What a refreshing and beautiful set of posts.
Can I add some history, just in case it might be helpful to some.(I'm not trying to preach by the way, just giving a view of my life) I too know of the wonder and great feeling of being able to be ourselves in the world. I have known the fear too, even though I didn't think it should affect me.
Many years ago,(before some of you even knew you were gay.....hell, before some of you were born...but still at a time when it was starting to be ok to be ourselves), I knew that I was gay and was very comfortable with it. But then many years later, my partner and I moved to a new area, started new jobs, and never being one of those people who moved into town, bought a house and posted a sign saying "new gay in town", I naturally didn't publicize myself.
For the first time in my life, though, due to jealousy, not thinking or just because he must have thought it was fun( he was a "not happy homosexual"), I was "outed" by a guy at work. Boy, I was pissed. Not that I was not comfortable with who I am, but because I didn't think it was appropriate for someone else to announce it for me. (Actually, my own reaction p'd me off about myself.) Shortly after, however, was the great company Xmas party. My staff asked if "we" were going to the big black tie event. I said no. I would probably go for business purposes, but wouldn't put my other half through that. Well...they could not have been more supportive. Insisted that this was a family event and if we felt uncomfortable, that a group of them would meet us outside at the party and we could all walk in together so that none of the others at the party would know who came with whom. I have never been more touched, and I never learned so much about people being the people they really are. God, what a fantastic evening, and what a learning experience. Seems that, through the gossip pipe line, everyone in the company knew (or at least the ones without blinders on, who wouldn't have known if it had slapped them in the face) and no one cared. They truly were looking at us as a couple, not as sexual statistics. And I learned a lesson that I use and push to this day.
Which is: "Never underestimate the intelligence and compassion of those around you". In many aspects, we are lucky to be living in the times we are. My personal philosophy, which I throw out only as an example is---You don't need to announce to the world you are gay, but you don't need to hide yourself either. If someone has the guts to ask you if you are gay, one of two things is happening. Either they are truly interested in you as a person, and the fact that you are gay, will make no difference to them at all and only bring them closer to you friends......or.....they are trying to catch you in a lie.(And yeah, there still are some people like that....but are we going to let them rule the world?) I feel it can cause us grief if we are caught in that lie. I made the decision not to give them the satisfaction of catching me in a lie and have found myself better for it, both inside and out.
Again, I have to say, I am not preaching for someone to come out. Personally, I don't think it is necessary.We all have the right to privacy, straight, gay, inbetween. But as I mentioned before, sometimes we have this tendency to ignore the intelligence of the people around us. We may already be out and not know it.
And, hopefully, to make it more pertinent to the reason this forum is here, as survivors, one has enough to deal with, without having to worry about how one's sexual orientation affects the rest of the world. Sexual orientation is not the survivors fault, just as none of the things that happened in the past were the survivors fault.As a gay person, you are more whole than the person who abused you.
"Love yourself, like you want everyone to love you." - no author, just popped into my head tonight, plagarize the Golden Rule.