Since I came out of the closet almost nine years ago, I have experienced and come across several men who are in the closet.
Some of these men are not sure what they are; some are bi and some are flat-out gay, but it’s a secret.
I want to make it clear that I respect anyone who is in the closet, and I don’t ever judge anyone for being in it.
You have to be ready to come out, which entails accepting exactly who you are, coming to terms with it and being willing to live your life openly as who you are.
Sadly, some people cannot ever accept it for themselves, so they remain in the closet the rest of their lives.
When I realized I was gay at the age of 16, I made the choice to live openly as gay because I cannot imagine keeping such a secret internally for the rest of my life.
To me, that just isn’t a way to live.
Regardless of my story, I respect anyone who isn’t comfortable coming out, but there are some people in the closet that I have a problem with.
I have shared my stories before about the fact that I have had several affairs with men in the past who were either married or had live-in girlfriends.
Obviously, I’m not proud of that, but it is what it is.
What angered me is that I would find myself in these affairs catching feelings for the other person or developing some kind of connection, whether that be love or other intense feelings.
I never once thought to out these people to my own advantage, but it irritated me that these men would want to continue an affair but not ever accept or openly live as who they really were.
It is almost as if they had forgotten that I wasn’t in the closet like they were. I was, and still am, an openly gay man.
I’m an openly gay man who would like to one day find the love of my life and live openly with him.
The purpose of this column is to express to those in the closet that I do understand reasons for being closeted, but I do not appreciate these men who take advantage of their sexual orientations, want to stay in secret relationships for their own satisfaction and leave the other person who is not closeted to have to go on living a secret life.
I made the decision to not live a secret life, so I sure don’t want to ever have to live someone else’s.
Please think about this before you solicit an openly gay person who you may be interested in.
You may have a secret to keep, but it isn’t fair for them to have to keep their feelings for you secret as well.
Andrew Paisley is a senior journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]