It's National Coming Out Day, and the pressure is on. Arguably, the pressure is always on. As gay, queer, pan, ace, aro, trans, [...] people, we are expected to "come out" to others. This expectation lingers over us everyday, whether we aren't out at all or are meeting someone new. But today, it's this reminder of that ever-looming pressure that we owe it to others (and to ourselves) to come out as non cisgender, non heterosexual, non heteromantic, non allosexual...
Coming out is exhausting. Disclosing is dangerous and exhausting. While there are many people in the LGBTQIA+ community who can come out whenever, wherever, to whomever, others of us do not have that privilege.
We do not have the privilege of being recognized as our true selves. We do not have the privilege of "passing". We do not have the privilege of having our family call us by our wonderful chosen names and using the pronouns that fit us best.
Days like today can feel empowering, but they can also be painful reminders that as comfortable as we may be with ourselves, we may not be as comfortable around others. And others may not be comfortable around us.
And that is okay.
It is okay to be out to our close friends and not to strangers. It's okay to be out at school and not at home.
It's okay to not be out at all.
And it is quite alright to not know what or who to be out as.
Just about 21 years ago, I came out of my mother's womb and I like to think of that as my coming out story.
Truth is, I always knew I was different and no one told me otherwise. I just didn't know how.
What made me so different?
I always wanted to be a tomboy when I was younger and felt like I failed miserably. I enjoyed both feminine and masculine clothes and toys, but was never seen as anything but a girl.
Whatever that means.
Starting in middle school, I really began to explore my masculinity. And in high school, my asexuality and androgyny. The following are what I like to call my trans and queer "receipts":
- My best (b*y)friend and I auditioned for the jr. Thespian Festival with "If You Were Gay" from Avenue Q; even though we knew we wouldn't get in because of my "gender-bending".