Happy National Coming Out Day!
What a joyous opportunity this moment is each year. The idea of coming out & this blog are inextricably linked for me. Since the moment I hit “publish” on RAINBOW REFLECTIONS, I have been more inspired to embrace my sexuality, to speak out against discrimination, & to champion our community, especially our youth.
On MY INSTAGRAM, I have a special #RAINBOWSILIKE hashtag for all the photos I share with a rainbow theme. I am obsessed with them. There is a rainbow heart sticker on my desk at work & a rainbow heart rug on my floor at home & a rainbow heart patch on my handbag. As I wrote in RAINBOW REFLECTIONS –
“I used to think of these rainbow items as personal talismans – ones that would give me strength when I wore them and remind me to be proud. Perhaps, they were also an easy way to make people aware that there was something that they didn’t realize about me at first glance. My rainbows could be clues for the attentive observer. But, I don’t want to shyly wear rainbows. I am not a timid person, and if I have learned nothing else about the natural state of rainbows, it is that they need to be out in the sunlight for the beautiful colors to appear.”
Of everything I have written in my life, that paragraph is the single piece of writing that I am most proud of.
RAINBOW REFLECTIONS was a turning point for me both as a person and as a blogger. As a person, it proved that I would not be afraid if my sexuality was a well-known fact. As a blogger, it made me realize the impact of my platform. I was stunned at the number of people who reached out after I posted. Some congratulated me. Some discussed their sexuality. Some shared their fear of coming out.
Coming out is a complicated process. All things considered, the loving support of my family & my friends has made it easy. Yet, there were dark moments along my journey, as there are for all of us.
I read a passage in theology class that compared homosexual activity to eating dirt; the book claimed your body would suffer greatly over time from the effects. I sat in a church on the day after marriage equality was passed in the United States & listened to a priest compare this momentous moment to the horror of human slavery. He continued to explain that institutions that are legalized are not necessarily moral. I laid flowers outside of the Stonewall Inn to pay my respects to 49 men & women in Orlando, most of them people of color, who were shot in cold blood because of their sexuality this past summer.
This has been a tough year for the LGBTQ+ community, but the response to hatred & violence has continued to be love & understanding. If you are thinking about coming out or are in the process of coming out, remember that the world needs your unique brilliance. The Human Rights Campaign has created a fantastic RESOURCE GUIDE that may be helpful to you during this time. If you have come out, remember that every person who follows in your footsteps could have a better experience because you took the time to be there for them.
Closets are for my rainbows clothes. We will not be forced into a shameful darkness by any person, any religion, or any politician.
We will keep going into the light.
PS – If you know a friend or family member who is struggling with their sexuality, please consider forwarding this post to them. This is not a promotional request but rather a genuine desire to be a resource for those in our community who may be struggling. Thank you for support.
Photography by Stephanie Mahder