This National Coming Out Day is a little different that most, but the importance is there none-the-less.
Isn’t it amazing the difference 15 years can make. I came out in the fall of 2005, just barely 18yo. And it wasn’t an easy road to get to that point (and not always easy since.) But I can say that I cannot imagine not having come out.
For me it was a long road of self-loathing and fear that took a long time to get to self acceptance.
Along the way, I’ve had family and friends who were there every step of the way. Along the way I’ve gathered an entire community around myself and my husband of the most amazing people who love and support us.
Most LGBTQ people know that coming out is not a single event but a process that takes all our lives. We come out every time we meet new people. It’s a frightening and liberating thing that never stops.
To me, the celebration of Coming Out Day isn’t specifically a day for us to come out but a chance to remind those of us who are out that while we celebrate, not everyone is ready or in a place that they feel safe enough to come out; and a chance to remind those that aren’t out that that’s okay. It’s okay to come out in the time and place of your choosing and when you feel safe.
It’s a chance to remind those who aren’t out yet that it’s not a road that needs to be walked alone. There’s a community of people who have or are walking this path too. To tell those who aren’t out, “you are seen; you are loved; you matter.”