Closet Gays and Playing Hide and Seek with Oneself: Carl Nassib Leads by Example

He’s trying his best to catch your attention. Paying rather awkward compliments, to say the least. Hovering around you but more likely, hovering mostly around himself, because he doesn’t want to answer the question: What am I?

This isn’t the beginning of a romantic story about a shy boy who’s “stricken speechless” when he meets the girl he’s in love with. These two or three sentences sum up the situation of those closet gays who develop a crush on another guy but at the same time imagine they can keep up appearances of being one hundred per cent straight. Being split into halves is sad… Playing hide-and-seek with oneself is the nastiest thing possible that can happen to anyone. If you can’t sort yourself out from within, you’ll never be able to achieve harmony, whatever your surroundings.

In fact, closet gays, besides not being truly happy, often do something else too – they allow themselves to “kidnap” a victim. An innocent victim who’s usually in love with them and trusts them blindly. This woman never gets a chance to know what reciprocated feelings are like, because she’s being cheated. At first there’s sex, then there isn’t that either, for obvious reasons. Next comes a child because that’s what society expects. Then comes infidelity. Not infrequently in the form of a secret relationship with another closet gay. This miserable existence could have been avoided if the closet gay had the strength to conduct a frank monologue and clarify to himself which gender he’s attracted to and what kind of life he longs to live.

Hiding – because homophobia is widespread, especially in Bulgaria, is no way of patching up your conscience. People of character know how to make dignified choices, fight for them, sustain damages, but keep their principles.

National Football League player Carl Nassib came out last year. The six-foot-seven-tall athlete hardly fits into the “limp wrist” stereotype. Could he have withheld the truth? Yes, he could have, like many others. But what’s the point of doing so?! This is who he is, and he wants to express his essence.

Prejudice can’t be changed automatically. It takes a lot of hard work. Regarding Nassib, I came across an endless number of tweets by conservative folks, fans of his, who congratulated him and admired his courage. Indeed, if we’re in Brunei or Afghanistan, coming out of the closet may be dangerous, but we in developing democracies, we should strive to fight with all those stifling clichés, especially when it comes to love.

The commander of Hitler’s SA storm troopers, Ernst Röhm, made no secret of his sexual orientation. Röhm’s deputy, Edmund Heines, was caught in bed with another boy on the Night of the Long Knives. That Adolf purged Röhm wasn’t accidental: Hitler was acutely afraid of him because Röhm never hesitated to criticise him. The very fact of standing up in those times to the omnipotent Führer is proof of courage, contrary to the stereotypes about gays being cowards.

Homophobia must be opposed by different gays – each standing, telling his own story, but with one common right: the right to happiness!