Monday, October 11, 2010
National Coming Out Day is Today
(Editors Note: I am not a professional therapist of any sort. The experiences shared below are just those that I have acquired in 35 years of life.)
Today is National Coming Out Day. Across the country, many people...young and old...will take this opportunity to "come out" and live openly as a member of the LGBT community.
As this day is "celebrated" as such, it's important to remember that there is no right way to "come out", and it will be different for everyone. The important thing for everyone to remember is that whether you are gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, or questioning that there are people that need our support out there. If someone picks you today as someone to come out to, listen to them. Try not to judge or make rash statements. Realize that they are trusting you for the first time with being honest about who they are.
It's not an easy step. Many don't get the choice to reveal that they are out. That choice is made for them by someone else. For those that do get to choose, it's one of the hardest things one ever does. The words stick in your throat until they spill out in the open. It's incredibly hard. It's the fear of the unknown. How will my friends react? How will my parents react? Will I lose my job? What's my church going to think?
Once you're out, those questions get answered. To be honest, it's not always the answer you think you're going to get. That works both ways. The people you think are going to not support you sometimes become your biggest supporters, and the people you think will support you desert you because they can't deal with things. That's not your fault nor your concern. It's theirs. That's the truth-in-lending form of coming out. The good thing is that you know where you stand with people. For some, it will take some time to come around, but, if they truly love you, they will. You don't come out for other people. You come out for you.
Realize that even though today is National Coming Out Day that tomorrow may be yours...or maybe January 30 or April 17 or July 31 or February 4. When you're ready, you're ready.
There's a whole project out there on YouTube sponsored by the Trevor Project dedicated to preventing suicide and the many other things that seem to be happening to closeted individuals. I urge you to watch some of the videos from celebrities and regular people. They are honest and inspiring.
It does get better. IT REALLY DOES! There's nothing like the feeling of living instead of hiding.
Blogger and vlogger Davey Wavey cobbled together this video from some of his blog buddies who left 10 seconds of advice for coming out. Much good advice here!