Unless you are gay or fit in somewhere along the queer spectrum you will never ever really be able to appreciate the traumas of coming out of the closet about your sexuality in this heteronormative world. There is simply no one way of doing this, and when young filmmaker Alden Peters decided it was time he took this step starting with his family and friends, he looked for a film that could help guide him through the process, but all he could find were fictional accounts.
He found that each of the stories were told in hindsight, and none of them ever mentioned what happened immediately after ‘the announcement’ which was an issue that particularly concerned him. He decided then to completely film the entire process as he breaks the news to everyone who is important in his life, and he even goes back and discusses their feelings and reactions again a few days later when the news has really sunk in.
Alden, currently studying in an NY College had been greatly effected by the outing of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, an 18 year old closeted man who had been surreptitiously filmed having sex with another man by his roommate who then shared the illicit movie on the internet. It very sadly resulted in a distraught Clementi taking his own life. The tragic incident inspired Peters to take control on the way that he would reveal his own situation to all the people who were important to him.
His journey turned out to be a rather joyous one, and without exception all of his family and his friends that he ‘came out’ too on camera, accepted his news calmly and without any hesitation re-affirmed that this didn’t alter their feelings or their relationship with him one iota. Telling his siblings separately was particularly touching with his very sweet younger brother initially thinking that he was being punked, but then his older brother made a point of later sharing that he not only respected Aiden’s resolve and honesty, but that he believed it had brought them even closer.
Peters is the first to admit that although he is sure of his sexuality he still has some issues to deal with at being of part of the wider gay community, but he is a very determined young man with an inquiring mind and there is no doubt that he will work that out. He was incidentally very quick to shut his mother down, who minutes after leaning about his sexuality, wanted to know if anal sex hurt!
This is a delightful highly personal film and Peters shares and compares his own experiences with others who have been down this road, including the activist Janet Mock. He also talks to a development psychologist and a sociologist , and in the end the result is not just a heartwarming record of the immensely likable Peters moving forward with his life, but it is something will most certainly become a resource for future generations of LGBTQ youth who need to make this leap themselves.
‘Coming Out’ is a definite must-see for not just those who still have to deal with leaving ‘the closet’, but those of us who wanted to be heartened by what a wonderful life affirming moment this can be when people love us for who we really are.