To “Come Out” or not, it’s a Decision that Belongs to You
Now that the era of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is long ago history, the decision of “whom (or whom else) will I tell?” now belongs only to you. It’s good that you think about it and make intelligent decisions based on logic and not short-fused emotions. A few considerations for you to contemplate include:
- The choice to come out should be yours and yours alone. The critical corollary to this is the decision for others about whom you know to come out should be theirdecision alone, and not yours.
- If and when you do choose to come out, it is your responsibility to let those whom you tell know what they can and cannot do with that information about you. Otherwise you should expect that everyone, including your peers, your seniors, your subordinates and eventually your parents will find out.
- Once you “come out” to someone or everyone, you cannot “go back in.”
While in the fishbowl of the Academy, when you meet other LGBT midshipmen, particularly those who are just coming to terms as to who they are, or you are just meeting other mids like you for the first time, you might be excited to introduce them to your friends or “show them the ropes.” Although you might think you know what is best for someone else based on your personal experiences, you need to recognize that “coming out” is a very individualized process. We all come from different backgrounds. We were taught differently and were instilled with various values that may have significant role in one’s acceptance of who they really are.
“Outing” someone, for what ever reason either intentionally or inadvertently, even if only to the other LGBT mids could be terrifying to those who are not yet totally comfortable about who they are. Although you may think you have been there, you are not in their shoes at the moment. You must be careful to listen to their personal needs and desires and not push them to go outside their personal comfort zone.