Today is National Coming Out Day. I could tell you about the first time I came out. Or the time I came out to my parents. Or the time I told my closest friend. Or the time I told my workmates. Or the time I brought it up at a get together in casual conversation for the first time.
The truth is, for people who aren’t straight or cisgender, we go through a lot of coming out. The first time is the scariest and as we accept ourselves more and more it does get easier over time. I won’t lie, life is much better for me now that I’ve come out. But that’s not always the case for everyone and it’s not always the case that coming out is better each and every time you do it. You never know how the other person is going to react. I’ve lost friends because of coming out. I’ve had difficult family relationships because I came out.
The world is better for gay people now and I’m thankful for that. We have come a long way since 1967. I thank each and every person who has been through this journey before me and paved the way to make mine easier. I thank those that have been supportive and understanding of me. I thank my friends for not treating me any different. And I love the new family I’ve gained in the gay community as a whole for accepting me and loving me for who I am.
But I just wish we didn’t need a national coming out day.
To all those reading this who are still in the closet – it gets better. You are not a mistake. You aren’t wrong or screwed up or bad. You are who you are, and that’s just who you’re supposed to be. There is a community of people just like you. And there is a community of allies who will support you for being you.
To all those reading this who are already out – thank you. Thank you for being a part of an amazing community. Each of you has a story, and that story – no matter how minor impacts someone’s life. You are an inspiration to the next generation that might need to come out.
To all those who are allies – never stop. Don’t stop supporting the people you love just because they are different. Different isn’t bad or good – it just is. Please continue to support those differences and celebrate them. We owe a lot to you and appreciate the kindness you’ve shown when not everyone has been kind.
I look forward to the day when everyone on earth falls in one of the above categories. I look forward to a day when people who are not straight or cisgender don’t need to come out of the closet. I look forward to the day when there is no closet and people just automatically accept each other for who they are. Today is not that day.