Today is National Coming Out Day which serves the purpose of showing support to those looking to finally come out of the closet and fully celebrate who they are. It’s a day where we remember the feeling of relief we experienced when we finally found the strength to stand up for ourselves no matter how difficult the journey became. It also provides you with an opportunity to see what happens after you come out and what you have to gain by accepting how you are. Because once you burn that metaphorical closet many changes take place in your world and within yourself.
But I want to speak more candidly on some of the things you may experience once you come out. So often when we discuss Coming Out Day we only focus on that moment we declare our sexuality to the world that we give so little attention to the things you may witness afterward. This will be an immense time of rediscovery because even though you retain so much of the person you will learn so much about who you are and how you interact with the world around you.
So the journey does not end of coming out of the closet. There will be much for you to discover about yourself when you announce to the world that you are LGBT. No matter how much you’ve observed of others like you it will not be the same. This is your experience and you will not always feel that things turn out as you had envisioned. At times it may feel completely overwhelming because you are constantly learning what the rules are for you more than any other time in your life. It will not always be easy and there are no guarantees that it’ll always turn out the way you planned. You may have family and friends that abandon you. Hate and disown you.
Some of them may actively work against your best interests and your rights as a citizen of our country. You may still be fired at your job for being LGBT. You may come up against discrimination and bullying you because those around you have not accepted that you have the right to not hide that you really are anymore. You may feel so overwhelmed by the transition taking place in all areas of your life. You may begin to question how normal your life can be as openly LGBT.
You may question the beliefs you had about this community that can sometimes appear too vain and uncaring. You may have experiences that are much to be desired with other members of this community when you discover that the same prejudices about race and ethnicity are still active forms of oppression with other members. Some will hold the same prejudices and hate about your looks and determine you’re too feminine or too masculine. They may even declare because of your preferred sexual role somehow depreciates your value because they are obsessed with status rather than substance. So you will come to realize that some of the misogyny and homophobia and racism still affects members of this community.
But the reward of being able to take a sigh of relief and no longer feel like you’re living a lie is worth it. You’ll come to find an even greater appreciation for the people who not only love and accept you but who also encourage you to explore who you are and how being LGBT is a part of who you are. You’ll find strength inside that you did not know existed giving you confidence to face other obstacles in your life more prepared. It will not always be as rose colored as you had hoped it would be but you will have opportunities to truly seek out the happiness in life you deserve. Make no mistake that even though there are members of this community that hold prejudices against you for trivial matters there are still people who will include you and welcome you no matter what.
Some will say that it is your responsibility after coming out that you should become an activist and you would do well to swiftly tell those people to kiss your ass and go straight to hell. You don’t owe that part of yourself to anyone and don’t ever let someone tell you otherwise. This is your journey. Your story. Your life. Would it be great if you added to the cause and actively contributed to help ending prejudices and discrimination against us? Yes it would be most welcome. Hate still exists towards us. You certainly should be aware of what’s going on in our world and how we are still denied rights and freedoms. But to me, living your life openly is being an activist because it shows despite the challenges we face we will not allow the archaic beliefs of our society stop us from finding our happiness in this world.
See the thing is when people come off with that ass backward logic are always the most hypocritical. They’ll laud about being a part of the solution while they themselves are part of the problem. It’s because they always feel entitled towards anyone that can serve their own initiatives which are always leaning more to their benefit than the welfare of all of us. They only focus on the G, with little mention of L, then laugh at the thought of B and completely forget T. This community can appear fragmented and hierarchical. The same rules of privilege apply to race and the complexities of being of more than one minority group that’s disparaged is too much of an effort for them to really care about.
But again do not be dismayed by the actions of those who seem superficial who only seemed to be focused on their own objectives. Seek out members that have your best interest at heart. Because the further you go the more you will discover that the stereotypes placed on this community are exaggerations of the truth. You will decide for yourself what defines you. And in m9ments when you feel lost and afraid of what comes next there are people out there willing to walk with you every step of the way. There are people out there who are willing to guide you while allowing you to make the best decisions for yourself without burdening you to their own agenda.
There is a support system here for you when you don’t feel strong enough to embrace who you are. There are people that will stay up all night with you and discuss how much your life has changed because we’ve all been where you are right now. There are people that will tirelessly work with you to find you shelter if your loved ones turn their back on you. There are people that will stand up for you if you’re discriminated against at work or bullied. People are here working to make sure you are safe. But only when you’re ready. So once you are ready to burn down that closet and walk into the world the same people who are ready and willing to hand you the match and walk with you along the way.