Why Is Coming Out Important?

Coming out is a difficult task for some people. It means opening a part of yourself that at one point you felt was secret, for whatever reason. We hold those kinds of secrets hostage in our minds for many reasons, childhood experiences, fear etc. Their are many variations of that. What I do know is that when you are holding a secret about something as personal as your sexual identity it creates a “double” life. When you meet new people and you don’t tell them for whatever reason it sits in the back of your mind. It festers.
Now, I know that this isn’t the case for everyone. Some folks genuinely just want their personal business to stay personal. I’m not talking about wearing a banner to work and posting pride flags in your cubicle and changing your name to Steve Fairy Princess Jones. I’m talking about those you have drinks with and the people you consider friends and aquaintences. It’s not that anyone ‘deserves’ to know about your sexuality, but it gets the elephant out of the room.
I watched a recent lecture on tv and this Professor was talking about stigmatic focal points. Like facial moles for example. If the person who has a visible abnormality (I will only use that term because abnormal doesn’t mean bad, just different then the rest) just talks about it from the get go, within minutes of that conversation the viewing individual typically forgets it’s there and moves on with the conversation. Rarely even giving it thoughts. However, if it remains the taboo subject, the subject that isn’t going to get talked about, the viewing party typically focuses much attention on that subject. So this is the case with people. If they suspect that a friends of theirs is gay, then they typically spend a lot of time thinking and deciphering whether or not you are or aren’t.
By talking about your sexual identity to those you love you are doing a few things. For one your clearing your conscious. Not that keeping your business private is taxing, but this way you are telling the same thing to all people. Believe it or not there is a certain freedom in transparency. Secondly, you make it possible to simply move on with life. Kind of like “well, now that’s out of the way we can talk about things that matter”. You don’t say that obviously, but it certainly becomes the truth. Whether or not your gay doesn’t change the rules of life or what type of job you can do. It is a very personal thing that many people are flat out afraid of. But by us being bold and fearless and transparent with our personal friends we enable them to come to terms with that part of us. We forget that even though we are fighting the good fight of equality, we still have to educate those who have to interact with us. They need the ability to interact with us, not the facade we give them, but the real, gay “us”. It’s not is giving in to some pressure, it’s us being bold and empowering. “I did my part, and my conscious is clear, now it’s your problem” kind a thing. You come as you, and it’s up to them to accept or get to know. It’s our job to present us. If we do that, our confidence in ourselves will more often then not make them confident in us too. It’s contagious, confidence.

This isn’t the end of this post, however, I am out of time this particular kiosk session (20 Min. max…ugh!)

With Love

Jeff Utnage