National Coming Out Day
Another Story To Tell
In observance of the day, I decided it was time to tell at least one of my coming-out stories on social media. Often times when I meet people, they are not aware I’m gay (although to me, it’s a fact as clear as the color of my skin). When I tell them they’re enlightened to the fact that people of homosexual orientation are not just the stereotypes that appear in media. Though the story I released today focuses on coming out to myself, there was a time that I once had to come out twice to the same person and because of this, I got to observe something very interesting.
Someday I may tell the story in full, but until then the experience serves as a testament to the importance of coming out.
As Long As I’ve Got You
Back then, I had one male friend that was simply my anchor. “As long as I have [him], I’ll be ok”, were the words I often told myself as I watched my world crumble to be rebuilt in the light of the truth of who I am. He and I had a profoundly deep connection that helped me through the loss I experienced when I came out. He didn’t have to do much more than just simply exist and accept me.
How Could You Forget?
Within the years that followed, my friend was no longer physically present in my life but kept in touch, so to speak. On his 15th birthday, we met again after years of separation and picked up like no time had passed at all. I was astonished at how our friendship miraculously remained unchanged. Although one significant difference did appear – my friend suddenly had an ill-tempered, aggressive attitude towards gays. It became evident as anytime the subject was brought up, his choice of words describing them was full of disgust and hate.
Whether this was proof that our connection superseded our differences or that he chose to block some aspect of who I was out, what became clear was that he didn’t regard me the same way he regarded them. During our time together he proved he had somehow forgotten that I was gay.
To Come Out Or Not To Come Out, Again
Fear swelled in me at the thought that I’d have to tell him again, partly because of his disposition towards us, but more so because I saw something growing between us, something beautiful was coming into the light, but with it, something ugly. I allowed him to continue his negative expressions without concession, all the while being fully myself without his notice of anything any different.
Each comment – a dagger jabbed into my soul.
Thanks, Boy George
An end came to our weekend, and by it, I could condone no more. Although we never argued or had a disagreement before, his hateful commentary stirred emotions that couldn’t continue to be suppressed. After I came out, again, he underwent a series of emotions best be described as grief, deciding by the end of it that we could no longer be friends.
If any good came of it, it was that my friend was confronted with his own feelings about homosexuality in a way that he had never been before. While the outcome was lightyears from what I’d have hoped, I witnessed an internal struggle manifested externally from someone I loved.
He believed all homosexuals were like those that appeared on TV, specifically like Boy George who appeared on MTV Cribs that weekend (the episode that aired lead to a terrible rant from my friend declaring all gays should just be killed). But during that weekend, I think he found himself deeply connected to someone that was a part of a group that he feared to be a part of himself.
For a moment, he was shown that anyone could be a part of that group, even someone he already loved. For a moment, he probably felt the rejection he cast onto me, reflected within himself. Then, the moment passed, and with it, my brother no more.
That’s The Point
Coming Out Day is about showing the world that we exist everywhere and throughout all of time. We are a natural part of human existence that societies built on exclusive ideologies fail to remember because our presence has been wiped from history and we have been used as a scapegoat for current social issues. If sex were never disclosed and we didn’t make clear and obvious distinctions between male and female genders, I bet you’d be surprised by what you’d find out about love.
I’ll just tell you…
Love knows no boundaries. For when it meets one that we impose, it meets grief.
Who We Are & Who We Aren’t
Coming out offers an opportunity to declare not only who we are, but also who we are not. We are not necessarily the stereotypes presented in mass media. Nor are we pedophiles, sex workers, drug addicts, riddled with HIV and other STIs and STDs, homewreckers, or even more sexually promiscuous than any other human being. Do these issues exist within our community? Yes – as they exist within all communities; the result of trauma, cyclical abuse, low motivational drive, loss, poor education, lack of discipline, mental illness, and the list continues on.
My point is that these issues belong to all of us, not just the LGBTQ+ community. We are often labeled and marginalized for behaviors that are not directly connected to our sexualities but conveniently grouped together to justify our ostracization from society.
Let Love Be
So many people live a lie spackled with depression and superficial contentment. I’ve witnessed it first hand, and there are so many more stories you could read that exemplify my words. I don’t believe that hate is the opposite of love, rather fear sits atop hate’s throne. Specifically the fear of rejection.
Ah – what a powerful thing that is. The very fear of rejection will pull love from one’s heart into tears as they reject themselves and everything that makes them happy in life, for the pursuit of acceptance, even if only at face value.
Let us not go on living superficial happiness, but enjoy deep-seated love and acceptance of ourselves and one another. Let our turmoil in life be for the losses we are forced to endure because of life’s cycle, and not by our choices. Let rejection cease to exist within our hearts, that we may never shed a tear again for the boundaries that love meets. Let us impose none.
Let love be.
Beauty will save the world.Fyodor Dostoevsky
Support The Cause, Take Courage
I created a t-shirt design for this year’s National Coming Out Day. It’s a great way to start a conversation with someone about being LGBTQ+ or an ally to the community. If you’d like to support the cause, start a conversation, or support artists/designers like myself – by all means, buy a shirt and start wearing it to change minds everywhere.