Wednesday, October 11, 2017

National Coming Out Day

Today is National Coming Out Day.

I remember years ago when I was so excited about NCOD because I knew how important it was for GLBT people to be visible.  Each year I made it a goal to come out to at least 1 person.

But in my case, I really only had 1 conversation where I directly came out by saying "I'm gay" and that was with my family.  All the other times I simply worked it into conversations so that I indirectly came out and the person to whom I was speaking wasn't put on the spot.

What I mean is, when you make the proclamation "I'm gay" you kind of make a big deal out of it and the person then must have some reaction or response.  This can make them uncomfortable, not because you're gay, but because they've suddenly been put on the spot.

I prefer an indirect coming out which doesn't require an immediate reaction or response.  For instance, I'd say "Last night my partner and I tried that new Thai restaurant..." or "This weekend my partner and I are going to NYC for his birthday.  I love NYC - have you ever been there?"  To me this is the least confrontational way to come out because you get your point across and the person to whom you're speaking can choose to acknowledge it or not.

Although some people may be a little slow on the uptake.  Years ago I introduced Spouse as 'my partner' at a work holiday party and the person to whom I introduced him said "Oh, what kind of business is it?"  I replied "He's my domestic partner."

I was surprised to see this article on Facebook, written by an out gay professor, suggesting we abolish NCODI totally disagree with his 'logic' that the act of coming out further perpetuates that being gay isn't normal, and that straight people don't come out because being straight is normal.  I would say that straight people don't come out because they're the majority and never worry about being discriminated against for being straight.  GLBT folks are the minority (although at least 10% of the population) and are constantly concerned about hard-won rights being stripped away, and being discriminated against in employment and housing where that's still legal.

A friend posted this from his employer's website and I found it worth sharing:
Today is the 29th celebration of National Coming Out Day. We celebrate the bravery of those who have the courage to come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) or as an ally. Why do we need to honor coming out? Many people are unaware of how frightening it can still be for people to “come out”.
Did you know?
• 1 out of 4 LGBTQ youth say the community in which they live is not accepting
• Being LGBTQ is illegal in 72 countries
• According to the FBI, LGBTQ are the most likely targets of hate crimes in America
• Over 100 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in 2017
• 41% of the transgender community attempt suicide versus the 4.6% national average
• Many who identify as LGBTQ are ostracized from their family, schools or employers
• Only 20 states have LGBTQ employment protection laws
Coming Out is incredibly personal and brave and living openly isn’t something that is done once, or even for one year. It’s a daily journey of living authentically and having open dialogue.

I encourage everyone to live authentically, come out whenever and where ever you can, and be a vocal advocate by contacting your representatives when anti-GLBT bills are up for discussion/vote.

1 comment:

Fearsome Beard said...

We have entered an era where the pendulum is swinging the wrong direction for us. Therefore we must stay visible, speak up, come out, share and support.