Welcome to the closet

Being in the closet is never easy. You have to go out every day with a secret. Always holding back a part of yourself from the rest of the world. You get worried about what others think of you, and get scared to death about people finding out your big secret and blowing your cover.

Thanks to heroes like Harvey Milk, Sylvia Rivera and Jim Obergefell, the American LGBT community enjoys more freedom than ever, and indeed there is probably no better time in history to be gay (except maybe ancient Greece). But there are still those of us queer folk who languish in our closets. Maybe it’s because we fear how it will affect our families, our jobs, our friends, or our neighbors. Maybe we fear how our lives will change if we are outed. For whatever reason, we keep our orientations and identities secret.

As for me, I live in a small suburb about forty-five miles outside of Chicago. Every morning, I take the train into the city to go to work. Afterward, I come home to my parents’ house, where I live. Both of my parents are very conservative Catholics and neither approve of homosexuality or the so-called “gay lifestyle.” Moving out has been a tempting idea for quite some time, and every day I think about it. But, unfortunately I cannot move out due to my own financial situation.

Like many of my fellow millennials, I am up to my eyeballs in student loan debt. As for my degree, it’s not something that will exactly earn me a high, debt-busting salary. I’m even too embarrassed to say what it was in (let’s just say it was something super impractical and in the humanities, I’ll let you figure out the rest)

One way or another, I’m stuck. At least for the time being.

Though stuck I may be, I plan to use this time in the closet the best way I can. Through personal improvement and writing about this experience in real time.

Mark Twain was always fond of saying to write what you know.

All I know is the closet.  And that’s what I’m gonna write about. I hope that my experiences in this dark, cavernous place among the coat hangers and last year’s clothes will be of some use for my fellow closet-cases,  whether they be gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans,  non-binary, asexual, or any other orientation or identity that doesn’t conform. I also hope I can offer some shared experience with those who are seeking to empathize with members of the LGBT community who still haven’t come out yet.

Welcome to the closet. Sit down and take a seat.

It’s gonna be awhile.

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