Today, October 11th, is National Coming Out Day. Who knew?! All you gay, lesbian, transgender, or bisexual individuals, you can come out today and suffer no recourse, unlike the other 364 days of the year. So hurry, plan a meeting with your friends and family before it hits midnight!
Of course, we know this isn’t true. And I know the LGBT had the best of intentions when they named this day “National Coming Out Day.” I’m not even saying they were wrong for doing it. What I’m saying is that it’s extremely sad it had to be done. I mean, as much as I would love a day that celebrates me (most likely “National Neurotic Blond day”), most people accept the irrational and scatterbrained me because, well, it’s me. There isn’t much I can do about it, and it’s the way I was born. Sure, not everyone likes me, but if they don’t, they just don’t have to be my friend. And I’m okay with that. I spent years upon years trying to be what I thought was a better version of myself, and it wasn’t fun. It all culminated with me standing at a crossroads and saying, “I can go this way and continue to be something I’m not, or I can go this way and just accept this is what I am.” And you know what? I was tired of trying so hard to be all the things I knew I wasn’t. So maybe it was out of pure laziness, but I chose the road less traveled- the one that led to self-acceptance. And I don’t expect to be celebrated for it, and I don’t want to be felt sorry for. Because it was easy. And it made me respect everyone I come across, because even if they are annoying and their personality clashes with mine, I can respect them for who they are. Maybe I don’t want to be friends with them, and maybe I don’t want to spend a whole lot of time with them. But they are who they are, and I know that makes them a lot happier than people putting on a charade.
So when I come across someone who is out, I know they have been through quite a hard time. I had a hard time accepting myself as a pretty normal individual; I can’t even imagine accepting myself as someone that a lot of people look down upon. To be honest, I don’t think I am brave enough to do that. My heart swells with admiration when I come across anyone that is out and proud, because God, imagine the world if everyone achieved that kind of self awareness. I wish every day was “National Coming Out Day” for everyone, and we could all walk around with T-Shirts that said phrases we had accepted about ourselves, physically and otherwise. I’d have a rotation of shirts to wear: “Large Hips.” “ADHD.” “Addictive Personality.” “Book Smart, Very Little Common Sense.” The list could go on, but the point I am making is this: Every single day, people in this world accept things about themselves, and it is a wonderful thing. I’m not saying we can’t work to improve ourselves; I’m just saying it’s great to accept who we are, instead of trying to be someone we aren’t. I think most people who have learned to accept themselves would agree with this. So imagine the work that had to be put in by those in the LGBT community to come out knowing full well they might be shunned or ridiculed by some people (possibly even their loved ones).
Today shouldn’t be “National Coming Out Day,” it should be “National Acceptance Day.” Acceptance meaning both self-acceptance and acceptance of others. But, folks, we aren’t there yet. Because people still see being LGBT as a choice that is made. The only choice involved is the choice to accept yourself for who you are, and these people deserve to be admired for it. It is a hard thing to do, but those commercials do have it right: It gets better. We as a nation are on a precipice of change right now, just like so many of us are in our individual journey of self discovery. We, as a nation, can either choose to continue to act as we have in the past. Or, we can evolve. And, folks, let me tell you, you never make the wrong choice when you choose to evolve. Look back at the abolition of slavery. Women’s rights. Civil Rights. Does anyone think those were bad choices? In the future, we will look back at this time with shame, as we do with the aforementioned issues. Regardless of whether you agree with whether being LGBT is a choice (and trust me, it is), it still doesn’t matter. It doesn’t affect you, and it won’t change the way you live your life. Denying people the right to live as they were meant to live can only lead to problems. As a country, we must evolve. So my hope is that we evolve to a time when “National Coming Out Day” doesn’t have to exist; it will just be October 11th, a day that American’s have the right to live their private lives however they wish.
(Just in case this wasn’t clear: Same-sex marriage should be allowed in every state in America, because it is the right thing to do. Civil unions don’t cut it, as they do not have the same federally-recognized rights as marriage. Of course, pastors and priests shouldn’t have to marry same-sex couples if they don’t want to. That is church marriage. State marriage is a union recognized by the federal government and is performed by a federal employee. Church and state are separate, according to a little thing called the Constitution.)