(photo by unitopia)
National Coming Out Day always makes me uncomfortable.
It’s an awesome idea: come out, come out wherever you are! But it also involves a lot of unspoken judgement. Like: I came out, why can’t YOU come out? Most people are very supportive of the whole process, but every year, you end up seeing the judgement from some anyway. ”Why can’t they just come out? Don’t they HATE being untrue to themselves?”
I’m an out gay woman. I’ve been out since I was fifteen. It was not a happy, fulfilling experience. It cost me (at the time), my family (except for my awesome the-one-who-stuck-through-everything sister). My home. Many of my friends. At eighteen, I was homeless because I came out. Do I regret it, EVER? No. Did I know what coming out would cost me?
No. I had no idea, because I couldn’t have any idea.
There are a lot of teens who are coming out today. It is an intensely brave thing to do. And I’m here for you in any way, if you need me—if I can help. But at the same time, I think it’s important to acknowledge all of the kids (adults—EVERYONE) who CAN’T come out. Because they’re afraid. Because it could cost them—like it did me—almost everything.
No matter what you decide to do today, let it come from your heart. If you’re afraid, if you think the consequences are too great, PLEASE DO NOT DO IT. If you think you’re in a safe space, if you think you want to risk consequences, if you’re in a supportive family—or not—and want to do it, that’s wonderful. Good luck. I’m thinking about you.
And if you don’t, then that’s okay, too.
Here’s the trick that few people tell you: once you come out? Every day of the rest of your life is going to be spent coming out. National Coming Out Day is a wonderful thing, and I’m glad we have it—but that’s only the beginning.
Do what feels right to you. And don’t let anyone tell you you’re less of a queer person, or not BRAVE enough, because you’re choosing, in your own power, when you tell the world your heart.
I’m an out lesbian woman married to the love of my life. Every day, I choose to come out.
Only you can make that choice for yourself. And whenever you make it will be the right time.