reactions to your coming out

You must expect, when you finally decide to show your true colors, to come out (not just sexually), to reveal who you really are, the following reactions from the herd you are exposing yourself among:

Revulsion: Actually a better word may be fear. When we are confronted by something we don’t understand, usually our first reaction is fear. What is strange to us we are afraid of because we have no idea how to control it, manage it or manipulate it. It is threatening to us. Some of the people who loved you will actually be afraid of you.

Rage: I was surprised by the amount of rage some people expressed at me for my change. I changed how I thought, how I behaved and ultimately how I belonged. Rage or anger is an emotion that emerges when we realize we have no control over the other person. It is often our way of trying to intimidate the other person into thinking or behaving or being what we want.

Ridicule: Expect to be anything from teased to outright derided. Again, ridicule is an attempt to shame another person into conformity. The hope is that if the person is embarrassed enough, perhaps they will return to their senses as well as to their former selves and hopefully to the community. Also, ridicule is a way of socially separating a different person from the normative crowd in a self-protective measure.

Rejection: Finally, expect to be rejected altogether. I’ve experienced this in abundance. I’m used to it… experientially but not emotionally. Even if it is expected, it is painful every time. I always tried to change while in the context of my beloved fellowships, but consistently my experience and observation is that the fellowships are unable to accommodate decisions for yourself.

Again, even though these are austere warnings, I want to remind you of my post yesterday that even though the departure is difficult, the arrival is amazing.

If you are going through such a transition in your life, I provide transition support. If you want to talk, email me



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  • Dawn

    I guess my next question is – do you still keep the lines of communication open towards those you have rejected you, in the hopes they will “grow up” and want to communicate with you?

  • jpd7906

    I agree with what you have posted here but would also add that it seems to me these reactions come from folks who are somehow threatened by the authentic self of the other. I think this is especially true of the rage response. Sad when it comes to the Body of Christ because we really shouln’t feel threatened by anyone or anything, especially other children of God.

  • Forcing people to give up their control of you by owning the right to think and speak and follow your own ideas and thoughts and questions –inspite all manner of emotional bullying — is a damned hard row to hoe. Amazing crop, though. Come out, come out, wherever you are.

  • Julia

    Speaking of ridicule….

  • Julia

    Oops. Looks like I commented on the wrong post!

  • Richard Lane

    What is strange, to me, is that when I show my true self as a proactive Christian man, I’m accepted by secular people and people of other faiths and rejected by…you guessed it…churchgoers. I would not disrespect the name of our Saviour by calling such people ‘Christians’ because a churchgoer is not necessarily a Christian. And, those who cannot accept a person who does not subscribe to parishioners’ vision of what a Christian should be are not following the path of Christ. I think back to the story of Christ healing the daughter of the Canaanite woman.

  • Sarah

    Good for you Richard.

  • sarahmorgan

    This is a great list. Not only does it apply to one’s “coming out” of whatever specific expectations people have developed for you over time, it is also the reaction you get when you move to a new area where people have already developed a set of general expectations of others, and you inadvertently defy all of their expectations right off the bat….this was my experience of church in the new town I moved into; since I wasn’t exactly the kind of ‘Christian’ that they automatically expected me to be, I was on the receiving end of your whole list. I’ve learned that no scorn is quite as nasty as that of an insecure, arrogant ‘Christian’ (especially a leader) when you don’t match up with their expectations of you….they simply can’t accept that they were initially wrong about you, and will fight tooth and nail to maintain the pretense of their infallibility.

  • Not to be a naysayer, but these are a list of 4 negative reactions one can expect. I have also encountered such reactions as curiosity, interest, and even encouragement from within the herd and its leadership. Very occasionally you also get some in the herd who say ‘About time! We were wondering when you’d stop pretending and accept this about yourself.’

    While the 4 ‘Rs’ above are a (large) part of it, it’s not all negative, not all fight or flight.

  • Woody Woodham

    Wow David, I feel bad that people who were suppose to be following Jesus made you feel this way. I am a Christian but I think Jesus wants his flock to be loving everyone unconditionally. I believe Jesus is real and that He spoke very harshly to the religious fanatics and people who thought they know all about God and how He judges a man. To us mortal common people, He wanted to show him/her things like respecting each other, doing unto others, true unselfish love and most of all forgiving one another. It’s just too bad so many who claim to be His followers get caught up into some weird kind of political trip that really is all about the commercialization of something that can not be commercialized. BTW, love that band, Quiet Company.