Friday, October 11, 2013

National Coming Out Day, October 11, 2013

Come out, come out, wherever you are! Honestly, closeted gay people, what is keeping you in there! Trust me when I tell you, whatever barrier is blocking your path, in retrospect, it really isn't all that. And nowadays, look how much company you'll have on the outside! These days, celebrities don't even do a big splashy Time or People Magazine reveal, they just quietly affirm. And nobody cares! Did Jim Parsons coming out hurt The Big Bang Theory? Nope. Did Anderson Cooper lose his multiple TV gigs? Nope. Neil Patrick (wait for it) Harris? Are you kidding?

It wasn't quite so crowded out here when I took that step. Picture it, National Coming Out Day, October 11, 1996. I'd lived in Las Vegas only two years by then, 2,000 miles away from my family. I have a small family, and at the time only a small group of friends here in Vegas. I decided that I was 30 years old (so young!) and it was time to just yank off that band aid. So, I picked up the phone, and started dialing. I called a married couple, both friends of mine. . .answering machine. I called my sister. . .same thing. I called my brother. . .no answer. Mom and Dad? Ditto! I left several messages, all with a cryptic, "call me back, it's important."

The return calls slowly came in. I told my friends (He said, "Okay. So what's your news?" She said, "I knew it!"). My sister was cool about it. My brother was only annoyed that I hadn't told him sooner. Mom cried, but was--mostly--cool the next day. I met my future husband a little over a year later, and he's become a member of the family, as well as my (expanded) circle of friends, with all the rights and privileges I enjoy as a member. Life is good! I've never regretted my decision for a minute.
The company we keep.

The funny thing is, after you come out--unless you're a celebrity--you have to keep coming out. Every time you move, get a new job, meet new people, get a new coworker, you have to go through it again. Sometimes, I just let the news leak out organically. Sometimes I'm right up front about it. I don't make it a habit to blurt out, "I'm gay!" at the bank or the supermarket. But I've long since stopped worrying people will find out, or feeling shy about saying something where it really should be said. There are "levels" of out, though. I never told my (then) surviving grandparents, or elderly aunt. Weighing the value vs. the trouble, it just wasn't worth it to me. And that's okay. It's your coming out, make up your own rules. You can ease out quietly if you want to!

1 comment:

  1. To be honest, it really is the "in" thing to do now days. It can be hip to come out, especially in athletics- like football baseball.
    A friend of mine came out in June. never knew he was gay. He was a former Catholic priest but then at the end of the school year, he announced he was getting married. I assumed to a woman, but nope, a man.
    Yeah, it did surprise (shocked) me for a moment or two, but it never bothered me or did I care. I just miss him as a friend as he and his significant other moved to New Mexico.
    So, you are right, it really isn't a big deal. Most people will know if you are gay or not before you announce.
    But what I would object to is when people think it is their business to out someone when it is none of their business. Even if a person doesn't want to be ousted, why do some people decide it is their duty to out someone?


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