When celebrities like Rebel Wilson come out it is a little like ripping off a plaster. They are known, and with their lives splashed all over the internet and media, once they’ve come out, that’s largely it.
But for people who aren’t famous, it’s not as simple. People assume that coming out is a one-time thing. That once it’s been done it’s something you’ll never have to experience again. In truth, coming out is not a one-off conversation, a blurted out sentence, or terrifying phone call; it’s a process that queer people live with their entire lives, on a daily basis.
I’m not saying that coming out as a celebrity is easier. Homophobia will always rear its ugly head when anyone with a large following comes out. Being in the firing line of homophobic trolls is something I can only imagine to be a horrific experience and it’s heartbreaking that anyone should have to go through it. I do however, somewhat envy that for celebs, coming out is more likely to be a one-off experience.
Queer people who aren’t famous come out every time we meet someone new, start a new job, wear certain clothes. We even come out passing strangers whilst walking down the road just by looking a certain way, by holding hands with a partner in public, when on the tube with someone we’re dating and a head is placed on a shoulder.
As a cis, femme-presenting, queer woman, I can pick and choose the moments I mention my sexuality, usually going undetected by those around me. Many others do not have the same privilege.
This also means that it often shocks people when I do come out - since I don’t align with the stereotypical image of lesbianism they have in their mind. My heart still races each time, going over and over exactly what to say, how to phrase it - do I get it over with immediately or do I wait until it comes up later down the line? Even with other queer people in the office, I want to say ‘me too!’, but don’t know how to.
The worry I feel around coming out to the new people I meet is a breeze in comparison to what I felt when coming out to my family. Nevertheless, the nerves continue to bubble up, and whatever I do end up blurting out has always been overthought to death. You never know how the person in front of you is going to respond, but whatever their response may be, I will never regret being honest about who I am.