“Ich bin schwul und das ist auch gut so”—I am gay and that is a good thing”. This is what Berlin’s Mayor Klaus Wowereit prior to the 2001 mayoral elections said. In a matter of seconds, everybody throughout Germany knew about it. There was positive feedback about his coming out, but it also aroused criticism.
In this essay, I would like to discuss the assets and drawbacks of coming out the closet. I think this is a very important subject because many people struggle with their sexuality. Reflected in this struggle, many people are flawed to the degree at which they hide their sexuality. It takes a lot of courage to come out the closet and therefore many homosexuals decide to rather stay anonymous. How different one can react in regard to this subject is shown in Tony Kushner’s play “Angles in America”. Most of the characters in this play struggle with their sexuality as well. Roy, Joe, Louis and Belize all deal with the issue of coming out throughout the play. However, every single one of them deals differently with this issue. Prior is definitely one of the most openly gay characters in the play. He demonstrates certain openness about his sexuality within the play, he shows his dependence on his boyfriend Louis when he is not feeling very well. Prior says at the end of the play: “I can handle pressure, I am a gay man and I am used to pressure”. (Here Prior implies that being gay has made him stronger than most people; discrimination towards him, has made him “tough.”)
Contrary to him, for example is Joe, who is definitely not comfortable with his homosexuality and is married to a woman. Later in the play, he eventually leaves her to explore a relationship with Louis, but the marriage shows his state or condition of being closeted. Last but not least there is Roy, who is clearly feared to express his sexuality. He calls himself a heterosexual, even though he has sex with guys. “Because what I am is defined entirely by who I am. Roy Cohn is not homosexual. Roy Cohn is a heterosexual man…who fucks around with guys.”
I think these three characters show three very common examples of how people react with respect to coming out. There are the ones who openly express their sexuality from the beginning, the ones who will at some point in their life decide to tell the truth and the ultimately the ones who will never come out and fight against their own feelings. As mentioned above, I think that the whole process of coming out needs a lot of courage. In addition to that it is not safe in every country to come out. In some countries it is against the law to be gay. Not every gay community achieved such success like in the United States on June 26th. A pro of coming out is that one can be more true to himself/herself and pursue the lifestyle that is most fulfilling.
It must be a huge relief to be able to live in the truth and to be honest with one’s self and the surrounding people. One needs to keep in mind that it is not always one’s self who is being lied to, usually there are more people affected like Harper being lied to by Joe for many years. Nevertheless, I can (totally) understand the worries of the ones who are scared to come out of the closet. Our family and friends mean the world to us and those relations can seem so breakable, especially when we are not sure what their reaction will be to our relationship. No one wants to lose loved ones and coming out may not seem worth the risk. Aside from that, many people fear that they will be treated differently after they tell the truth. After all, one has to figure out for oneself if it is the right time and place for a coming out. I personally can only show my respect to those who did it. Weil es gut ist- because it is a good thing.