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the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

On National Coming Out Day

October 11th, 2012 (11:27 am)

Five years ago, on λ’s and my honeymoon in Florida, we spent the second evening of our marriage in the hotel pool. We were being affectionate -- not like we were making out, but holding hands, quick pecks on the cheeks or maybe the lips. Then this guy came up to us and in a rough tone of voice asked us to cut it out until he and his family left the pool, “just so my daughter don’t have to see.” We were shocked into immobility for a moment, and then they left within minutes. Clearly he was more concerned about telling us off than taking care of his daughter.

A couple days later, at Disney World, we were walking hand in hand in the park, wearing our Minnie Mouse ears with wedding veils. A woman saw us, flinched, and quickly placed her hand over her son’s eyes. He looked about ten. Then the mom kept glaring at us instead of watching where she was dragging her son, with the result that he crashed into a trash barrel.

I think of both of those moments as coming out moments, but the adults in the scenes aren’t my concern. Adult homophobes aren’t new. What is new is the rising generation of children who have lived all their lives in a country and world where acceptance of gays is on the rise. I wonder what happened to those kids whose parents wanted to prevent them from seeing gay people. What are those kids like now? Do they remember us at all? They’d be in their teens now, and their parents can’t hide one-tenth of the population from them forever. Have they seen enough gay folks like me and λ to understand that our love for one another is not threatening? Have they absorbed their parents’ teachings? If they have, will they ever change?

I feel optimistic about those kids. Maybe I’m naive, but I believe that the new generation has shown signs of leaving behind a portion of the bigotry that has plagued too many of their parents. And you can’t hide the truth of gay lives and love from them forever. You can’t keep covering their eyes when gay folks walk by and you can’t keep taking your daughter out of range of gay people. We are more visible than we used to be, we have come out in large numbers, we don’t apologize for who we are. We are seen.

National Coming Out Day, to me, isn’t really about one day when queer people announce their queerness. And I strongly feel that no one should come out unless they’re comfortable with it. But most days for me are coming-out days, because there are strangers I encounter and I don’t know what their views are or how they will react but I’m not interested in hiding who I am from them and their possible bigotry. Parents may object but I will let their children see me. And I am not the only one, and those children will grow up in a world that is different from the one their parents grew up in. They’ll see us. I hope they will see that there is nothing to fear. Nothing but the possibility that their parents, in trying to keep them from knowing the reality of the world they live in, will walk them into a trash can because they are paying more attention to their own bigotry than to their children.

I don’t mean to downplay the difficulty of coming out. It can be very very difficult. For me, it wasn’t all smooth sailing, and I didn’t have it even a fraction as hard as many people do.

But being out, if it is something you want to be, changes things -- for you, but also for the world. I think we’ve passed the tipping point. I think we’re seeing a better world coming about.

Happy Coming Out Day, y’all.

P.S. I’m a lesbian.

Comments

Posted by: Tasha Rebekah Martin (lietya)
Posted at: October 11th, 2012 03:31 pm (UTC)
Jenny

This is beautiful. (Well, not the part where you ran into asshole bigots, obviously.) I would like to think - and DO think - that you're absolutely correct about the tipping point.

Interestingly, my life from here on out will be a sociological experiment, since I absolutely *can* tell when people's objections are about The Gay, as nothing else has changed about us. :)

"But most days for me are coming-out days, because there are strangers I encounter and I don’t know what their views are or how they will react but I’m not interested in hiding who I am from them and their possibly bigotry."

This, too, is excellently put, and encapsulates how I feel now that I'm no longer blessed with passing-as-straight privilege.

Posted by: Damian (fanboy_of_zeus)
Posted at: October 11th, 2012 03:45 pm (UTC)
me

I loved every word of this; some beautiful points that were well worth mentioning and well written.

I never quite know what to do with today because being out is an every day thing for me. It's not like I can come out one day a year and hide in the closet the other 364 (or 365 this year, I guess).

Posted by: Andrew Ducker (andrewducker)
Posted at: October 11th, 2012 04:06 pm (UTC)

There's definitely been a massive swing.

2/3 of voters aged 30 or under are in favour of letting you get married, while only 1/3 of people aged 70 or over feel the same:
http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2012/05/13/support-for-gay-marriage-rising-in-every-demographic/

Posted by: electric misfit love machine (eyelid)
Posted at: October 11th, 2012 05:59 pm (UTC)
marriage equality

there's been a huge generational shift on this issue. Even fifteen years ago, gay marriage was by and large a pipe dream, opposed by a strong majority. Now it's neck-and-neck nearly everywhere - and even a reality in some states.

This is all because people like you come out and brave the actions of homophobes.

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Yes, I Have One (supremegoddess1)
Posted at: November 8th, 2012 03:53 pm (UTC)

Hi there! I am poking my head back onto LJ long enough to attempt to get FB page addys for folks that are still around, since I am barely *ever* on here and am always on there. So if you happen to have an FB page you would be interested in sharing, let me know so I can friend you over there. :)

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: November 8th, 2012 05:27 pm (UTC)

I'm at www.facebook.com/booksomeblonde. Yay for new friends on FB!

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