To My LGBT Friends, on National Coming Out Day
Saturday, October 11 was a pretty ordinary day for me. I taught swim lessons in the morning, then went for a long-overdue shopping trip for much of the afternoon. After I got home, I did some cleaning and otherwise spent the evening watching TV and relaxing. Pretty typical.
For a lot of people, though, Saturday, October 11 was a pretty special day, because it was National Coming Out Day. I saw a handful of Facebook statuses as I scrolled through my feed that day about guys and girls who were out and proud, etc. Some were more bold about it than others, and some were kinda funny and made me chuckle.
As I thought about these gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people who were announcing their pride in their sexuality to the social media world, I could help but think about how much I truly hope for the day when these kinds of statuses won’t be written anymore.
Don’t get me wrong; it isn’t for the reasons you think. It isn’t because gay pride offends me, or because I think people should keep a lid on it, or anything of the sort. Rather, it seems to me that this pride is expressed so loudly because it is a retaliation against those who wish to silence and shame them because of their sexuality.
It seems to me that, through no fault of their own, LGBT people have more to prove when it comes to being comfortable with their sexuality, because for so very long they couldn’t be without also being stigmatized and looked down on. And now that the tides are changing and same-sex relationships are becoming more widely accepted—though of course still not uncontested by a long shot—they are able to take pride in being out. And they should.
Yet, the optimist in me can’t help but think about a day when they won’t have to. I am hopeful for a time when it is so normal for a girl to confess feelings for another girl, for a guy to marry another guy, for a girl to admit she was born with the wrong gender, that we don’t bat an eye at it. That will be the time when there is true equality, when LGBT people are fully accepted in our culture as the beautiful people that they are.
I pray for that day. I really do.
So right now, yes. Be as bold and abrasive as you want to be on social media on National Coming Out Day. It is, after all, your day. Declare the truth about your sexuality from the rooftops. But also hope. Hope for a day when telling someone you’re gay is so ordinary, so mundane, that they respond with a shrug of their shoulder and a question about if you have a crush on someone. A day when, if they’re a good friend, they don’t have to feel sorrow for what you’ll go through as a result of being out. A day when revealing the gender you’re attracted to is no different from another part of who you are coming out of the woodwork as you develop into adulthood.
For that day will be so much better than this one.