie about it. So for me that is open. Although there was an instance a few days ago on the trolley where some random guy was talking to me about Jesus and God and all this stuff, why? I don't know, I guess because I was next to him, I just kept agreeing with him hoping he'd shut up. Then he starting talking about how important marriage is for this country and society and how allowing gays to get married will ruin the country. I naturally don't agree, at all, but I didn't say anything. I've thought about it a few times since and if I should of said something or if just brushing him off was the best way to handle it, I don't know, but I didn't feel real great afterwords for staying silent but if staying silent was the best idea, I don't know.
I'm slowly learning to not care what other people think its my life and they don't need to know until they discover that I am different but the same person that they have always know. If they ask then I will deal with it then but until then I'm tired of hiding myself because of others. Its time to live life one day at a time.
I'm out. I'm rather obvious to some people and others are oblivious. I couldn't care who knew I was gay or not. Some times I skip around cos I like to skip sometimes. I enjoy being feminim at times and other times I can be masculin. Being out for me is just allowing myself to be me. I don't going around to strangers telling them I'm gay. I let them figur it out. Sometimes I do openly cheek out guys. Even around my straight guy friends as they cheek out chicks.

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