Today is National Coming Out Day. I came out as pansexual this Summer after the Pulse nightclub shooting. Most people in my life already knew that I'm not heterosexual but then there was a big handful of people that didn't know.
A lot of people don't understand that coming out in any capacity is still a big deal. A lot of people think "it's 2016, who cares, it's so common now no one cares whether you're straight or not!" In theory that's a lovely thought but it isn't reality.
Since coming out pansexual in June to everyone that didn't already know, I've faced some derision and negativity from people I had in my life that I didn't expect it from. From 7 different people that decided I'm no longer welcome in their lives just because they found out I'm attracted to and have had relationships with other females.
Most recently on Dallas Pride Day, a person I've known for 10 years "didn't realize" I wasn't straight. He blocked me because he's so vehemently against everything LGBTQ+. I knew he had issues because his religious beliefs have him believing it's wrong but I didn't know he was so hate filled that he'd accuse me of being a bad person, of being "wrong" for just being who I am. It hurt and even though I know absolutely that I'm better off without someone like that being part of my life in any capacity, it still hurt that this person I considered a friend for so long could just say "eww you're disgusting" and be done with me just like that.
I recently participated in the Walk To END Alzheimer's. I send emails as well as posting on social media to gain donations. A couple that has supported my Walk fundraising efforts every year until this year as well as helping with my Toys for Tots fundraiser for the entire time I've done that, responded to my final email to let me know they hadn't in fact deleted their Facebook accounts but had blocked me after my coming out post. "You're a great person but we didn't know of your sexuality all these years and unfortunately we cannot continue supporting you in your fundraising efforts for the Alz Walk, Toys for Tots or anything else as we deeply disapprove of your lifestyle. We can't in good conscience continue giving money to you for these causes as long as you are a part of the gay agenda. If this ever changes, feel free to contact us again. This is hard for us and I am sorry it came to this." No paraphrasing there, I copied that directly from their email.
My third and last recent instance (although I have 3 more but this is so long already) came from a female friend that decided that despite the fact I've never once flirted with her that she couldn't be near me anymore because she could no longer "trust my intentions." Which if I might remind everyone, being attracted to more than one gender doesn't mean you're indecisive or greedy or just want every person you see. So not true, please stop associating this way.
Like I said, I know I'm better off without these people in my life but it was still hard to deal with when it's so unexpected from people that have been part of my life for years. From people that supported me and seemed to care about me. Usually in years passed (since I was around 15 when I first started tentatively telling people) this type of negativity comes from people I don't know well so it's never really bothered me since I had nothing emotionally or mentally invested. But, I thought better of these people and had connections with them. And I thought I was strong enough to not let any of it get to me so I was angry with myself ob top of everything else every time I let one of these recent instances hurt me. It's okay to be hurt, though. It doesn't make me weak to be hurt when someone does something upsetting even if that person is being toxic toward me. In these cases I think the letting myself be hurt once I got passed being mad at myself helped to let go.
Even if a person faces zero negativity or falling out from coming out, it doesn't make any fear or apprehension they felt prior any less valid. You don't get to belittle the emotions they felt because you personally don't think it's a big deal. For them, it likely was. For them, it was likely scary and unnerving.