Coming out on Olio by MarilynPosted: March 18, 2011
Marilyn Wilson is an editor and writer from Vancouver who believes “everyone has a story to tell, it’s just a matter of asking the right questions.” And she does just this indeed.
Through my friend Brandon I learned about Marilyn’s series of coming out stories on her blog. I’ve written about the process of coming out before, but never about mine. Now, after a fun questionnaire, she does the best job telling it. Enjoy!
Enrique TM was born in a large, conservative and mostly Catholic city in Mexico in 1986 and at time of publication is 24. His family was also “somewhat conservative, mostly Catholic, and well known in the city.” Daily life revolved around activities that fit in with this lifestyle – school, English classes, sports club, church, etc. The loss of his dad at age 5 was difficult, but the great relationship he enjoys with his mother, sister and extended family filled the void. “My mom never remarried and I have a younger sister. We are very close. I also spent a lot of time with my cousins, uncles and grandparents. We even travelled together.” School had the normal amount of ups and downs, but no real problems.
Enrique always intrinsically knew he had a “different” sexuality, but didn’t know for sure what that meant. Looking back, summer camp in 1998 is pinpointed as the crucial time when he realized he was emotionally and physically attracted to men – he was 11. His response to this new self-awareness? “I simply repressed it and strangely that wasn’t too hard. I was very young and would tell myself, ‘Don’t worry about having to repress this now. You’ll have plenty of time to do as you please later.” While there was no doubt in his mind (he had never felt any attraction for women), he did try to pass as heterosexual a few times in high school when asked if he was gay to avoid conflict. After moving on to college, the time became right to share who he was with those around him.
The process of coming out to family and friends began at the age of 19 and took a full year. The very first person he shared with was a childhood friend. Then he opened up to a couple of colleagues at the summer camp where he worked in 2006 after his first year of college. What is most interesting is that he became fully aware he was gay as a camper at a summer camp in Québec at age 11; then he came out while working at a different summer camp in New York at age 19. It was like coming full circle. Next came family. With 2 lesbian aunts and 1 gay uncle already out in his extended family, Enrique found support and acceptance. “They were very receptive and cool about it. Some of them expected it, others said they did not see it coming. Some were full of questions and others were gay and had no questions at all. I was very open and honest about it and never had to do the double-life thing. Now I’m out to everyone and it’s cool.” However, he adds that the process of coming out continues on a daily basis throughout your lifetime.
In closing I want to share Enrique’s answers to a couple of questions.
For anyone who would like to be a part of this series, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.