Speak Out: Did You Ever Regret Coming Out?

A few days ago, openly gay actor Sir Ian McKellen sent out a tweet celebrating the 30th anniversary of his coming out as a gay man. In the tweet, McKellen declared that he’s “never met a person who’s regretted coming out”, saying that life “begins to make sense, when you are open and honest.”

McKellen’s life certainly went well after that declaration. The thespian has had a storied career, even gaining mainstream recognition through his involvement in genre movies like the X-Men series and the Academy Award-winning The Lord of the Rings movies. He’s also been nominated twice for an Academy Award — one for Gods and Monsters and another for The Fellowship of the Ring.

But coming out isn’t always a happy occasion, and can be fraught with a lot of anxiety and drama. Just underneath McKellen’s tweet is a reply from @emvinno saying that he regretted coming out to family because he “did it wrong”.

There’s also the fact that for a lot of LGBTQ youth, coming out could often result to abuse or homelessness. In a study by Lesley University, it was discovered that 50% of all teens get a negative reaction from their parents when they come out, and that one in four teens are forced to leave their homes after coming out to their parents. Understandably, this may not put coming out in a favorable light to these young members of the LGBTQ community.

We want to know from you guys if you’ve ever regretted the decision to come out. Did you ever experience the rejection mentioned in the Lesley University study? What advice would you guys give to young gay teens thinking whether it would be a good decision to come out? Share your advice and stories in the comments section below.

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  1. Richard

    Nope. Never.

    Though people judged, had lousy attitudes, including family disowning me, it was their loss

    I am grateful for their bigoted honesty.

  2. jon

    Coming out from a different perspective.
    When my son was 18 he came out to his family. I had suspected the situation for a while. There had been no girlfriends he hung out with a group of boys and sometimes one of his friends slept over. His mother and his brother had no clue nor did his extended family
    For many weeks before he had been quiet and distracted I could see he was worried about something. I invited him down the pub for a beer and after a couple broached the subject. His eyes welled up and he trembled. As a dad I just wanted to hold him. We talked for an age and he decided he would tell the family later in the day. We got home and he went to his room, which gave me time to forwarn his mother and brother.
    When he ” officially told us” we all hugged him and told him we loved him and would be there for him. Sadly grandparents did not accept it and a huge argument took place later which put a breach in my relationship with my parents. But my loyalty was to my son .Over time I hope things improve. Many of his friends easily accepted him as he was . I guess young people are more aware these days. My son is happier than I have seen him in yrs.
    My message really to al l you guys out there worrying is simple. Find some one you can trust and talk it through with them. They will help you work out a plan of action . It really isn’t as black and scary as you think

    • wporter

      You are the BEST dad !!!! I wish you all the happiness in the world !! My family was very accepting of me, too. Never told the grandparents for fear of the same that happened with your parents. I didn’t think they could wrap their heads around it. They grew up in a very different era. It is their loss in relation to you and your son.

  3. Roots

    I have never confirmed it verbally with the world. I don’t think my sex life is any ones business.
    And I also don’t want to hear about there sex life.
    I introduced the family to all the men I have had as buds through the years.
    That is enough said. My sister and her son broadcast it every chance they get.
    I no longer talk to them, They are both toxic to a happy existence.
    It is only a big deal to them. To me it is just my life.
    I accepted it as a youth and I stand with it.
    I am successful in business and public interaction.
    What else do I need.
    RIP Tom. Long term husband or wife, depending on how you look at it. Mate, hows that.

  4. soft & fluffy

    For some there is never a need to ‘come out’ because they’re so openly gay from a young age . I’m assuming that this is more an issue for the guys who could pass as straight and are tired of living the big lie .
    That is what is was like for me and at the age of 21 I just couldn’t take it anymore . Living the double life so to speak. One just can no longer take the ongoing deception and the pressure that goes with it. People asking you when you’re getting married or where your date is , etc.
    The ONLY family member I came out to was my moms and it wasn’t easy because once she knew it was like I had transferred the pressure and secrecy onto her. My pops is as homophobic as they come and she swore that she wasn’t going to be the one to tell him , ever.
    Once I had done ‘the deed’ I just lived my life as normal and assumed that everyone knew . Over the years I’ve only had maybe 4 people ask me to my face and none of them ever cut me off or treated me badly , not even my best childhood friend who I moved out of home and shared accommodations with who never knew until he had it all figured out.
    I’ve never had problems with judgemental bosses or co-workers either , in fact many of them seemed to benefit from knowing , or ‘assuming’ .
    It probably helps when the person doesn’t flame around everywhere with the lispy voice and broken wrists image but not having that huge weight on your shoulders of living the lie makes it worth it in the end .
    Coming out may not be for everyone, or easy to do but for your own mental health it’s worth it , so in my case I have no regrets .

  5. David

    Those statistics are very sad, 1 out of 4 ends up homeless?
    We’ve come a long way but we’ve a long way to go.
    Complacency never serves the better good.

  6. Frank

    Unless your peers are living under rocks, they probably already know that you’re gay. SO WHAT!
    Is it really anybody’s business who you have sex with or are romantically involved with or even who you lust after.
    If you feel like ‘coming out’, be prepared for the fallout. There are still some people who don’t get it. But, fact is, we’re everywhere, doing everything and just living our lives.
    So just live your life. Make no excuses, take no prisoners and if someone has the balls to ask you if you’re gay. Fuck it, tell them if it’ll make you feel better.
    I’ve never had to ‘come out’. I was always gay. Sure, I dated a few girls along the way, but it just didn’t do it for me. So I guess I can’t relate. I can only say ‘ live and let live’

  7. Donovan

    Years ago I came out to my parents and have had no regrets, best decision that I made. Before I did though, it took years of soul searching and questioning myself on my feelings should I be rejected by them. Once I resolved and felt that if rejected by them, I would still be ok in dealing with that although painful, I felt ready to disclose my sexuality. Before coming out one should consider their emotional stability on dealing with rejection should they be….

  8. Bryan

    “coming out” is a straight construction. when have you had friends/family come out as straight? when that starts happening the we should start coming out as gay. the concept of “coming out” perpetuates the idea that gay is aberrant.

  9. Clark

    All of my family are Religious Right Christians.

    They disowned me.

    Dad beat me when he caught my best friend and I doing a 69. We were never allowed to be together again.

    The first chance I could, I got out of that house, got away from their hate and I’ve never looked back.

    I want nothing to do with them.

    They love spitting their hatred out at everyone who isn’t white, christian or Republican. Oh and they worship the ground Trump walks on.

  10. arthur

    i had a great family. my mother told me that someday i would fall in love and didnt care when i feel in love with a man. now that i think of it i was one of the very lucky ones. thanks mom

  11. DaShotta

    In a way I do, and its only due to one reason. IF I KNEE THEN, WHAT I KNOW NOW about this lifestyle and how FRIVOLOUS these men are, I WOULD HAVE STAYED IN MY LITTLE CORNER, TO MYSELF, MAKE MY COINS, AND LIVE DRAMA AND PEACE FREE

  12. Jack

    You only get one chance guys. Go with your intuition, your gut feeling and BE CERTAIN it’s the right time to come out. I came out to the wrong people and it’s been a domino effect, not in my favor and people love to talk. Coworkers, family members and people who I thought were my friends are no longer my friends.
    I wish i would have kept my mouth shut. Because the so called Christians are the worst.
    Some people come out and are blessed with loved ones to comfort them.

    • Hunter0500

      All Christians? Not just the militant conservative ones, right?

      Everyone who is not Christian treats you well, right?

      How are gays who are Christian treating you?

  13. Beardking

    Just came out last week .Never felt so scared in my life. But I was shocked by the surprise of the support and love of my families and friends.

  14. Mike

    Be financially secure ( that means have your next rent payment or potential rent payment and two weeks of groceries in the bank) before you come out. That way you don’t end up homeless. I “came out” when I was 23, but I was already self sufficient. You never really know how someone will react.

  15. Matt

    Coming out is a gay cliche. Once you label yourself as gay, you’re expected by other gays to follow an Alt-Left political agenda. If you’re a gun owner, you’re a pariah. If you’re a Republican, you’re a pariah. If you are opposed to wearing rainbow sheets and burning down bakeries that won’t make gay wedding cakes, you’re a pariah.

    Yes, gay men get hatred coming their way, but they are more than adept at dishing out hatred and intolerance themselves.

    I’m not gay. I’m a man who fucks men. Everyone knows it.

  16. Lamar

    Coming out was something that I waited until I moved away from home to do. I came out quite cautiously, as I knew there was a good chance that my H.S., friends that I knew I was out-growing might see me going into one of these most renown gay-bars. My school-friends use to go “cruising,” you know the way kids in high-school did back in the 60-70’s; they/ we heckled the guys in drag at the oldest gay bar in the city, its world renown, actually since the 1890’s!

    I wondered, since I knew I was gay or “queer-bait” as we joked with each other; is this my future, wearing dresses and wigs, high-heels, make-up, too? This didn’t look promising, man, I just want to touch/kiss others guys! I quickly assessed, there’s two types of gays.

    I moved into my first apt., unknown to my innocent self; “gay-heights” uptown from the east side where I grew-up in my Mid-western city. I took a cab the first couple of times right to the door of one of the main bars, my God, was this exciting! As I did not want to be seen, but was anyway, one of my older sisters friends caught a glimpse of me, going in!

    I can never forget this, the way it went down the next Sunday afternoon, my mother called me “Peter (in her southern accent, so cool & calm, she knew she had me) what were you doing in the Gay 90’s?” I got defensive as anyone “caught” would do, I was also hung-over. “What do you think I was doing?” She cuts me off saying, “wait a minute, don’t get so defensive, I’ve always been jealous of those gorgeous long-legs of yours, I don’t care if you grow bigger boobs than mine, you’re always going to be my son.” My sisters (older than me) always knew, as they knew gay folk, work, ect., they said, “we just want him to be happy as he’s always been as kid.” Whew, got over that hurdle! I loved coming out, it was exciting, self discovery! I’ve always been much more braver than I’d even realized, Never ever, regretted doing so. In the long run, its always best to at least, be honest with yourself, first, give yourself some time to build-up strength to come out to your family, ’cause it might be very difficult for them to understand, I was fortunate.

  17. Jbobblj

    I think my patents knew i was gay even though i was married to a woman at the time. It was just never talked about. Ive been out since 1992. Ive had no problems with it. If people dont like it Fuck them

  18. Okzebra

    The old rightist canard about evil all-left gay’s sounds like a troll to me. If gay’s are so intolerably leftist, I suggest you go to a John Birch Society dinner or maybe a Breitbart news meeting, tell them you’re gay and support the NRA and not forcing bakeries to make cakes. Come back, if you can, and tell us all about their freedom-loving tolerance — if you can.

  19. Hunter0500

    All Christians? Not just the militant conservative ones, right?

    Everyone who is not Christian treats you well, right?

    How are gays who are Christian treating you?

  20. Derrick

    I’m not gay….but I’m not openly bi either. I call it “doin’ me” lol. It’s no one’s business who I am attracted to or sleep with. My mom makes jokes about my sexual orientation. I just laugh because while she’s rubbing one out every night, I have options. I think people know that I’m bisexual. They don’t ask but if they were to ask I wouldn’t hesitate to tell them. I like to have some kind of mystery about myself. We live in a social media driven era where the whole world has to k kw what you’re doing at every given moment. It’s 2018 everybody is bi or gay…..even your grandma

  21. Mark

    I tried killing myself, that’s how I told my mom and brother! It’s been rough going with my mother my grandma was the best of all!!!

  22. Kevin

    I came out about 8 mouths ago I feel so much better I’m a gay bottom so much happier none of my friends agree with me my family says I’m going to hell my dad found out when he came home an walk in on me hatred came out but happiness came over me

  23. Bobby

    IMHO, unless you’re a world renowned actor and everyone knows your name, “coming out” isn’t a one shot deal. In fact, we gay people have to come out continuously as we navigate through life and meet new people who will assume you’re straight, even with well-intentioned remarks about marital status, or do you have children. Coming out, for most of us, is not a singular event, but a continual process of self declaration.

  24. Thug

    I think the whole “coming out” thing is pure homophobia. Children aren’t born in closets but some of us are raised in cages with bars built of hate, violence, ridicule, abandonment, and indifference. I refuse to use the paradigm because it so totally whitewashes what we should more properly be referring to as the developmental carnage inflicted by an all too often lethal form of child abuse. One doesn’t “come out” so much as begin to heal from the damage.

    I’ve told many people over the years that I’m one of “them” that they hate so badly and go to such great lengths from which to conceptually distance themselves.
    It’s rarely gone well for me. I often wind up trading one kind of invisibility for another.

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