Friday Oct. 11 is National Coming Out Day, and we want to take a moment to recognize the bravery and courage that it takes for queer people to declare who they are to the world.
In the wake of the Supreme Court cases heard earlier this week, which concerned whether it should be legal to fire someone for their sexuality or gender identity, it is a particularly troubling time to come out as LGBTQ+. The fact that it is even a matter of debate whether someone can be denied the right to make a living based on who they love or the gender they affirm is extremely backwards. And an unfavorable ruling could encourage some to stay in the closet just to keep their jobs.
That said, a holiday which celebrates the affirmation of these socially-contested identities is inherently an act of resistance and a display of strength. However, we have some complicated feelings about the convention of the day, as it suggests that coming out is just a one-time thing.
Contrary to what many might think, coming out is a constant, repetitive and life-long process.
Every time you enter a new workplace or classroom, see distant relatives or old friends, or even start going to a new barbershop, the anxiety of wondering how people will react to your sexual or gender identity — and if that reaction will be physically or emotionally violent — begins brewing in your mind.