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Fern
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12 Jul 2022, 11:55 pm

I identify as bisexual/pansexual, which is something that has taken me some time to come around to acknowledge about myself. I've only been open about it since a year or two ago. Today I came out to someone I hadn't seen in about 6 years. In response, she said "Congratulations! I am so happy for you." It made me really unexpectedly happy to hear that. I found that happiness odd though because this wasn't someone I was terribly close with. I got to thinking about it and I realized something: this was the first positive reaction I've experienced when I came out to someone. Among my straight friends the main reaction I get is one of the fairly neutral responses below:
- "It doesn't bother me"
- "I don't think of you any differently"
- "Cool. You know, I thought about it and I don't think I'm bisexual." [proceeds to talk about themselves]

A solid percentage of my conservative family members have reacted more negatively though. Saying nothing at the time, then sending passive-aggressive gifts of framed pictures of Jesus that I was asked to open on my birthday in front of everyone, or by just outright saying "She's a heathen". Though the neutral reactions are much preferred to the homophobic variety, both make me feel like I shouldn't be bringing up my queerness in conversation, like no one really wants to hear about it. I guess it's nice to know that at least one person (besides me) feels happy about it. Maybe it's because she is queer too, so she understands.



kraftiekortie
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13 Jul 2022, 6:08 am

You’re a scientist. That’s enough for me :)



Lost_dragon
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13 Jul 2022, 4:50 pm

On a personal note, I actually prefer more neutral reactions. There's a part of me that worries about the sincerity behind positive responses, I worry that it is for show and that it could change in the future. Unfortunately, I have come across such people. I find that to be particularly hurtful, when people act accepting but turn around and say they've changed their mind. So, understandably I am hesitant, but I remind myself (when faced with a positive reaction) that it is most likely well-intended.

I find neutral reactions to be comforting. A quiet acceptance. Of course happy reactions are welcome as well, but I've been out of the closet for a while now. I first came out to a handful of people at the age of fourteen, which did not go well at all. So I hopped back into the closet and came out to my friends when I was sixteen, then to my family at eighteen. It was very much a gradual development, it didn't happen all at once. For a while I struggled to come out, not because I didn't want to but rather it took some time to fully process and move on from the initial negative pushback.

When people respond "Oh, OK" and then casually alter their questions to reflect this new information, it makes me feel secure and respected. I typically have more in-depth conversations about identity and such with others in the community compared to when I come out to people who are not a part of the community.

Generally I try to base my reaction to someone coming out on how serious the other person presents the information, if they seem unfazed then I will react accordingly. Sometimes I may ask about their out status and how long they've been out.


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wvwaxhtp
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02 Aug 2022, 10:39 am

someone "congratulating" me for being bi would weird the hell out of me. what you called a positive response i would call cringe. "i don't think of you any differently" would be the sweetest kind of reaction in my opinion. i'd be really happy to hear that from someone.



Leahcar
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13 Aug 2022, 5:30 pm

Neutral reactions are cooler to me than positive ones. I don't want to be gushed over or treated differently, just accepted. And when people are neutral or nonchalant, it feels more genuine than weird congratulations or whatever.


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DanielW
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13 Aug 2022, 5:36 pm

I don't think someone saying congratulations is a bad thing. They aren't congratulating you for your sexuality, rather that you have decided what is right for you. For some people, figuring out of their labels can be difficult. What's wrong with congratulating someone whose just done a difficult thing?



Fern
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17 Aug 2022, 1:45 pm

Leahcar wrote:
Neutral reactions are cooler to me than positive ones. I don't want to be gushed over or treated differently, just accepted. And when people are neutral or nonchalant, it feels more genuine than weird congratulations or whatever.


Yes, I don't mind something that feels like a neutral response, but that's my point. Are "I don't mind" or "Don't worry about it" or "I don't see you any differently" really neutral? They sound like responses a person would have to an apology. Seriously, imagine someone leans into you on a crowded bus and says "Excuse me" or "Sorry about that". "That's ok" or "Don't worry about it" or "I don't mind" or "It's fine" are normal responses you might say in return. I guess I find people's reactions around me sound a little like that... except that I'm not inconveniencing anyone by coming out and I didn't apologize for being the way I am either. So why do people say "It's ok" or "I don't mind" or "don't worry about it"?

Maybe this is the way people say "I don't really want to talk about it, can we move on to what I want to talk about?"



Fern
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17 Aug 2022, 1:51 pm

wvwaxhtp wrote:
someone "congratulating" me for being bi would weird the hell out of me. what you called a positive response i would call cringe. "i don't think of you any differently" would be the sweetest kind of reaction in my opinion. i'd be really happy to hear that from someone.


I mean, yeah, if it was out of nowhere it would weird me out too. I mean when I come out to them though. However, I've been told that my picture is under the word "cringe" in the dictionary.

DanielW wrote:
I don't think someone saying congratulations is a bad thing. They aren't congratulating you for your sexuality, rather that you have decided what is right for you. For some people, figuring out of their labels can be difficult. What's wrong with congratulating someone whose just done a difficult thing?


Exactly



naturalplastic
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17 Aug 2022, 2:08 pm

DanielW wrote:
I don't think someone saying congratulations is a bad thing. They aren't congratulating you for your sexuality, rather that you have decided what is right for you. For some people, figuring out of their labels can be difficult. What's wrong with congratulating someone whose just done a difficult thing?



Yes. I was thinking along these lines. The person was congratulating you for "coming out" or "for being honest about it" , or like that.

Kinda like how the doctor sort of congratulated me for my aspergers diagnosis. It was for getting the self-knowledge, not for having the condition (which I had already had all of my life).