Coming out is a right of passage for gay men and women — an experience as nearly universal as it is unique for each person. The process invariably began with the moment where the journey from self-discovery to self-awareness finally coalesces in self-acceptance and the readiness to speak the words. It began the first time we spoke the phrase “I’m gay” aloud to another human being.
Despite the shared experience, the nature of the journey is specific to each of us. Coming out stories run the gamut from those who kicked the closet door off its hinges in six-inch platform stilettos to those who cracked the door open just far enough to let in those nearest and dearest. A nearly infinite number of factors impact how we do it, when we do it, the words we choose, the people we share with and the choices we make once we were received.
That moment draws a line through our lives when our personal timeline suddenly has “Before Gay” and “After Gay” — our own internal birth which allows us to divide the important events, decisions and people on the calendar of our life by whether they happened B.G. or A.G. For the most fortunate among us, it’s a line in the sand. But when the fury of the coming out storm dies down, love and acceptance smooth the sand again and the line is gone. Before Gay and After Gay are one journey with events and people running continuously from one into the other.