So, how many of you readers have fully disclosed your life for your friends and family? What have you disclosed? Is there anything that you feel you don’t have to tell? I’m sure there is, because I myself is struggling with the whole concept. I am as out as I can be in regards to me being queer, I am open about girlfriends and boyfriends as well as being open about my non-monogamy. But when it comes to kink, I am not out. I don’t know if I want to really. As much as my sexual practices are important to me, they are that. They are practices which are a part of me now, but they are not written with non-removable ink on my body, and might very well change. Believe it or not, I’ve been asexual as well.
I suppose I would not want to question my father on if he likes blowjobs or not, or ask my mother about what kind of bodies she find being the hottest (I would assume my father is not really on that list). I respect their privacy, and would assume mine would be respected in the same way. Except that it is not.
A couple of months ago, some smart-ass (well-meaning?) sent a gift to me anonymously. To my address in Sweden, an address that the person sending the gift must have known my full name in order to do. The thing is, I don’t live in Sweden, so I changed my Swedish address to the address of my parents. Everyone who knows me well enough to know my full name also know this. In any case, I received this gift and I’m not going to disclose what it was, except that it gave away pretty much everything, including words like ‘kink’ and ‘vanilla’. In the end, I blamed everything on a art-project for university (you can always blame art for anything, it is brilliant!) but still had to navigate questions at the X-mas table. Lots of fun, and even if I know laugh about it (and I sold the gift) it was also scary at the time.
My mother told me recently that another packet had arrived. And I keep on debating if I should just come clean. The thing is, I don’t feel guilty. I don’t believe I am guilty and I don’t believe that I am obliged to come out to any one against my will. It would be different if I would be a high-ranking politician building my career on discriminating against sexual minorities while still being in the closet. But I am not. I don’t have that privilege and for the record, if I would I would use it in a better way than via discrimination.
But the real reason for this post is not my story, it is this story. A letter together with applications for law schools was sent. The letter stated:
To come out fully, in my case, requires three separate disclosures, each as potentially confusing and alienating as the last. I share them now for reasons that are political as well as personal: I am pansexual. When I say this I mean that I seek physical and emotional partnerships with people of all genders, including men, women, and transgender individuals. I am polyamorous. By this I mean that I see monogamy as one among many stable ways in which people are capable of forming romantic and familial bonds. I mean also that I find joy in my partners’ joy, including when that joy comes through companions and lovers other than myself. Lastly, I am a member of the BDSM community. When I say this I mean that I find fulfillment in consensual relationships and sensations that are not always soft and fuzzy, but can indeed be painful and challenging. Taken together, these three facts mean that I have found love and fulfillment in a wide spectrum of relationships and with a variety of people, and that this diversity of partners figures importantly into my identity.
They mean also that I inhabit a small, overlapping sliver of three poorly understood, largely invisible, and utterly unprotected sexual minorities. I am acutely aware that to share these details about myself represents a risk both personal and professional, and in some cases legal. But one reason I have chosen to out myself is to help legitimize my identity, and the identities of those I care about. It is my great hope that taking this risk openly and often will yield benefits both for me and for all those minorities who seek public recognition.
I am an activist, but I am no partisan, no bloodthirsty separatist. Instead of engaging intolerance and divisiveness, I have invested my energy in positively increasing the visibility of diverse sexual identities and normalizing the discussion of sexuality in my immediate environment. This is why I co-founded the Male Sexuality Workshop at Brown University, and for three years took the lead role in designing its curriculum and organizing its activities, affecting more than two hundred and fifty alumni of the program. It is also why I wrote a weekly sex advice and sexuality column for Brown’s student newspaper, why I currently work at Planned Parenthood, and why I have volunteered with the Boston chapter of the National Organization for Men Against Sexism over the past year. Most importantly, it is why I am applying to law school.
The communities I hope to support are at best underserved, at worst the victims of fierce and unchallenged discrimination. How best to contribute to their advancement, whether through labor or constitutional law, family or criminal law, is not crystal clear, and I will allow exposure and passion to guide as I move further into my career. But the larger society can and will come to a better understanding of the diversity of sexuality and gender expression it contains, and in the slow crawl toward that understanding, the first and most profoundly personal step I can take is to state unabashedly who I am: to come out.
Read the full story, it is very well worth it, and I can’t really describe how warm and fuzzy I felt inside after I had read it all.
He was admitted to Law School and I hope he will be one more of the kink-friendly professionals that are so very well needed.