National come out day

Thursday the 11th of October is nationally celebrated as “Coming Out” day by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered communities. For openly LGBT-supportive heterosexuals, this holiday is just a “good for you” for their LGBT friends and family, and for openly LGBT people this day serves as a day of reflection or perhaps is seen as irrelevant since they are already “out.” But for those individuals who are in the closet, this day revolves around you.

People casually refer to people who are not open with their sexuality as “in the closet,” but in reality the closet is more like a department store harboring hordes of individuals afraid to acknowledge their sexuality to themselves or to others. As an openly gay man, let me tell you that living your life in the closet, as reassuring as it may feel at times, is in reality an oppressive hell when you observe it through the lens of being out and proud of who you are. Now, I’m not going to simply announce that anyone who is closeted and who is reading this should kick open the door and go to CNN with the news story, but understanding that being openly LGBT, despite the vitriol and discrimination present in our culture, is rewarding in ways you could never imagine.

Being open with one’s sexuality was, for me at least, the most liberating experience of my life. I was closeted all my high school years, and I regret the loss to my youth I experienced because of it. While my straight friends got to date, go to prom with people they liked or loved, and watch romance blossom and wither, I had nothing. The closet is a vacuum of loneliness, self-hatred, and personal oppression that no one should be subjected to. I understand that coming out is terrifying, can carry consequences, and can be hard on LGBT people and the people they care about, but the end result far surpasses any bumps in the road or pain you may encounter along the way. My experience thankfully carried no resentment or rejection from my friends and family, which sometimes is the case. People I assumed were vehemently homophobic ended up not caring at all, even being supportive. You never know how coming out will go until you do it. I was joyfully surprised, and you very well may be too.

If you don’t know how to go about coming out, want resources on how to handle the process, or just need some positive encouragement, hit the web and Google “coming out”. You’ll find endless information and support to assist you make this glorious transformation in your life. Gaylife.about.com and the website for the Human Rights Campaign have good resources. However the coming out process goes for you, know that the end result will be you living your life true to yourself, free to love and be loved in the way God made you to be.

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