Anthony, in his own words: “If coming out meant anything more than being honest with myself about who I was attracted to physically and emotionally, it also was the freedom that came with it.
You find yourself suddenly free from the weight and fatigue of secretes. If you want to, gay men get to play with ever aspect of masculinity. There are no predefined cultural gender roles for us. We can be sensitive, emotional, or sympathetic with out the worry of loosing our male friends or jobs. We can have all sorts of relationships. What’s the worst people can think of us? That we are gay? Well, we are! With no secret, there is no power.
Once I had the time and confidence to question being straight, the flood gates opened up. If such a basic thing was in question, something I had taken completely for granted, then what else in this world was not as it seemed? I had always assumed growing up meant I would meet a girl, have kids, work a job I hated, and die. But that got thrown out the window! From that point on in my life, my already healthy curious nature took control, and I questioned everything, constantly. My opinions, my rules, and my evolving values. Life wasn’t at all predicable, and became some sort of Alice in Wonderland adventure with no clear finish.
Here in Montreal, the gay community is a little bit more my style. Smaller than NYC or London where I lived previously. Gays here seem to get up early, and leave work at 6.
On coming out; I was terrified. I relied on my parents for so much. If they disowned me for some reason, who knows what I would have done. That’s a small lie actually. I had every contingency worked out. Money, places to stay, long and short term. An entire network on support on the ready.
I could have waited till I was settled and on my own before coming out. But, it felt like life couldn’t start till this was out of the way. Who could concentrate on work, or art, or music with the huge pink elephant in the room? Family dinner was intolerable. I could not listen to anyone over the voice of my own thoughts.
In the end, they surprised me. My mother was a little disappointed at first, but came around. It seemed natural and I could not begrudge her those feelings. My father who I lived with was the big surprise. He’s a stage hand, and works with some pretty rough and tumble guys. Men’s-men if you know what I mean. They are like the jocks of the entertainment industry. For his part, he didn’t bat an eye. After being so scared to come out to him, his biggest response was shame. He was ashamed that me, his very own son, felt he could not trust his father sooner. We became a lot closer after that.”