This past Tuesday, October 11 was National Coming Out Day, A designated day for members of the LGBT community to come out to their friends and family. Many across America celebrated their identity and took pride in who they are. Twitter and Facebook were full of heartfelt stories of sexuality and threads of what it means to be in the queer community. These individuals were able to rejoice in their identity. On the other hand however, others were reminded that openly accepting their identity was an unsafe decision. But why? Why does it have to be this way? Why do closeted members of the LGBT community have to stay closeted?
The answers may be simple- their parents wouldn’t accept them, it’s unsafe for them to embrace their identity in their neighborhood/community, there's a religious conflict and the list goes on. But my underlying question is why can’t we accept these individuals for who they are? As a humane society, why is this concept so difficult for others to accept?
America is the land of equality, or so we say. Where is this said “equality” for this community of over 8 million? It was only last summer on June 26th, that gay marriage was legalized. Over a year later, anti-LGBT legislation has been already enacted and some laws are still in the making. “Bathroom bills” and bills allowing business owners to refuse their services to LGBT customers are spread across 22 states. Over a hundred anti LGBT bills are pending in these and more states.
Then there comes the argument of the how any sexuality besides heterosexuality goes against religion. For a notion based system or systems used to connect with a higher being, it sure seems like religion is used as a vessel for discrimination against those who fall from the “mainstream population.” I’m not just talking about the LGBTQ community here; How can a spiritual institution/institutions centered around love be so judgmental of those who fail to meet the guidelines of these so called faiths?
Hypocrisy on this issue is spread wide and far. But rather than focusing on the political negatives, I’d rather shed light on what it really means to “come out of the closet.” For some LGBT individuals it’s a long overdue feeling of satisfaction in actually being able to express themselves. For others it’s nerves, a feeling of crushing anxiety and then a wave of relief after their friends and family have accepted their identity. Meanwhile, some feel as though it’s a constant internal battle, in which they find themselves not caring at the end. Nevertheless, the process of coming out is all too familiar with members of the LGBT community. They shouldn’t have to “come out.” Some end up realizing they only come out to those extremely close to them because of the scrutinizing environment they find themselves surrounded by.
Sheer with the queer. Let’s start to release the stigmas surrounding the LGBT community. One stereotype at a time, one person at a time, and one anti discriminatory bill at a time. Let’s celebrate love. Let’s celebrate all sexualities. Let’s celebrate all genders. Let’s celebrate one another. Stop the barriers and spread the love.