I’m gay, but I haven’t told my riding and camping friends. How do I come out to them without making anyone uncomfortable?
Being comfortable presenting your full self, no matter the group, is a fundamental right and an important aspect to building genuine friendships. Expressing who you love and who you are should be as natural as sharing where you grew up and what type of motorcycle you prefer riding. Sadly it’s not always the case and it’s infuriating that you even need to be thinking about having these conversations. But given the realities of the world we live in, it still may be something you need to evaluate before sharing.
Is this a group of friends that have displayed any behavior that might cause you concern? Your safety is of paramount importance and trusting your gut if you have felt any sense that the group dynamics might change for the negative if you reveal any aspect of yourself that might be judged or attacked warrants keeping your silence and perhaps finding a different group of companions.
But assuming are they open and accepting of a variety of people, personalities, and ways of being, have you simply not commented on relationships in general? Have you misled them in any way that you now want to correct? If the former, then nonchalantly slipping in references regarding previous partners or inserting pronouns that indicate to whom you are attracted when it comes up in normal conversations may be the simplest way to broach the topic. If they have any questions your sharing will convey it’s not a big deal and you’re open to talking about it.
If you have somehow implied you are straight through your actions, then are you comfortable correcting those assumptions in a more direct manner? Not necessarily having a major discussion but by clarifying to whom you are attracted when it next comes up. In that case expecting them to ask why you misled them before may be the bigger question than you being gay.
It’s not your responsibility to make sure everyone is okay; what is up to you is to be comfortable in your own skin and to behave in a manner that is respectful to both you and the group you are with, no matter who’s gay or straight.
PHOTO: RTW PAUL