Harvey Milk to the young people coming out:
“The only thing they have to look forward to is hope. And you have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be all right.”
Today is National Coming Out Day! A day when we join together to give support, strength and encouragement to those whom have yet to come out of the closet and declare their true identity. A day when people around the globe have chosen to come out to their family and friends with the hopes of being fully accepted as the wonderful people they are.
I’m going to share a story of the first time a friend came out of the closet to me. We were in high school, our senior year. We had a period together where all we did was do chores for the Music teachers, which meant setting up band chairs for the next class. Towards the end of the year my friend arrived late. I had already begun setting up chairs and had just said good-bye to my boyfriend, whom he’d passed in the hall. He walked into the room and very non-chalantly said “DAAAAMN! When did your boyfriend get such a nice ass?” remember stopping and thinking “Did he just say that?” I looked up, he had a smirk on his face and I asked in a whisper “Are you…..are you…gay?”. He just smirked wider and I had my answer. My next question was “Does your girlfriend know yet?!”
As most young people at the time, I was confused as a teen and didn’t know who I was or who I wanted to be. At the age of 16 I asked my mother very seriously, “Mom, what would you do if I told you I was a lesbian?” She thought about it and said “Well,….I’d be very disappointed about not having grandkids, but very happy that you were happy.” I looked at her in amazement. Finally the only thing I could do was hug her and said “I love you. I’ll adopt!” My mom is awesome. She’s funny too.
While these are two funny and upbeat stories about coming out, it is not always the case. I have gay friends who were not so lucky when they came out to their families and friends. Many were bullied and beaten, others were completely disowned. But it is those friends that are the strongest of all the people I know. The survivors. My friends in the gay community have a strength like no other I’ve ever witnessed. There is a force in each of them that makes them fighters. Scrappy, sassy, always classy, fighters. I have seen them fight for their right to be themselves; loved and accepted for everything they are. This is a basic HUMAN right that everyone deserves.
If you are coming out today, WELCOME! *BIG HUGS* You are loved and accepted here. Have a cup of coffee. We’re watching cartoons. ;D