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Here’s Why Some People In Malta Are Still ‘In The Closet’

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Malta has undergone a seismic shift when it comes to LGBTIQ+ rights in the space of a decade. And while the country may be celebrating Pride Month, many on the islands still struggle to be open about their sexuality. 

As part of a Lovin Malta survey, people who are yet to come out of the closet detailed why they’re keeping their sexuality a secret, for now.

The experience of coming out to friends and family can be complex. It is a personal choice and for many, the fear of judgement, whether it’s from their parents or their friends, means that they’ve so far remained in the closet. 

And while their ages, gender and sexuality vary, all of them came from conservative backgrounds.

“I’ve heard how my parents talk about gay people. How am I supposed to tell them?” one man, aged 20, said. 

“I’m scared they’ll kick me out. I’m a student with no job or income, and I don’t want to lose my family.”

“I’m terrified to come out to my current friends. I came out to my parents and a previous friend group, and it was really traumatic. I don’t want to lose my friends again,” said another, aged 18.

Others, however, seemed to remain in the closet at the workplace, living an open life when around family and friends, but expressly keeping their private lives private at the office.

“I work in the construction industry where being LGBTIQ+ is frowned upon. It’s serious workplace toxic masculinity,” one man, in his 30s, said.

“I’m out to my family but not at work because I’m adamant that someone at work will make my sexuality the butt of a joke and my career might be negatively impacted because people in higher ranks know I’m a guy into guys. My immediate manager is both xenophobic and homophobic,” another man, also in his 30s, said.

However, the major trend among respondents who were yet to come out to their parents was that they are bi-sexual, confirming studies which indicate that they’re far less likely to be out to the people in their lives.

“I’m scared of the reactions of my current and family members if they were to find out,” a woman in her late 20s said.

“Sometimes I feel you need to be one or the other, especially as a man. I think women would look at me differently if they knew I sometimes dated guys,” a man, also in his late 20s, said.

“Some people also just don’t seem to understand it. They hear bi and they think gay. It’s just easier to keep it to myself.”

“I’ve come out to five close friends and this has not changed the dynamic of our friendship. Women have been supportive but with men it’s a far more grey area,” a man in his early 20s said. 

“The homophobic ‘jokes’ I’ve heard some of my male peers say during ‘boy talk’ still scare me from being openly out. I have a lot of male friends who I cherish and fear that if they knew I was bi, it would change their perspective of me or our friendship. Also, I am quite sure my highly religious parents would not approve.”

Others, though, avoid coming out to people because they don’t feel like having to explain their own orientation.

“As a non-binary person, coming out will always come with a lengthy explanation of my identity. . I am extremely close with my grandparents and their siblings – and I’m afraid that coming out will ruin the only loving family relationships I have,” one person said.

“I hate having to constantly go into detail about my pronouns – or worse, even get into a debate about it. The people who need to know, know – so what’s the point in always having to tell people,” another, aged 25 said.

Still, there were others who simply didn’t feel the need to come out and stressed that their identity was more than their sexual orientation.

“I think ‘coming out’ is ridiculous. I am so much more than my sexuality,” one person said.

“I don’t think I’ve ever actually ‘come out’. I just always lived my life and people caught on,’ another said.

Coming out is a challenging moment for everyone in the LGBTIQ+ community. It’s always important to remember that you are not alone and there are countless groups who can help if you need it.

Should coming out even matter?

READ NEXT: An Empowering Project Has Been Launched To Develop Parasport For Blind And Visually Impaired Persons In Malta

Julian is the Editor at Lovin Malta with a particular interest in politics, the environment, social issues, and human interest stories.

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