Columbians on what Coming Out Day means to them
Today was National Coming Out Day. We asked some of our fellow Columbians to talk about what this day means to them. This is what they had to say.
Robbie Lyman, CC ’15:
To me, the most important part about coming out isn’t the event itself. It’s not the fear or the pain or the fights or the relief or the part where you look in the mirror and the way you see yourself shifts. No, for me, the part that sticks, the part I love about coming out, comes later. It’s walking out of your room and laughing because you love the way you look and never would have thought to wear this before. It’s realising that you’re maybe not in the perfect place, but you’re embracing an approximation. It’s seeing yourself the way you’ve always been, years after asserting that you’re someone different. It’s acknowledging that in some sense of the word, we’re all coming out, always. We’re all surprised, we’re all nervous. We’re all telling ourselves who we are, who we want to be. That’s what coming out is about for me.
Zoe Ridolfi-Starr, CC ’15:
I’d like to wish a wonderful Coming Out Day to my two loving lesbian mothers. My two moms have always been open about their experiences with sexuality, and taught me and my brother to explore and express our own orientation in whatever way makes us feel comfortable. No, my family was not normal; but that difference has given me a unique perspective for understanding others, and inspires me to be an advocate. My moms built our family with love, honesty, and deep commitment. We have faced discrimination, criticism, misinformation, and denial of our rights; and yet, I feel so lucky to be a part of my family, one full of such genuine support, open communication, and unconditional love. I want everyone to know that a homosexual couple can make a strong, nurturing, interesting, and wonderful family.
On National Coming Out day, I hope everyone takes a moment to appreciate those that love and support them unconditionally. My thoughts and love are with all who are gathering the courage to open up and come out. It is never easy (coming out as queer to my lesbian parents gave me butterflies for months!), but to build those open relationships, the honesty has to start with you. Hugs and kisses to the entire LGBTQQIA community, our friends, families, and allies—today is a day to appreciate our own relationships and to support each other, a day to take pride in all we have accomplished, and look to the future and see more work to do and more love to celebrate.
Jose Montelongo, co-president of EAAH:
Coming out is such a vastly different experience heavily dependent on where you are from, and who is part of your life. There is unfortunately no formula to make the process any less terrifying. In some cases it is the best thing to not come out at all. Self-identified queer teens make a disproportionate percentage of homeless teens (as high as 19% of the homeless teen population). And so even though we ought to celebrate coming out, we ought to also remember that there are those whose circumstances make it not only understandable, but essential that they do no come out. From my own experience, I have yet to come out to my parents (they are most definitely in denial about it, I mean, I am really, really into shoes) and I am not sure how they will take it once I do. It is a terrifying thought to think that your own parents would feel compelled to reject you simply because of whom you choose to have sex with. So during this day, and during this month long celebration of queer history, we should take a sobering look at those that are still being left behind, casualties of a cultural war that is ever polarizing the nation.
What does National Coming Out Day mean to you? Let us know in the comments.
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