October 11th: National Coming Out Day!

Don't keep quiet. You never know how your words my heal or encourage.
Don’t keep quiet. You never know how your words may heal or encourage.
How did you tell your parents? Your friends? How did they take it? How did you?

Coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender is something I’ve never had to do. The only semi-shocking news I’ve ever delivered to my family was being pregnant by a man they had yet to meet (Hi, Hubby!). But having been a member of the gay-straight alliance at my college, I’ve heard the stories. I’ve been in the room when parents or siblings or friends were told. I’ve been told and shocked. Sometimes it was good. Sometimes it was very, very bad. My friends have been fortunate enough to have support.

My best friend in high school was a guy all the girls wanted. I remember constantly being asked what was up with us. People would assume we had something going on or would try to use me to get in with him. Though I hate the term, I was essentially his DUFF. We were so close that when I asked to stay over at his house after a party he was throwing, neither of our parents batted an eyelash. And in high school, that’s saying something.

Out friendship had seen a lot. His drama included crazy girlfriends. We’d spend hours on the phone. 

He eventually moved away. Far away from the drama of our suburbia, but came to visit me at college. One occasion was after another break up. I should have known that when he wanted to talk to a stripper more about her microphone tattoo than her naked breasts, something was different.

We hadn’t spoken in almost a year when I found out from a mutual friend (his first ex) that he had come out of the closet. I was shocked and devastated. Why didn’t he come to me? Why didn’t he trust me with this information? Why didn’t I know? Or did I?

There’s a lot more to a person that their sexual orientation. When others from out high school found out, I was berated with calls and messages. “Did you know?” “I always knew he was gay.” “Girl, what did you do to him?” “See? I told you.”  No. I didn’t know. No. You didn’t know. I didn’t do anything. and No, you didn’t say a word.  I never saw him as anything except a friend. Nothing changed after I found out about his unveiling. I was happy for him. I though to myself, “Maybe now, he can finally be himself. He can finally be happy.”

October 11th, 2015 is National Coming Out Day and I’m here today to ask you to share your story of coming out to inspire someone to do the same. Were you nervous? Did your family always suspect? How does the person you told feel about it now? Are you happy now that you’ve come out?

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As a small incentive for all submissions is a giveaway to receive this National Coming Out Day t-shirt from the Human Rights Campaign.

This call to action is meant to inspire those who are ready. Not to pressure those who aren’t. Be safe. Be supportive.

For more information please follow these links:
HRC.org – “The Human Rights Campaign is organized and will be operated for the promotion of the social welfare of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.”
>Coming Out Guide
>Supporter Guide
Gay Center – “Empowering LGBT people, building strong community.”
PFLAG – “PFLAG envisions a world where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected, valued, and affirmed inclusive of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.”
GLAAD – “GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBT acceptance.”

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