Today, LGBT people around the world are celebrating National Coming Out Day, but that means something different for all of us.
For me, NCOD means it’s been about five years since I told my friends and family (in different stages) that I liked girls. It means I don’t apologize for my sexual orientation or shy away when I tell people I’m involved with LGBT activist work. It means my girlfriend and I can go to her sorority formal or go out to dinner with our families without any discomfort or awkward stares.
NCOD reminds me of how lucky I am that I can be myself around my loved ones and in public, but I realize that it’s not so easy for everyone. Some of us haven’t come out yet because our background, culture or country doesn’t allow it, and we must consider our safety first. Some of us simply aren’t ready to tell the world. Some of us fall somewhere in between; maybe we would like to come out, but a particular friend, family member, or even an employer stands in the way.
Coming out is important to some people, but it’s certainly not everything. Your identity is entirely your own, and you don’t need to tell anyone in order for it to be valid. That said, coming out is empowering for many people. For some of us, coming out is a big step in coming to terms with who we are. For others of us, it’s not such a big deal. Both philosophies are perfectly okay.
Whether or not you’re out, I hope today you can feel secure about who you are and know that no matter how out or not you are, you are valuable, you are loved, and you matter. If you feel like coming out today, that’s great! I wish you the best of luck and hope your announcement is met with love and support.
Today I’m thinking about how grateful I am to have come out when I did, and how much my life has changed since then. What are you thinking about?