Francis Rubio

How coming out changed me

Having the freedom to be who I actually am

It’s been more than a year since I came out as a bisexual man. I wrote about my experiences as a closted bisexual man in a previous blog post. Since the day I came out, I have experienced changes that were all for the better. I wrote and published that blog post on April 11, 2021. But it was not until more than a month after that I have told everyone about the post. It scared me to realize that this decision would have actual lasting effects on me and the people around me.

The fear of a broken narrative.

In my mind, I am building a narrative, just like many others. In this narrative, I have maintained my heterosexuality despite my feminine gender expression. And I have worked hard through the years to convince everyone—myself, even—to believe this narrative. Friends and family have believed this to be true, albeit I am sure they had their own doubts, just that they weren’t in the position to question.

The problem is I have tied my entire existence to this narrative that I feared that, should the narrative break down, I would find myself exposed for the actual person I am. I feared that people most important to me would lose the trust they placed on me. I feared the mockery that was coming, people saying oh ’di ba, sabi ko na bading ’yan eh. (See? I told you that [person] is gay.) And I feared that the same mockery would befall my friends and family who trusted me and has time and again swore with both their hands that the narrative, that I was straight, was true. To me, it felt akin to a murderer who swore he didn’t do it, made his friends and family swear to everyone they know that my alibi holds up, only to have him eventually guilty and to have these people be in shock that they have become accomplice to the crime.

Before I came out, a few of my students hurled homophobic statements about me without me knowing

Of course, being gay is no murder, as much as society and religion pushes it to be. But the hate the world has placed onto us is baffling. Even as I was building the narrative of me being heterosexual, plot holes in the story started to leak. As they say, when you’re gay, many people would notice. It’s not really something you can easily hide. And this was apparent when I was teaching.

Back then, before I came out, a few of my students hurled homophobic statements about me without me knowing. In a secret group chat, that I eventually found out thanks to someone concerned, these kids—students I have admired even—had described me as a “cock sucker” who had a lot of things to say and was in denial of my sexuality. They had called me slurs in that private conversation, and sadly I haven’t heard anything out of it after I had reported it to the school admin. I am pretty sure they’ve done what they can; after all, it was almost the end of school year when it all came to light.

Such aggressions had already been thrown at me even as I was within the confines of the closet I was hiding in. What more would I have once I am out? I feared for my life, not that it would end, but that it would go on with so much pain that it would be better to end it.

The joys of liberation.

I finally posted that blog post in my social media pages as my way of coming out. The next time I saw my friends, they had expressed their support and love. I apologized that I had called them in that post as “having homophobic tendencies” and explained that, while they were very supportive and caring, some things that were built into them by years of being exposed to our society as straight men had creeped into some of their actions and words. Recently, we had talked about it again, and I was very happy to know that to them nothing had changed about the way they see me. They had always deferred to me when people asked them about my sexuality, and it didn’t matter to them that the narrative I have made them believe was now changed.

Since then, I have found someone I love and loves me back. We met online the same year I came out, and now, through the perils of romantic relationships, I can say we are standing strong together. It feels so good to have feelings towards someone you can be who you are. I’ve had flings with women in the past, but I got to say that it was not at all pleasant for me that I have to put on a masculine persona just to please them and have them like me back. One fling I had even told me that they would “make me a man”. It made me very uncomfortable, considering that I wasn’t trans and that I am as much of a man as any other. The person I am with now accepts me for who I am and helps me become the best version of myself.

Through his help, I have uncovered and made sense of a lot of past trauma that I have and how it affects me and my behaviors. Just talking to him about my mom’s death and how it affected me has helped me grieve properly just now, 11 years after her death. He has helped me navigate other relationships I have, not just the one between us. He has helped me create a new perspective about friendships and how it shouldn’t just be casual friendly banter but rather a relationship just as close and intimate as a romantic one without the sexual intimacy. He has helped me cope with the trauma of being bullied for being poor, ugly, and having bad hygiene back when I was in high school. I was depressed for not being able to grieve my mom’s death properly and being passed the responsibility of working for me and my brothers at age 11, and so I didn’t have the energy to take care of myself, and I was bullied for it. He has also helped me realized that some friendships can be ended, too, when it no longer serves us.

Spending years inside a Christian church has brought me pain and suppression of liberties that I am still healing from.

Being out of the closet has also made me re-examine my spirituality and connection with God. I had been one of Jehovah’s Witnesses for more than a decade, and coming out has voided my membership with that religion. The organization has instilled in me many beliefs and values that I no longer want to uphold. Coming out has made me agnostic in that I am not sure whether God is real or not, but either way I don’t care since the answer would not have much bearing on how I live my life.

Spending years inside a Christian church has brought me pain and suppression of liberties that I am still healing from. Even just interactions with people who identify as Christian sets off alarms in my brain and makes me put up walls to not let them in. Certain behaviors and way of talking that is common to Christians and religious people makes me instantly wary of them, as if they were out to get me. It was like a relationship with a narcissist; it was exhausting to always try and change yourself to conform to the rules, people around you always trying to make you become someone you are not. My experiences inside has told me that my worth was in doing things for other people, to the point that I neglected myself. And I do not want that happening again. I do not have anything against people who abide by certain beliefs and practices; all of us need something to better ourselves. However, I believe that I am not the Christ himself, and as such I do not have to crucify myself to help others just to have worth; I am inherently worthy, and I am entitled to happiness I deserve.

The state of life.

It had been too long for me to be inside that closet… I had to be safe before I am free.

I am proud of myself and who I am today. This is Francis at his prime, his happiest, and his most free self. I have been at my lowest for the longest time and now I am finally winning. It had been too long for me to be inside that closet, writing the narrative and building a character that was not fully true to myself. At the time, it served the purpose to protect me; I had to be safe before I am free. But now, that narrative has become a crutch that I no longer need. The final chapter of that novel has been written, and now it’s time for me to write the first chapter of my autobiography.
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