The first thought that enters any mans head when they hear that someone is gay is the image of a skinny guy with designer gear and the infamous 'fag hags' hanging out of him and yes, this is an acceptable image as it is quite common place but for those of us who do not fit the stereotype where do we fit in?
Rewind twenty years ago, I was on holidays in France with two of my best friends camping, both typical lads and two of my best friends amongst others. The weather was roasting as we sat in the tent that evening as the sun had been blazing all day. After about two bottles of cheap wine (steak and onions were cooked in said wine..some for me, some for the pan you get the picture), a conversation moved towards being gay etc. Inadverdently I came out with it (being half cut was always something I did and but not so much now!) and told my friends I was bisexual, a phrase that gay men use as a bridging so as not to offend their masculine peers but just enough to soften the blow so they can come out as gay later on.
Cut back now about eleven or twleve years later. Those lads are still my best friends and now I am in a loving relationship with a man who I cannot speak more highly of, whom I love to bits and who treats me as an opposite equal. My parents have been fantastic about it all as have my family and my friends. My mother enquires as to the future of her 'son in law' messing and my father being a taxi driver, proudly tells people about me without a shadow of a doubt. The idea that their son is gay was a shock to them in the first place but its something that they got used to , I make it out to be like riding a bike, watching the football or drinking a beer with my aul lad or chatting to my mother. Its just an every day thing. My brother is brilliant about it (I think he thinks it might help him pick up women ;) )
National Coming Out Day marks for most people a day to celebrate being themselves and its handled wonderfully. Its an opportunity for those who may be struggling to come out and tell their loved ones yes I do like the same gender or I may want to change gender but I am the same person. This is in stark contrast to the whole flip side of the coin which I wanna mention.
Referring back to my earlier point in regards to the images of gay men. There is the usual 'twink' with their hair neartly combed, in skinny jeans and camper than a row of tents, some of whom would make Liberace look like Arnie in Predator. Men of a particular generation have this image emblazoned on their mind as a stereotype of these men. On the flip side are those that try to hard to be butch and something in my earlier years I did myself to distance myself from the stereotypes but then I reached a point where I discovered that this was in reality utter bollix, its nothing to do with how I act, its about being me. My range of interest goes from the extremely camp (Eurovision Song Contest, dance and pop music) to the very butch (football, heavy beer drinker, politics) with an array of various other interests in between that oft would be classed as camp or butch but all of these to me are just interests .
At the end of the day just do what makes you happy. Personally speaking (as we had argued before on here and was plastered all over blogs in Australia for some reason) things like Pride (which I loathe with a passion) and faux butchery (which I also loathe) impinge on a persons being, they dont give people a chance to be themselves. Dont listen to any of that crap, be yourself and just be what you are, a decent honest bloke or bird, one who will stand up for themselves and others and is most importantly happy in themselves.
To my readers and friends and family, Happy Coming Out Day.... :)