Today is International Coming Out day, which is a day designated to celebrate people within the LGBTQ2S community who have self identified as members of that community. Today Facebook made it an option for those of us who have done so to mark it as a life event.
Coming out isn’t a singular moment. That is unless you consider the moment one comes out to one’s self – the first and most important coming out is entirely silent within but always accompanied by tears or relief or fear or a myriad of other emotions appropriate to the situation you live in.
In this context, Coming Out day is about the day you revealed yourself to the world. I’m sorry, that moment doesn’t exist. I don’t know a single person within my community for whom Coming Out was a moment or even a day, it was a process. For me I came out when I was 16 to some and then didn’t finish until, um, geez, I’m not done.
Because of the assumption of heterosexuality, I have to tell people on a routine and regular basis. I have to be ready every time for the reaction I get. It’s never particularly easy. It’s a moment of revealing a part of myself that other’s often feel they have the right to approve or disapprove. I hate those who respond with approval only slightly less than those who respond with disapproval. It’s information, a fact. Facts don’t require the gift of approval, they just are.
So, I support anything that raises the profile of my community, and I celebrate those who have come out to themselves and to those in their world. I celebrate the courage it took.
And I celebrate the courage it will take for each of us to keep coming out over and over and over again.