open more space for them to live and breathe into

National coming out day logo, a Keith Haring image of a person dancing out of a dark room

Thanks to Keith Haring for so so much, including this logo...

Happy National Coming Out Day!

(Let me say that I’m sad that this now appears to be an HRC-sponsored production across the country — this post is not sponsored by the HRC.)

I want to tell you about how, in the early 90s, national coming out day felt like something very queer. Coming out, then, felt like a threat: like our families’ and home communities’ complacency were threatened¬† by our outness, and, like we ourselves were threatened by being out.

Nowadays, living here in ostensible-queer-mecca, it’s easy to sink into a sense that things are settled and we are all safe: we’re here, queer, and they’re used to us.

But, yeah: being out is still a threat. They’re not used to us. They still don’t like us. They still would rather we’re dead.

And yes, much has changed — but not so much that it still doesn’t matter that we are honest about who we are, about who we have been and can be. Coming out still matters, for all of us. Our silence — how many times will she have to remind us — will not save us. It will not save our friends or families or our kids.

So, in case you didn’t know, I’m a queer person, a Kinsey 4.5-5 (on the sliding scale) (Also: would that this page could have used the word bisexual, say, once, given that he designed a scale which shows that most of the world *is* not exclusively homo-or heterosexual-forever-and-ever-amen (i.e.,there are very few “gold star” gays or straights), but that’s a different post). I have had and will forevermore have a sexual, sensual and erotic life that twists and turns and swirls and dances around and with folks of all genders and sexualities. I am married to my gay trans-butch beloved. I am not boxable into either HRC’s or Focus on the Family’s sex or gender categories.

It matters that we share this information with each other. If you have ever been attracted to or imagined you could be attracted to someone of the same sex or gender, it matters that you pass this information on to the people around you, and yes, to the young folks around you. They need to know that they’re not evil because of the sex or gender of the person they desire, and because they look up to you, because they see you as a role model, your coming out will make their world (and thus our world) a better place.

And I’m going to call on the allies: Are you a straight-identified person who has loved someone of the same sex, or has imagined loving someone of the same sex? So, maybe you won’t come out today: but maybe, when a young person (or an older person!) trusts you enough to worry to you about being shunned or hated because they are sexually attracted to folks of the same sex or gender, maybe you won’t be so quick to categorize them. You’ll maybe open a little more space in your heart, and thus, in your conversation with them — you’ll open more space for them to live and breathe into. You’ll explain/remind that the vast majority of people have had some attraction or curiosity about people of all sexes or genders, and that if this means hell, then you’ll be with them there in that hell: along with most of the rest of humanity.

Please choose today (and then tomorrow, to) to stand up to and call out anti-queer or anti-gender-nonconforming bullshit (whether from your straight or gay friends).

Please keep writing about this, please keep talking about this, please keep loving with your heart wide open to all the enormous possibilities. Thank you.

4 responses to “open more space for them to live and breathe into