Today, October 11, many of us observe the annual National Coming Out Day (NCOD). Here’s a happy National Coming Out Day to everyone who revealed, plan to reveal or intend to soon reveal their non-heterosexual orientation (aka “coming out”) to people in their lives. It’s always been my hope that one day the world will never need to have or observe such a day for non-heterosexual people; that all people will simply be respected for being who their are and [to borrow and modify a phrase from the late civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] that people will be judged by the content of their character and never, ever by their ethnicity or their sexual orientation.
Each year that National Coming Out Day is observed, I remind people who are not “out” with their sexuality [to family members, friends and acquaintances] that they are never under any obligation to reveal their sexual orientation (aka “come out”) on this particular day nor make some major announcement to that affect. I think a person should only reveal his/her non-heterosexuality to those whom he/she knows, can trust, can feel safe with and safe being around. I advise all to follow their instinct when making such an important decision. Each person must carefully consider the pros and cons which such a revelation might have on his/her life and particular livelihood. This especially applies to young teens or young adults who still live at home with parents or guardians who are non-supportive/non-accepting of LGBT people, especially if those parents or guardians provide housing and/or financial support. Do not base a decision to “come out” on what you heard or learned happened to someone else when that person “came out”. There are many good ‘coming out’ stories but are also many bad ‘coming out’ stories! You can watch and listen to a number of them on YouTube. I further advise to never let any person, organization, social media network (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, et al) or public message (and that includes any LGBT organization public message) try to guilt, push or pull you out of “the closet”. There’s nothing wrong with keeping your sexual orientation a secret or made known only to a few selected persons if you so choose. You have your reasons for doing that; just make sure they are good reasons.
I can’t argue that in many instances it’s sometimes better (often for many reasons), if people know your sexuality orientation. Sadly though, that is the world we live in because for various reasons, some people just like knowing something sexual about someone else. Being out with your non-heterosexuality means never having to live in misery or shame. It means never having to sneak around and/or hide what you say or do or with whom. It means never having to explain where you go (or came from), who you date or with whom you simply hang around. It means you’re much freer to be the ‘you’ that you were always meant to be. You’ll find that some people won’t give a fuck about your sexuality (a good thing) while others will do all they can to try to change you or to convince you of how “immoral” you are and how “sinful” and/or “disgusting” your life is if it is anything but heterosexual (a bad thing).
Depending on where you live and where you work, public knowledge of your non-heterosexual orientation to certain people or to everyone at your place of employment may affect your job position and/or overall employment with that company. That’s why I warned earlier to be discreet and take care to whom you reveal your sexual orientation. People at your place of employment do not need to know nor do they have to know such personal information about you. No one at the job has a right to ask you about it. Logically, one’s sexual orientation should have no impact on one’s occupation…unless of course, that occupation is working as an actor or producer in the porn industry. Unfortunately, there are people who feel otherwise. Yes, the haters of non-heterosexual conformity are still out there, folks. Live your life, live in your truth but use good judgment. Be with and around people who make you happy. Trust, discretion and use of positive logic and good sense in what you tell/reveal to people are important where this is concerned.
Finally, contrary to what some people say, one can indeed be “out” sexually and still live a happy and sexually discreet life. I do it as a bisexual man and am still doing it. I’m living in my truth on a discreet level for reasons which are my own. Lots of people are doing the same thing because frankly, there’s never any need or purpose to wear one’s sexual orientation as a sticky label or neon sign on the forehead or arm. There’s a huge difference in one being “in the closet” and one being sexually discreet.
Anyway…you’ll know when it’s time for you to tell certain people in your life – without any shame or with much hesitation that you’re not heterosexual or straight; that you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, “sexually fluid” or perhaps wish to transgender to satisfy your life-long desire to become and to live your life as a man or woman.
Be you, baby! Happy National Coming Out Day.
(Click here to read my previous article on NCOD.)