A note for the LGBTQA+ community on Coming Out Day

It’s National Coming Out Day, a period where proud affirming tweets circulate for 24 hours, met with pride and declarations of relatability from other LGBTQA+ folks. For me, National Coming Out Day, unfortunately, represents pressure, and I’m not alone. For those who also feel a mixture of guilt, overwhelm and pressure on days like today, solidarity to you.

I’m not out. I wouldn’t say I was ‘in either’. Being out or in is a binary that appears to be unbreakable, but derived from judgemental phrases like ‘stuck in the closet’ and erases the experiences of those who fluctuate, or adapt.

I’m out to my friends, my partner, my mother, my work colleagues, my followers. These people know of my sexuality and identity because it’s safe for them to know. There are other people in my life where being ‘out’ would cause me discomfort and even potential danger. It is a privilege to come out. While it’s a hyper-emotional and often difficult experience to announce who you are to loved ones, it’s a privilege to be able to do it and know you’re out of harm’s way. There are various people who don’t have the same fortunate circumstances to carry them through the process.

If you’re out and proud, congratulations to you. It is a beautiful thing to be yourself genuinely, unapologetically and publicly. If you’re still ‘in’ I’m proud of you as well, and you get to be proud to. Individuals have a whole host of reasons why is better for them to keep their identity private presently, and a lack of pride for those people is unhelpful. We must show up for all queer people, whether they’re owning their queerness and portraying it vibrantly, or they’re blending in for protection.

If you’re one of the many who find today difficult, take care of yourself. Do something nice that’s just for you. Understand that your coming out is on your own terms. It doesn’t have to be now, only when you’re ready.

Happy coming out day – whether you have came out or not x

Beth Ashley
Beth Ashley

Writer/wronger. Provides words about mental health and feminism and runs this very blog. Copywriter for Godaddy and editor of Paperfox Literary Magazine.

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