A word from the COAYA team:
As our week-long observance of National Coming Out Day is coming to an end, I would like to take some time to reflect on the meaning and importance of having such a celebration.
While we welcome and celebrate the coming out of LGBTQ individuals of all faces of life, it has always irked me by the reason why this is necessary. Though it was originally established to pay homage to the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights one year earlier, in which 500,000 people marched on Washington, DC for gay and lesbian equality, we must still recognize the disparities all members of the community face. Especially our queer BIPOC folks.
We here at Come (Out) as You Are have seen over two dozen stories come through and posted for other folks to understand that there is more to a person than the label they identify with. In some cases people have been wholly accepting, while others disown or remove any and all contact.
There seems to be a mutual understanding among all LGBTQ folks that, even if one’s experience may have been better than others, these issues persist. But one thing I’ve noticed is that those who may have had these “better” experiences do not do much in support of those who don’t have it as easy.
That’s why, as a small effort to pass along support for our comrades, we have officially launched a new Resources page to help folks far and wide with getting in touch with organizations, nonprofits and more to help with their journey.
I wish at one point in the future we do not have to feel afraid to come out. I wish LGBTQ children would be taught to welcome this inclusion and be encouraged to question their identity. And if they see themselves as a cisgender, heterosexual individual, then that’s great! But only when we accept the fluidity of gender and sexuality, we see a day when fears will subside.
If you would like to see any other LGBTQ resources published on the website that aren’t already there, we are open to receiving recommendations. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking back on this week as we celebrated NCOD reminds me of this year’s Pride Month. It was our first year as a blog and we’ve covered so many topics and coming out stories. We have had the pleasure of working with so many amazing individuals and building some utterly brilliant working relationships so we can provide you all with some amazing articles. When Kaitlyn and I meet up to discuss next steps for the blog and how we can be innovative and inclusive I often think to myself, “Some day, there will be no need for us maybe. Someday we can all just exist and not have to come out or fight for visibility, equality and transparency.” That may be a rather utopian idea but it’s worth striving for.
What do we need to do as a community though to try and get there? Support each other and end toxic ideologies. Transgender men are real men and transgender women are real women. Being nonbinary or agender is valid. Quit ripping on the bi folks, they’re valid too! Just respect and love each other. I am always amazed and appalled to see a demographic of people who have been excluded, vilified and resented do the same thing to their LGBTQ+ siblings. We’re all fighting a battle for equality and visibility, don’t make it hard on each other.
Next, continue to educate and grow as pupils and teachers of the community so the world can understand us all more and someday embrace us more. Remember we all have different lived experiences, therefore different perspectives. So, what we may know or experience is just a glimpse of the bigger picture.
Until then, what’s next for us? We’ll continue to share coming out stories, pressing issues, legislation and educational information. That said, we do strongly urge and encourage sharing us with as many folks as possible. We want to grow and help inspire more people to be true to themselves or to feel happier and safer in being themselves. Would it be cool to have 50k followers or likes or whatever else? Of course, but what gets us all jazzed up is sharing someone’s story or sharing a hot take and reading “hey, this helped me so much, thank you!” Or “you guys changed my life! I love what you guys do and it’s changing lives!”
We want to change more lives and continue to grow and learn with you all. We say this a lot because we mean it, we would not be here without you all, so the more the merrier.
As always, you are safe, you are heard, you are loved. Be well and be safe,