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Jack Dixon

April 2001

In Search of Identity

Are you out? How many times a day do you get asked that? A week? A year? Does it annoy you or do you relish the opportunity to "witness" to the questioner? It seems to me that much of our own identity hinges to varying degrees on how "out" we are. Think about it a minute or two. If you came out, what was it like at first? Many of us had good, positive, reaffirming experiences. But many of us also were beaten, thrown out of our homes, and humiliated. Some of us have even have paid with our lives.

Do you remember the heat in your soul when you were still in the closet? Are you still there, feeling the blisters on your heart from the fire of wanting to be open and honest about who you are and who you love? When you go out and notice a beautiful man, and your gaydar goes crazy, do you wish you could talk to him?, or do you not hesitate? Are you afraid of being "found out," or does everyone know so you don't care?

When I consider the heat of the closet, the frustration of knowing I was gay and the terror of being discovered, I am thankful that I came out, though it was not an easy decision and it has cost me dearly in many ways. But I can finally look myself in the mirror every day and smile. I am completely honest about who I am . I don't advertise it or yell it from the rooftops. Neither do I lie about spending my weekend nights in gay dance clubs or being on a date with a really nice (and usually very cute) guy. When I have a boyfriend, I talk about him freely when friends and co-workers talk about their girlfriends or boyfriends or spouses. I can always tell when they first realize that I am gay as we talk about such things, and I am most often very pleased with the reaction, or lack thereof, that results from my unassuming honesty.

Being gay is who I am. Maybe that's who you are too. It does not define you as a person, but is a major part of who you are. Maybe you are completely out and are glad. Maybe everyone but your family knows, or your work, or your church. Maybe you are still in the closet altogether. If you want out, it's okay to get help. Go to the bookstore and get a book about coming out. Borders and Barnes & Nobles both have good Gay and Lesbian Literature sections, check them out or go online to their sites. Research it. Then take action. If you want to talk to someone who has been there and done that, but don't know where to start, email me. My address is jackdixon1029@hotmail.com Don't be shy, I just want to help you get out of the heat of the closet. If I can't help you or don't know what it's like being in your situation, I can promise you I know someone else who has been and can help you. It's time to claim your true identity.

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Jack Dixon resides in central New York and currently works for USA Relay. An avid martial artist and openly gay twenty-nine year-old, Jack also spends much time online counseling friends and friends' friends about everything from how God really views gays to how to keep a healthy relationship going. You can write to Jack at jackdixon1029@hotmail.com


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