Wednesday, October 12, 2016

National Coming Out Day

Yesterday was National Coming Out Day.

The foundational belief is that homophobia thrives in an atmosphere of silence and ignorance, and that once people know that they have loved ones, colleagues, or neighbors who are lesbian or gay, they are far less likely to maintain homophobic or oppressive views.  For more on the history of National Coming Out Day click here.

I remember well the first few years after I began to come out.  Initially I told my family and just a couple close friends.  But when I heard about National Coming Out Day and considered the good it could accomplish, I made it a goal to come out to at least 1 person every year on Oct 11.  

Rather than a formal announcement of "I'm gay" which I felt had the potential to make people feel as if they had to respond in some way, I chose a more informal approach.  I would simply allow this information to find its way into a conversation.  If I were talking with someone at work and they asked if I'd been to a new restaurant, I might respond "Yes, my boyfriend and I went last week and really liked it."  To me, this did not put the other person 'on the spot'.  They could acknowledge my coming out to them or not.  That didn't matter to me.  What mattered is that someone now realized that they had a gay friend, and hopefully wouldn't participate in hurtful language or discriminatory behavior toward the GLBT community.

Nowadays I really have no one to whom I can come out.  Everyone already knows I'm gay because I don't hide it.  Its a part of who I am and organically comes out in everyday conversation with people.  And I do believe that this behavior and the National Coming Out Day movement has helped move the GLBT community into the mainstream.  Just this week I called to purchase an insurance policy and after giving my name and details, the salesperson asked if there was anyone else who should be on the policy.  I responded, "Yes, my husband."  The salesperson didn't miss a beat and then asked for his name and details.  While there is still work to be done in achieving true equality, I believe National Coming Out Day has helped.

How have you participated in National Coming Out Day?

1 comment:

anne marie in philly said...

no one should EVER have to hide who they are or who they love. I'm glad you are out and free!