It’s almost universally true that gay men love to gossip. Something about the orientation of our X chromosomes, yadda yadda, blame it on what you want, the majority of us get an intense feeling of satisfaction from being the informant, placed at the center of attention due to the juicy knowledge we’re about to impart. But there are some things that we have to stop.
For me, coming out was different. Let’s be honest, everybody knew. Friends, teachers, my parents (although they didn’t want to admit it), my grandparents…the town didn’t shut down for a day because everybody fainted in shock when I finally owned up to it. The fact that people talked about it behind my back before I was ready to accept it caused me anxiety, but only because I was still fighting against something I already knew to be true. People would joke about it to my face, and I laughed and denied it. Gossiping about my being gay served the purpose of spurring me onward toward acceptance of myself, and so, looking back, I’m not upset at those who did it.
It’s an entirely different story when someone is discrete about their homosexuality, and is actively pursuing coming out to people important to him. For one person to overhear something and run to tell the next shows a lack of respect for the wishes of the person undergoing a major life transition. And the ones who rush to out others are always the ones who most vehemently protected their own identity until they were comfortable enough for everyone to know about it.
If you must gossip, pick up a tabloid and find a tidbit about some celebrity that I haven’t read about on Perez yet. Tell me about your dog’s love affair with the chocolate lab next door. Or regale me with a harmless story about the oncoming senility of your boss’ secretary. But do me a favor: don’t rush to tell me that someone is gay. You’re doing both that person and me an egregious wrong, and it isn’t your place at all to determine the pace at which they open themselves up to others.