National Coming Out Day: Embrace yourself
Published: Friday, October 11, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 11, 2013 15:10
Ever since the Ninth Grade I’ve always had a dream: become a badass journalist.
I focused all of my efforts on learning to write in journalistic style, consuming news at a veracious pace and removing my biases from my writing.
Essentially my life focused solely on the world that surrounded me while completely ignoring what I felt inside.
I never really noticed that I had no social life beyond the three or so close friends I hung out with. My family always asked me if I had a girlfriend and I always responded, “Nope, I’m married to school.”
It never occurred to me I was repressing feelings that I was actually gay. Now this isn’t a revelation to anyone that knows me because I’ve been true about who I am after I entered college. I had more time on my hands and realized I had been missing out on the parts of life other than work or school. The missing parts weren’t having sex or dating, but understanding and accepting myself no matter what other people say.
A big misconception about being open about your sexuality means that person has to shove it down peoples’ throat or act more feminine. This is absolutely not the case. If that’s who they truly are then there’s no harm in behaving that way. But if not, they’re still lying to themselves.
Being gay is the same as being straight or bisexual, or any other myriad of sexualities that the populous identifies with. Just be true to who you are. Most people that meet me wouldn’t guess that I’m gay, which is okay because that’s not what I want to be remembered for 99.9 percent of the time.
Not many gay people do. When someone comes out, it’s more than about expressing sexuality. They are opening up to another lifestyle that makes them happier. Being stuck in the closet - as many people are - for years is a distraction. It’s hard to focus in school, at work, at home. They’re constantly afraid of being found out.
Coming out as gay isn’t a statement of “this is who I want to be” but “who I am.” After that, they want to move on. LGBT people are doctors, teachers, firemen, soldiers, and editors of mid-sized university newspapers. They are conservatives, liberals, independents and every flavor in between.
Just because they are of the LGBT community doesn’t make them biased or defective at whatever job they have merely because they like members of the same sex. I pride myself on being able to remove my personal life and emotions from the articles I write as do many other journalist members of the LGBT community do. I’m a member of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalist Association – an organization that strives for ethical reporting on LGBT issues by and for LGBT people.
Before I came out I worried about stereotypes that I would have to follow or that people would see me differently. In truth, it’s all about presentation. Unfortunately, the latter is still true: People judge.
It’s unfortunate in a day where the American youth waive tolerance like a national flag, the older generations would rather stigmatize than focus on issues that are important. Members of my own family won’t speak to me simply because of who I am – despite the fact that I had those feelings for years prior.
But it’s ok, I would rather associate with people who are accepting of who I am than waste time begging for redemption from those who don’t.
Embrace you, not who they want you to be.