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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Coming Out Day Things

Today is National Coming Out Day. The Human Rights Campaign has chosen to honor it by releasing it's Striaght Guide to GLBT Americans. Purdue's QRC organization has released some awesome "Come Out Rockin'" T-shirts. If I didn't already have more free T-shirts than I can deal with, I'd totally buy one.

As it is, I think telling my own story would be a good way to honor NCOD. Coming out is a four-step process, and not everyone comes out all the way (and honestly, some people's situations mean they shouldn't).

First, you come out to yourself. Some people will never figure out the reason they're not attracted to the opposite gender. Some people will permanently think that being gay is a choice, or a phase, or other backflips of logic that explain why they're not gay. I did this for about three or four years. I figured it was just a phase... that kept going on... for years. >.< I finally admitted I was gay at a summer programme at cambridge University. I met some really awesome people there, and as soon as I heard another person my age admit they were bi, it somehow seemed okay for me to be different, too.

The second step in coming out is being open with your friends. After coming back from the totally accepting atmosphere at Cambridge, it was kind of a low to be back in high school, where nobody else was gay, and being gay was a bad thing. I was switching peer groups at this time, and a lot of my new friends were in theatre, and seemed like really good people. So, I told one of my friends, which eventually became most of my friends. They took it really well, and their support made the next steps a lot easier.

The third step in coming out is being open with your family. This is a lot harder than with friends, even if you 'know' your parents and family will take it well. Parents and family have a huge amount of of power over kids, and even into adulthood we still value our relationships with our family a lot. So it's scary to reveal what has been a secret, with the knowledge that it has ripped many of your fellow gay folks entirely away from their families. My parents, however, being the coolest parents on Earth, took it really well, and their support is still a valuable part of my life.

The last step in coming out is being open to the public. You don't care who knows you're gay, and aren't afraid to mention hotties of the same gender, make jokes, and talk about romance in common conversation. This is the point where you are fulfilled and living honestly, and you have lost all the shame and secrecy that the closet creates. I took this step after coming out to my parents when I created a Gay/Straight Alliance in my high school. After living free and being me, openly and honestly, I could never go back in the closet.

Coming out is an important step for all gay people, not just the individual who does it. By making ourselves visible, we increase awareness and understanding with our straight brethren. It's much harder for Mrs. Fundie to bash gays when she knows good people who happen to be that way. But also, coming out of the closet and living honestly makes it possible to be proud of ones' self, and fulfilled in one's life and purpose. It is, I think, a necessary step in the growth and fulfillment of any queer person, and I feel for anyone who doesn't have the opportunity.

Update: I was supposed to post this yesterday, but I didn't get around to it. However, I can now post it in response to rserven's dKos diary. Happy days, all!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

and don't let anyone say "oh that's so gay" as if it's an insult, ameow, that's not nice and i'll have to eat them o.O


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