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[coming out stories]

Philip C. Rubin
Self-employed Architect, San Francisco, CA
October 11, 2004


I've two coming out stories ... one to my friends and one to my mother.

Coming out to friends ....

While I was a student at National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) in 1970, a deaf friend from NYC (who later became my roommate) approached me during a midweek fraternity party to ask me if I ever heard of bars in Chicago (they were gay bars) which I never heard of. He finally asked if I would like to go to a bar in Rochester, NY where people dressed fashionably and loved to dance. I told him OK and we went that Friday night. He was clever enough to make us go early at 9 PM in order to get me more relaxed (booze) by the time more men start to arrive. We played the grading game which we grade men based on their looks and dress. The "A" guy came up to me and asked if I would like to dance (disco type). My friend pushed me to accept and I came to realization that I was gay and enjoy men. That night became an ectastic blur. Good enough within a week, the whole campus knew that I was gay through the word of mouth. I had no choice but to come out. That was when I realized who were my true friends and who weren't. I don't want to waste my time and emotions going after people who do not accept me for who I am. This philosophy still stands true today whether I'm deaf and/ or gay.

Coming out to my mother ....

It was in the fall of 1970 when I came out at NTID in Rochester, New York. As soon as holidays came about, I went home to Chicago and spend time with my family. Of course, I became very curious about gay bars in Chicago and wanted to go. After few nights of staying out late, my mother would often ask where was I and why did I stay out so late. At first, I told her that I had so much fun with my friends that I lost track of time. However, I got tired of lying to my mother and sat her down at the breakfast nook table. I told her that I loved her too much to lie and dont want to live a lie .... and that I prefer men than women (gay wasn't the vogue term back then ... I thought homosexual was too strong of a word to break the news). She broke down and cried "Don't you want a family/ children? I'll be more than happy to pay for psychiatrist if you want one?" I told her that I was very happy the way I was and didn't need a psychiatrist ... and that having a family was not the choice I wanted. She wouldnt discuss this subject again for about seven years until she met my lover Roger while we were living at Marina City Towers in Chicago. She would ask "How was your roommate?" She wouldn't mention the word 'lover' but at least she was warming up to ask about him. That was the first breakthrough. From that point on, she would demand to meet my new lover and "interview" him before accepting him to be her "son-in-law". In 1984, my lover Sam from Dallas, TX (we were living in Dallas then) flew to Chicago on a business trip and contacted my mother to meet her (without me!). They had "a couple of drinks" and had fabulous time! Sam told me things about my mother which I never knew! It was great that they were able to share things. My current lover Cliff went through the interview process at my mother's lakefront condominium in Chicago while I was there. During the "interview", Cliff looked aside at me ... we laughed. Until her death (bless her soul), Cliff and my mother talked on the phone almost every Sunday to keep up the news about each other. Time and love helped my mother overcome her initial shock at finding out that I was gay ... a big gain for her, me, and three partners of mine. (Side note: I broke up with my first lover Roger who was too young (19 yrs old!). My second lover Sam of Dallas, TX passed away of AIDS. I still live with my current domestic partner Cliff in San Francisco for eleven and half years.)



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