Two years ago in recognition of National Coming Out Day (October 11th in the US; October 12th in Great Britain) I decided to add my Coming Out story to the intertubes at another site of mine that has some poetry and stories. This year in addition to re-posting that link I want to quote from some previous posts here (found in the LGBTITQQ2S category) that touch on ‘Coming Out’.
Shortly after I wrote out my coming out story I posted here about the wave of ‘It Gets Better‘ videos being made in response to the tragic number of suicides by kids who were bullied for being, or thought to be, gay. I concluded that post by quoting a Romanovsky & Phillips song:
One Way Out
“When they talk about ‘saving the children’
One of ten they ignore
But if we the survivors can drown out the liars
We won’t have to lose any more”
In December of 2009 I wrote “Yes, there will come a day when we should be blase about people coming out- when most of the world will be blase about it.. but as our current struggles clearly show, we are not yet there.” That was written in response to Meredith Baxter’s coming out. Or rather, in response to comments made about her coming out. Although coming out was no big deal for me, I can appreciate that for many others of my generation it was/is. And not just my generation. While it’s true that many young people comfortably self-identify as ‘queer’ or reject a ‘hetero-normative’ world view, there are far too many who struggle with feelings of shame and guilt over their sexual orientation or gender identity. Bigotry and hatred are powerful forces whether they come from one’s peers or family.
I posted my first R&P quote/discussion On National Coming Out Day in 2009 with this verse from Family of Lovers:
“I’m not the first one to suffer
And I’m probably not the last
But I’m here to change the future
‘Cause I can’t forget the past“
In that post I noted that my own Coming Out was not traumatic but I’d met “people denying their basic reality; young people whose lives were ruined by the hatred. Crippling shame, lack of self-worth, dreams not realized out of the belief they weren’t deserved.” And because of that I would not, and still can not, forget the past.
Things truly do get better; every day more people discover the freedom and happiness that comes with refusing to hide their best and truest self. So I want to end with the words I used to conclude my Coming Out story mentioned at the beginning of this post; “how much happier will you be if you accept yourself and surround yourself only with people (birth-family or family of choice) who love and accept you for who you really are?”
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