A reader writes:
Just wanted to say that a lot of your recent posts on gay issues, such as the video of Dan Choi speaking about his experience have really influenced me. I keep seeing new angles and understanding new nuances. Sometimes I wish I could just "come out" as a heterosexual because coming out appears to be a process in which you become honest with yourself and with those around you. It seems so healthy.
I have to say I can see what my reader is getting at.
Being in a massive heterosexual majority where you don't really have to think very hard or deeply about your sexual nature, and where it is easy to drift along without examining core premises of your emotional life, can deny people an opportunity to reflect more profoundly about society and social norms or know themselves more completely.
Of course, many heterosexuals still accomplish this; and many homosexuals resist this opportunity (the closet can often be a shutting down of facing reality, a way to avoid living and thinking and feeling). But for me, at least, coming out logically demanded a much greater honesty about things in general, a much deeper awareness that established norms may not always be correct, and may even hide great cruelty or ignorance.
I shudder to think what an unreflective and glib person I could have become without that process. Not that I am never unreflective or glib, of course. But less so, I think, than if, ensconced in a relatively comfortable position - white, male, smart, educated, Western - I had never been forced to see what it also is to be an outsider, and to feel, even in a much milder way than many, the pain and cruelty and misery it can involve, and equally the dignity and life and vigor of so many under such strain.