So, it’s National Coming Out Day 2016 and everybody is sharing their coming out stories and celebrating being out with friends, family, and followers on social media. Which is all good, of course, but the day is not without it’s privileges. While quite a few people are out and living their lives to the best of their abilities, many have lost everything since coming out.
They’ve lost their home, their job, their place in their community, their friends, family, possible even their marriage or any other relationships. Some lost their lives, either from a hate crime or death by suicide. Many queer and trans POC face profound amounts of aggression, intimidation, and violence from all aspects of society; all while also being ignored, invalidated, minimized, and pushed aside by LGBTQ+ organizations and “communities” that seem aggressively unwilling to address racism in any form whatsoever.
Due to all of that, and more, COUNTLESS simply cannot come out at all because it would be emotionally, psychologically, financially, professionally, socially, and/or physically unsafe for them to do so.
So, while celebrating coming out day please ensure that you take the time to check yourself and acknowledge that there is a LOT of work to be done for vulnerable queer peeps all over.
Personally, the day isn’t all that significant to me because as a visibly queer, non-binary trans, and non-monogamous person who defies most everybody’s expectations of gender and sexuality in my small, highly conservative town… I’ve never stopped coming out. In fact, I come out literally every single day, often multiple times a day.
I come out every time I go to the mall and literally everybody’s head turns as I walk by.
I come out every time a kid asks me “are you a boy or a girl?” [seriously, daily]
I come out ever single time that same kid’s parents pull them away from me, physically force them to look away, scoff at me, or tell them I’m “just confused” or “sick”.
I come out every time a bus driver, drive thru worker, gas station attendant, retail salesperson, server, barista, etc. misgenders me numerous times throughout our brief interaction despite me politely correcting them. [again, daily]
I come out every time I need to go to the bathroom in public and strangers intensely stare me down for daring to even consider approaching either door.
I come out every time I go clothes shopping and staff doesn’t know what their “policy is” on people like me trying on clothes.
I come out every time somebody walks into my place of employment and sees me behind my desk wearing a dress, skirt, blouse, etc.
I come out every time somebody throws something at me from their car, screams a slur at me, follows me around as I walk down the street, or corners me outside a building.
I come out every time somebody asks my partner if she’s married.
I come out every time I meet somebody new and have to introduce myself for the first time.
I come out every time I walk into a party or social gathering and everybody stops talking.
I come out every time I’m not perfectly clean shaven, or their is any visible hair on my arms, legs, or chest.
I come out every time somebody’s eyes go wide as they notice my D-cup tits.
I come out every time somebody can’t stop glaring down at my crotch.
And so on and so forth. Ultimately, I don’t think any of us ever fully stops “coming out” and, unfortunately, I don’t think that is going to change any time soon. Yes, you and I know that queer people have been around for literally thousands of years, throughout all of recorded history, but, most everybody else doesn’t seem to get that yet. We’re still an enormous conundrum to politicians, leaders, lawmakers, policy makers, and society as a whole. Which is super fucking frustrating and sucks ass on the best of days.
All that being said, if you are out I supposed it is worth taking a moment to acknowledge the gigantic “fuck you” that you’re giving everybody by simply existing outside arbitrary social roles and expectations. Because fuck that shit, am I right!?
*Feature image from Aloys Neil Mark Fleischmann