By Cindy Pasillas
It seems like we have a national day for just about everything nowadays and it was brought to my attention by Twitter that October 11th is National Coming Out Day. It’s a day where people of the LGBTQIA+ community can come out to their friends and family about their gender identification or sexual orientation.
Coming out can be the hardest thing many of us will ever have to face. I mean sure you’ll probably be faced with dirty looks or rude comments from strangers if they see you walking hand in hand with your significant other that happens to be of the same gender, or if you’re seen wearing clothes that aren’t meant for your gender.
But they’re strangers and their opinions don’t matter as much as the opinions of your loved ones.
Coming out to the people closest to you is terrifying because you actually care about the opinions of your loved ones you want them to accept you for who you are. You want them to understand but you never really know what their reaction will be. There’s this numbing feeling that comes along with the words, “I’m gay.”
A million thoughts pass through your mind. Will my parents still love me? Will they kick me out? Are they even going to take me serious? Is this even worth risking those that I love? Words cannot describe how daunting and nerve racking it is to come out.
It could go incredibly well or could go horribly, there’s always that uncertainty. In some cases it could even be dangerous for people to come out, especially if they’re living with homophobic family members.
So should everyone feel like it’s necessary to come out of the closet?
Coming out is a very personal decision and one shouldn’t feel obligated to come out to anyone if they don’t feel comfortable or ready.
I feel LGBTQIA+ youth feel pressured to come out and that shouldn’t be the case. We don’t tell straight kids that they need to voice their sexuality so why do we have to tell others that we’re gay? It’s because we live in a heteronormative society. Heterosexuality is deemed normal and homosexuality isn’t which is ridiculous to me. We don’t have to conform to our society. If straight people don’t have to come out, we don’t either.
I’m not saying that you should hide who you are. I’m all for being open and taking pride in your self identification. I’m simply saying that there’s no need to feel rushed or pressured to come out. Do it when it feels right to you. The right time could be a few days from now, maybe a few months, or even years from now and that’s okay.
Everyone should do what makes them feel happy and comfortable and if that’s coming out and being open about who you are, then do that. If you want to remain closeted that’s okay too. Don’t feel like you’re required to come out, take as long as you need.
Coming out takes an immense amount of courage but accepting yourself and embracing your sexuality is hard as well. So don’t feel bad if you aren’t ready to be public about your sexuality. It’s okay to feel vulnerable and afraid to come out but don’t feel like your weak because of it. You’re definitely not, just be aware that there’s an entire community of people that are here to support you. You aren’t alone. The LGBTQIA+ community is here for you and we understand your fears and worries. We’ve all felt them at some point.
Always be proud of who you are and do what’s best for you, not what others want you to do. Also know you’re a brave individual whether you decide to come out or not. Your sexuality is valid even if you are closeted.