Today, October 11, is National Coming Out Day. It is a day to throw off veils and shackles, to allow yourself to be fully self-expressed, a day to refuse to hide and lie. SO, of course, is tomorrow, and the day after that…The myriad individuals of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (and if we go through all the LGBTQQITA alphabet soup, we continue with: Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Two-Spirit, and Allies) are members of every other cross-section of society. Every religion, every belief, every political party, every financial status, every race, every creed, every color, every job description, every age…each subset includes a percentage of individuals that are gay. The incredible opportunity today and every day, in choosing to be honest about yourself, is the example you set for young people struggling and fearful of themselves and of the reactions of the world. We know reactions can be truly crappy and small-minded…people think homosexuality is optional, evil, irresponsible, a sickness, a perversion, and they simply don’t know that homosexuality looks JUST LIKE EACH OF THEM. By learning that people around them at work, at home, at school, at the mall, everywhere, are comfortably gay, it becomes much more difficult to demonize. My partner and I take the responsibility of being the best example of a healthy, happy, goofball couple very seriously, and it has made a difference to attitudes and actions of people around us. As the parents of friends, and kids of friends, have gotten to know us, it has exploded the stereotypes and fear-generated wrong opinions they have long held. It doesn’t always work–it would be naive to expect that in today’s world there would be a complete lack of negative reaction, but as more and more people step up, and out, it is powerfully disarming.
And, of course, it is a process and it goes on and on, with new friends, employers, neighbors, and more. It needn’t be the first thing out of your mouth, but if someone who has recently been introduced asks about your wife/husband, when you really have (or want) a husband/wife, you owe it to yourself to be comfortable correcting them. It only gets easier with practice, but your life gets easier INSTANTLY. Be brave, and more importantly, be generous with yourself, with your authentic self, and acknowledge how much the world around you needs you unfettered by denial.