Saturday, October 11, 2008

A salute

Today is National Coming Out Day. It's a day for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered to be open about who they are, and for heteros like me to open up and discuss issues that impact the GLTB community. I have begun an informal tradition here of posting on National Coming Out Day. I do this to honor and salute my friends -- those intelligent, funny, fun, decent people who add so much to my life -- who happen to be GLTB.

I'm a straight white woman who grew up in a middle-class family. I can never truly know what it's like to be GLTB in this world.

But I do know what it's like to feel fundamentally different from your parents, to feel that there is a major disconnect between what your parents think and believe, and what you think and believe. I know what it's like to have to close off a part of your life from your parents because they just can't handle it, I know what it's like to have conversational minefields with your family that you're constantly stepping around, and I know what it's like to know that if your mother knew some of your secrets, it would break her heart. That still doesn't mean I know what it's like to be GLTB in our society, but I do have a teeny inkling of some of what my GLTB friends must feel at times.

So today I salute you, my dear friends who add so much to my life, who make me laugh and who make me think. I honor your courage and your spirit in the face of ignorance and judgment and cruelty. I love you and I hope I live to see the day when you can love who you want and be who you are without fear or repercussion.

12 comments:

puffthemagicrabbit said...

Very, very well said. I remember always being in awe of my brother's courage to be who he was and love who he loved- and I hate that it takes anymore than just the ordinary courage to open yourself up to love- that's hard enough without adding all the other bullshit. Here's to the day when being yourself doesn't require any extra bravery.

JellyDonut said...

What a wonderful tradition! Thank you.

I, too, have compartmentalized my life and beliefs in order to keep peace with family members. My ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS cousin is the most fabulous gay man on the planet--intelligent, loving, funny. My family has finally realized that gay men aren't a threat and they can lay off the ignorant remarks and jokes. Maybe if Obama is elected, they will have this same revelation about non-white people.

anne marie in philly said...

WHEN are we going to allow each person to be who they are, instead of trying to compartmentalize and generalize?

my best friend of 40 years is gay and I would not trade his friendship for anything. my spouse's best friend of 35 years is also gay. both of us are lucky to have these men enrich our lives!

M-H said...

Onya, Carol. Thanks.

Molly said...

Thank you!

There are definitely a good and growing number of places in the world where we really can be who we are openly, and I'm lucky enough to live in one of them---Toronto, Ontario. So I'm pretty freakin' out, but I still say Yay to Coming Out Day (if you'll pardon the rhyme).

Pam the Yarn Goddess said...

I don't know if it's because I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area or because I'm just who I am, but I celebrate diversity of all kinds. Of course, I have no idea of what these people go through - the social, economic, emotional, and other issues which plague them on a daily basis. Since I also don't look "normal" (what is normal, anyway?), I can empathize with some of what people who are "different" go through.

I look for the day where we can all just be people instead of having labels put on us. What a boring world it would be if we were all the same.

Kim said...

Thank you so much for saying this, and better than I ever could.

Carol said...

Well said. I hope I can see these things within my generation. If not, my children are aware that everyone is the same and deserves the same rights. Hoorah for Coming Out Day!

michelene.russell said...

This story on NPR made my day on Thursday. All children and young adults deserve safe, friendly, and academically competititve (huh, you do NOT want to get me started on that topic) schools. So many don't have them.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=95565768

Lisa said...

Hear, hear! I agree with you wholeheartedly.

Allison said...

I have one (baby) son, and I hope that by the time he's older that we live in an environment where he will feel comfortable being whoever he is- I hope that he never feels the need to keep who he is from anyone.
Where I live, people are not yet accepting of others who aren't like them, but I hope that with time it changes. Til then, I'll model acceptance and support so that others can (maybe) learn from me.

Norskybear said...

Carol,

Once again, your inherent kindness bursts forth! Thanks for reminding us all about such an important date!

Can't wait to see you at Rhinebeck!

Lars