THEGAYUK

We Are Gay UK

COMMENT | We need to stop saying “I already knew” when someone comes out

We Should Applaud Those Brave Enough to Come Out, Not Tear Them Down…

 

Seeing the trolls was obviously disappointing,but not surprising.

Discovering that many of the trolls were other gay people was even more disappointing…

 

With the news that Olympic athlete Colin Jackson has come out as gay, I logged on to Twitter to see what people were saying about it. Although there were some congratulatory tweets and well wishes, the majority of the comments I saw were putting Jackson down and criticising him for only coming out now, having spent years denying his sexuality.

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Seeing the trolls was obviously disappointing, but not surprising. Discovering that many of the trolls were other gay people was even more disappointing, but again not surprising at all. That’s because we live in a world where trolls regularly tear people down online. These days I’m more surprised when someone is nice.

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It’s not just Colin Jackson who has been in the firing line recently. You only have to look at Aaron Carter’s coming out to see an example of people saying hateful things instead of being more understanding and supportive. The same can be said of Barry Manilow’s coming out earlier this year.

I think the thing that disappoints me most about all the negativity that gay people write about famous people coming out is when they say that they already knew, or it was hardly a secret, or even that they are coming out for publicity. Maybe, just maybe, it’s actually because they now feel comfortable enough to come out. It’s easy to see how difficult it must be for them, given the reactions of other gay people when these famous folks do pluck up the courage to be open about who they are.

Much of the issue that people are taking with Colin Jackson coming out is that he has denied being gay in the past. That may be true, but that shouldn’t detract from the fact that he now feels able to be open about who he is. I’m guilty of denying my own sexuality in the past due to fear of being rejected and attacked for being gay. I have no doubt that countless other people have also hidden or denied their sexuality for the same reasons.

The common theme among the trolls tweeting about Aaron Carter was the opinion that he is probably gay and just saying he is bisexual to soften the blow.

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In Aaron Carter’s case, the stigma around being bisexual is huge. The common theme among the trolls tweeting about Aaron Carter was the opinion that he is probably gay and just saying he is bisexual to soften the blow. Others were saying that he is coming out as bisexual to resurrect his career. It’s this kind of biphobia that keeps bisexual people in the closet. That stigma attached to being bisexual is the reason why there is such a lack of bisexual visibility, although the fantastic Bi Pride UK team are about to change that. As the Stonewall saying goes, some people are bisexual… get over it!

What’s clear to me is that because someone is famous, they are somehow fair game when it comes to mocking and judging them when they come out. However, we need to be mindful that those famous people are human too. They are just like the rest of us and go through the same struggles as we do. We all have our own journey and so do they.

What I’d like to do is call for more kindness. I applaud Colin Jackson, Aaron Carter, Barry Manilow and anyone else who feels brave enough to come out and be who they are. I just wish other gay people would be more supportive of that. With LGBT+ people facing so much hatred in many countries around the world, we should all be sticking together. This infighting and putting each other down does a disservice to those who fought and continue to fight, for our rights.

 

Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you’d like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.


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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.

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