Assuming that we reach inauguration day without some sort of armed uprising declaring Donald Trump to be the Boy King of America, there are things that need to be extricated from our culture beyond the outgoing president and the low-lying cloud of stink and shame he’ll leave in his absence. Donald Trump’s stink cloud will part in time, but cultural baggage will only be shed knowingly. Thus, I’m beginning an ongoing series to examine some of the detritus needing removal: Things to Lose in the New World. Each volume in the series will examine one or more societal boils in need of lancing.
I’ve been nothing but honest here, and so I’m not ashamed to say I was watching “Love is Blind” on Netflix when I had the epiphany for this first installment in the series. If you’ve never watched it, it’s a dating reality show whereby the participants speak without ever seeing each other, one person proposes, then they meet, live together, and get married in the matter of a month or so. It’s a nightmare, but it’s a great show to turn off your brain and watch.
Regardless, one gentleman on the show was grappling with telling his new fiancé that he’s dated men before as well as women. The amount of anguish and turmoil this man went through just to tell this woman a relatively uninteresting thing about himself was heartbreaking. I say uninteresting because it’s nothing so remarkable that it should change one’s opinion about the person. Maybe it’s just the way I was raised, but that stuff never mattered one bit to me.
The man’s fiancé did not take the news well, and the man delivered the news as though in the past he had killed several people and gotten away with it. It was a bizarre situation. And as I sat watching late at night, I had to pause the show and think about just how backwards the whole act of “coming out” really is. And that’s why in the new world, we need to get rid of “the closet.”
In years past, it seems as though “coming out” was something that had to be done, as though you owed anyone an explanation for who you are or who you love. The act of coming out seemed to be a great source of stress, turmoil, and possibly a new rift in the family. But, this seems like a prime example of “none of your business,” one of America’s biggest problems. Why do you owe anyone an explanation for what you do in your private life? You don’t. You don’t owe anyone that.
As I watched this dumb show on Netflix, and I watched this frustrated gentleman bare his soul only to be met with distrust, I wondered why it even mattered at all. Even the way he went about it was upsetting, divulging his past and his fluidity as though it was an admission of guilt. That isn’t his fault, that’s society’s fault. It’s been this way for quite some time that people need to “come out,” but that needs to end.
No one comes out as heterosexual, to do so would be very boring indeed. But “coming out” is just as boring. It’s nobody’s business but yours and whomever you love. The greater issue here is that anyone feels the obligation to explain their sexuality to others, as though others need to approve. And so, in the new world, “the closet” is no longer a viable concept, and in truth, it never was.