Today is National Coming out Day. The purpose is for those of who are LGTB to come out and let those around us know our sexual/gender orientation. When I was younger this was a much more important event. Those initial ‘coming out’ events are very, very stressful. Any of us who have gone through it definitely understand. Telling friends and family that you are queer has the very real risk that you will lose that person in your life. I can remember deciding I was going to come out to someone and being completely petrified by the whole prospect.
Coming out to my parents was by far the most difficult. My sister told them ahead of time to kind of ease the way. It still didn’t matter. While I was not disowned, they certainly were not receptive in any way. I decided not to tell them until I had someone I wanted to be with and take home to meet them. The first time they met Deb, we had been together almost a year and they were incredibly rude. My step-father did not talk to her and my mother picked a fight with both of us. It was a disaster!
Over time, as you live your life completely out, coming out is not an issue. Now, I do not ever have to bother coming out. I just live my life openly. I talk about my partner and my life just like everyone else. I never thought that would happen. When I was young I had become so accustomed to that heart pounding in my chest feeling when I came out that I never imagined my life would be as it is now.
Coming out is a continuous project. It takes different forms and can be done in different ways. Regardless, being queer in this society requires constant negotiation. Coming out and living your life truthfully takes guts and courage. If you know a queer person, congratulate them on their courage today.