I’m From Phoenix, AZ.

by philip calderon

The Steering Committee meeting was taking a short break.  A bunch of us gay people gathered in the kitchen and started talking about what else – coming out.  Pretty soon we were all laughing hysterically at the crazy things some of us had done when we first came out.  That’s when pretty little seventeen-year-old Jenny walked up and said, “I wish I knew what you guys were talking about but, you see, I never came out.” This silenced the group because Jenny was extremely active in the gay community and almost single-handedly started the Gay-Straight Alliance at her high school.  Then someone told her she’s got to be kidding.  That’s when Jenny said in that whispery voice of hers, “No, I never came out because I never went into the closet.  One morning I realized I was a lesbian and that afternoon I told my Mom and she said OK.”  I was stunned as were all the other forty- and fifty-somethings around me.  None of us had ever heard of a gay person that had never been in the closet.

That was fifteen years ago.  Now I know several young gay people that have never been in the closet.  I even have a word to distinguish the Jennies from everyone else. The word is “affirm” like in “Jenny affirmed her sexuality at fourteen instead of going in the closet.”


  1. Another great story, Philip, thanks.

    I had never even thought about how in time, “coming out” will seem sooo early millennium. I’m looking forward to that.

  2. This reminds me of a story a friend told me in college. Her gay father called her up to let her know it would be ok if she were straight. She called him back to tell him she wanted to bring her boyfriend home to meet the family.

    Maybe one day everyone will get to affirm their sexuality regardless of what it is.

  3. Won’t it be great when affirming sexuality will be a normal part of puberty? When as children grow up they will discover their sexual attractions naturally and that nothing will interfere with the natural course each child’s emotions will take? I look forward to that day, when I can hear my middle school students talking about who is going with whom and hear, “Jenny broke up with Kelly,” and “Bill and Jake are going now” with no more or less interest than the fact that “Analyse is going with Yusuff”

    That will be a great day.

    Great Story!

  4. That’s an inspiring line of thought, sir. Thanks for the new term, I’ll remember to use it. I hope we hear it more and more.

  5. When I was in the closet, I thought that was normal -that was were all gay people should be. Glad to see I was wrong.

  6. There is a progression here and that’s why it’s so important to reclaim our history.

    In my lifetime we have gone from “getting caught” to “coming out” to “affirming our sexuality”.

    I can’t wait for the day when young gay people are as ignorant as their straight peers about the closet. It will happen. My generation, those that grew up in the 60’s, and all generations since are as ignorant as their straight peers about what it was like when you didn’t come out; you got caught..

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