National Coming Out Day was a hugely personal day of celebration for me many, many years ago. Hell, it was my day! I was 18, newly (but finally) out, and there was this 24-hour period for little queers like me. What could possibly hold me back?
I was lucky. I lived in Massachusetts and went to a pretty fruity school in Boston. Plus, there was a certain slow and rhythmic throb of sociopolitical excitement back in the early Clinton nineties. Really. I came out, and there it all was, just waiting: Act Up and Queer Nation and BAGLY and—fuck—Radical Faeries—everything! It seemed like there was an organization and local meetup group for any interest, whether it was sexual or political. And for my punk rock heart, there was the beginning of riot grrrl. There was the beginning of homocore and Matt Wobensmith’s record label and zine, Outpunk!
There was also less fun stuff: watching your friends wait for the results of HIV tests, which took about two weeks or so to come in; getting off the train to get away from the guys who yelled at you and your girlfriend from the end of the train car about how they “want to watch,” and how us girls just need a good dick in our cunts—let them show us; and listening to another friend retell the story of how he and his boyfriend were attacked late on a Saturday night, how the attackers called them “AIDS faggots,” “You fucking queers,” while they kicked and threw elbows and fists to their heads, and how the boyfriend was in the ICU, and how the boyfriend never left that ward.
I think it’s better now. I really, really want it to be better now. In a good handful of U.S. states and a growing number of countries, we are allowed to wed. I can get my partner healthcare, and her immigration process, presumably, will have less loopholes and walls to scale. And, picture this: I can hold her hand in a shopping mall in the suburbs, and the worst we get is a quick look—or a long one, in the most extreme of cases. There is no more yelling. There is no more fear.
But there is still plenty of fear in Russia and Nigeria—in too many other countries in this world. There are queer kids worldwide who are bullied so badly that it just seems easier for them to end their lives, and so they do. A month, sometimes a week, doesn’t pass when I don’t read a news story about a trans person who has been murdered after being outed as trans.
Coming out is a very special thing. It’s easy and complicated, embracing and scary, life-saving or life-threatening. Today’s our day to remember our own stories and histories. Today’s our day to lend a hand, give a hug, spread strong words of love and support, because we’re here and we are.
Go Deeper Press would love to hear your coming-out story. Leave one in the Comments section!
Hey! On this great National Coming Out Day, why not support an LGBTQ organization that does good every day? Here are some queer rights groups that get the GDP Thumbs Up! All Out, National Center for Transgender Equality, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, GLSEN, and Waltham House.
ALSO, our National Coming Out Day celebratory sale is on! If you’d like to buy our erotic anthology Shameless Behavior: Brazen Stories of Overcoming Shame for $4 (usually it’s $5.50) enter SHAMELESS at checkout. Special offer for THIS WEEKEND ONLY! (When you support indie erotica, we glow and glow and glow… *blows kiss*)
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