Day 8 – What do you think the closet or being closeted means to you?
The closet is sort of difficult to describe. It is this place that all queer people are in, in varying ways, throughout our entire lives. “Coming out” isn’t a one-time event, it’s a process that we have to go through with every new person who becomes a fixture in our lives.
I think some people make a conscious decision to enter it, but I think for some of us, the closet just sort of built itself around us. A lot of us realize our “otherness” and decide to build this different identity around it, and try to blend in with the crowd. My response to realizing that I was different was more “fuck you, I’ll go over here and do what I want to do.”
My experience of the closet now is that closets keep getting built around me, and I have to keep tearing them down. Sometimes I let them stay that way, but anyone who spends any time around me has their illusions disabused pretty quickly. I don’t really compartmentalize my life, and if someone isn’t in a position of power over me, I have very little concern for whether they approve of my life. They can take me as I am, or they can find the door.
I think for those who don’t have the level of independence that I do, the closet is a necessary evil. For a lot of people, it just isn’t safe to be out. But I also think that there are a lot of people who have plenty of power and privilege and choose to remain in the closet for reasons a lot less noble than self-preservation. I have a lot less sympathy for those people than I probably should.
No matter how necessary the closet is for some people, it is always toxic. We cannot form honest relationships with people when we are lying about who we are to them. The effort of maintaining that lie slowly erodes our psyche. And not being out deprives the world of necessary role models, and doesn’t let us see the full range of who we are and who we can be.