personal stories

It’s National Coming Out Day. How Did You Tell The World?

Today is the 22nd annual National Coming Out Day. It’s when college students across the country (the Brits take their turn tomorrow) write messages of hope in chalk on the sidewalks in the quad, only to see them washed away with the rain. And while I have no peer reviewed research to back this up, it’s probably also the beginning of a springbok-like migration of LGBT youth to the streets and shelters, who use Oct. 11 to come out to the friends and family only to be promptly kicked out of their homes. That’s not me trying to be funny; it’s the sad truth of what coming out still winds up meaning to so many. But it’s not just young people: Gay adults face their own stigmatization for simply sharing something about themselves with the world. Gay kids killing themselves. Getting beat up for not fitting gender norms. Getting attacked by state officials for simply being born a certain way. Losing their military jobs for being honest. So many reasons not to come out. And yet, we must. There is nothing to hide. No shame to harbor. But as we insist members of our own community leave the closet and share themselves with the world, we must also have their backs. When their parents abandon them; when their ex-spouses try to keep them from seeing their kids; when their friends are suddenly too cool to hang out. We must be the ones who extend a hand or a shoulder or an ear. So many people are saying “It gets better.” It will, for some. Not all. When you came out, did it?

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12 Comments

  • John

    Under the threat of being outed, I instead decided to make the announcement myself, in my own terms, in my own way, and in a magazine I published at the time. The move was not without it’s painful repurcussions, but it made my life so much easier. The bumpy road has since been smoothed out and life, in so many ways, has improved dramatically!

  • JoeyB

    Now, where are our role models? Who among the closeted famous in this country – and that usually means wealthy as well – will have the cojones to come out and say “Enough!” Will Anderson Cooper come out? Millionaires? Where is our Bill Gates? What about all anchors and journalists and pundits that are gay? Politicians? Actors? Singers? Until they do, they all have blood on their hands.

  • Christopher David Kuhn

    I am wearing a tee-shirt today, along with the members of The University of Akron’s LGBTU. That is how we are telling the world today we are here and we are proud.

    Fear and bigotry should never prevail!

  • jon

    I told one friend then one more then the whole school…I loved 10th grade :D Come out, come out, wherever you are!!! it’s nice out here.

  • Cam

    Bringing a date to a school or work function is a pretty easy way to come out. It saves you from having to have the same conversation 200 times.

    Putting your arm around a guy and sharing the same beer at a hockey game pretty much can save you from having to come out to your school one at a time also, and you will be shocked at what a dominoe effect your coming out publiclly can have with other students or co-workers.

    Some people won’t like it, but screw em, some people won’t like the shoes you wear, or the car you drive, or your religeon or your race. They can all go f**k themselves.

  • Cam

    Bringing a date to a school or work function is a pretty easy way to come out. It saves you from having to have the same conversation 200 times.

    Putting your arm around a guy and sharing the same beer at a hockey game pretty much can save you from having to come out to your school one at a time also, and you will be shocked at what a dominoe effect your coming out publiclly can have with other students or co-workers.

    Some people won’t like it, but screw em, some people won’t like the shoes you wear, or the car you drive, or your religeon or your race. They are all idiots. (They Screened my comment when I said something less flattering about them)

  • Cam

    Weird, the comment screening seems to be on high gear today.

  • cubbie

    I shall quote myself from my facebook page today….

    “is rude, obnoxious, a smartass, has job anger issues, is old, is fat, is gay, but guess what, I’m ME and that is something that you can’t and never will be able to take from me. I’m not ashamed. If you have a problem with it, then please, remove me. You won’t be the first person to walk out of my life because of who I am. Just remember, you’re the one walking away,not me. True friends don’t do that.”

  • Lawrence

    Im glad that this coincides with the Canadian Thanksgiving Day, Gives me another thing to be thankful for!

    And Yes it gets better – while I was never teased for being gay in school, I was scared shitless of anyone finding out. Now I couldnt give less of a shit – the same goes for everyone who I thought would hate me.

  • Brian

    My whole high school had already known. I came out my Junior year in high school. After being ridiculed for many years and by people that I had grown up with I decided to tell them to GFT! I had had enough and let the whole school know about it by coming out in my own way.

  • AlanReeser

    The HRC posted it on my Facebook page and I also wrote about National Coming Out day on my blog, http://dustythoughts.com

  • ATK

    Coming out is such a white thing to do. We Asians don’t roll like that.

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