Coming Out Stories: James Grady

People think of "coming out" as something you do once - perhaps twice if you aren't completely honest the first time - but in my experience at least coming out is something you're required to do over and over again. Sure, the gossip mill and social media might be able to take care of most of it for you, but time and again you're going to be confronted with that new person, or new circumstance, and you're going to have to do it all over again.

The first time I was tempted to come out as gay (or more accurately a bisexual who is ALMOST exclusively attracted to men) was in high school. After years of being tormented by school bullies, of which there were thankfully few, I was confronted on school bus returning from a debate trip by my best friend: "Are you gay?"

I nearly said yes, then, but she added, "Because I always defend you, but if you are, I'll save my breath." I thought this meant she wouldn't support me if I was, though she probably only meant that she'd would not keep telling people I was straight. Defend was a bad choice of words, and it didn't help she had confronted me in front of half the team.

It would be a few years before I'd admit some level of attraction to men, and then it would be to a younger, female friend in private, after she admitted some confusing entanglement with a girl. I came out to her. I didn't say, "I'm gay." I explained the confusing and complex layers of my attractions. Truth be told, I was attracted to her, and had been since I first met her.

Over the years I would tell a few people, all of whom would keep my confidence. I confessed being attracted to men and women to my wife. As a student in divinity school, I would open up to a friend, again a woman, who was a generation old than me and a good friend.

After my separation, when I began dating my current partner, Cody, I was again confronted about my sexuality. This time it was a male friend at synagogue of nearly seventy. He said, "So James, I have to ask.... 'This male friend we've been seeing you with?'" My heart seized up a bit but I said, "He's my boyfriend." He simply replied, "That's what I told my wife, but she couldn't tell one way or the other." And that was that.

I would tell my mother finally, both about my sexuality and the sexual abuse I had suffered as a teenager. I told my supervisor at the synagogue religious school - I taught teenagers - and offered to resign (which she refused). I told my grandmother and father later that same year, during the winter holidays.

When my partner and I had been together for half a year and started talking about living together during the coming summer, I decided that I couldn't hide anymore, but that I couldn't take the death by a thousand outings anymore, so I took to Facebook and came out in the modern fashion. I told everyone all at once.

But since then I've had to come out another hundred times, and will have to do so thousands of times more. It's a straight world, and everyone makes assumptions one way or the other, based on the most baseless of evidence (socially constructed gender norms).

Two of my high school students saw Cody and I walking down the synagogue halls holding hands. Two weeks later when I, in passing, referred to myself as LGBT, they were shocked. I introduced myself to my college students as the editor of Out & About Nashville, and mentioned having as son and a boyfriend, and one of my students later told me that the class didn't fully realize I was gay until midterms.

So coming out isn't really always a big one-time deal, especially in a world that defaults to straight with such strength that even coming out doesn't always get through to people! Coming out is a process, undertaken in many ways, in many moments, and those are a few of mine.

What's your coming out story? Share it in the comments below, or email us:





Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

National Pride Grant money

The LGBTQIA+ National Grant allows eligible small businesses to receive one of 25 grants totaling $25,000. Founders First is committed to increasing the number of diverse founder-led companies generating over $1 million in revenue and creating premium-wage jobs. To be eligible, the company's founder must identify as LGBTQIA+, have an active U.S.-based business, be the CEO, President, or owner, and employ between 2 and 50 employees

SAN DIEGO (PRWEB) May 06, 2023 -- Founders First CDC (Founders First), a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that empowers the expansion of diverse founder-led, revenue-generating businesses alongside TurningPoint Executive Search, is pleased to announce that the inaugural National Pride Grant, a grant fund to support U.S. based LGBTQIA+ small business owners, is now open for pre-registration.

Keep readingShow less

The Perfect Jean

Disclaimer: This product has been tested and reviewed by our writer and any views or opinions are their own. Please note there are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, we may earn a commission if you make a purchase.

I don’t know what it is with men’s jeans that make it so difficult to find the right pair. It takes time to go through all these denim brands and try styles like straight-legged, boot-cut, and then the disco favorite, flared jeans. Thanks to popular metal bands back in the day, acid-washed and stone-washed jeans were a thing–pair those with a biker jacket and some big hair, and you were set.

Keep readingShow less
Photo by Margo Amala on Unsplash

The Best Cannabis Edibles for 2023

Disclaimer: Please note there are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, we may earn a commission if you make a purchase.

I think we’ve all been there back in the day when we smoked our first joint, and then some, (sorry mom)–hacking, coughing, and choking on the herbaceous weed. Nowadays, there are several products on the market that produces the same effects but without a sore throat like the popular cannabis edibles.

Keep readingShow less