Log in

No account? Create an account
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.


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:

6 Read Comments