UB grad student Danielle Ariano “came out” to family and friends in careful stages — until a trip to Rehoboth set her course on fast-forward.
When some gay people come out (think Ricky Martin, Clay Aiken or the former ‘N Sync boy band member Lance Bass), the news is not really news at all. People generally react one of two ways: “Who the hell is (insert obviously gay celebrity’s name here)?” or “Did people actually think that (obviously gay celebrity’s name) was straight?” I’ve always wished that my own coming out could’ve been this simple. It would have been nice to just call a reporter and put it out there that I was now officially gay.
Since I am not a celebrity, however, my process was nothing like this. It began shortly after I graduated from college and it was long and arduous. Though I started out at a good pace, telling my sister, my parents and my two best friends, I then promptly shut my mouth because I wanted to assess what kind of long-term effect my gayness might have on my relationships. Once I’d realized that these tight-knit people weren’t going to disown me, I was most nervous to see how the news would impact our day-to-day exchanges. Sure, my family said that they loved me no matter what, but would that love be the same now that I was gay? I worried about the most ridiculous things. Would my mom feel funny hugging me or kissing me hello? What about my female friends? If I told them they looked pretty, would they think I was making a pass at them? Would we still share a dressing room when we went shopping so that we wouldn’t have to venture out into glaring fluorescent lights where other people might see us? Or were those days long gone? I didn’t know what the rules were in this strange new world so I took a cautious approach. Read More →