October 11th is National Coming Out Day. It marks the day in 1987 when half a million people took part in the March on Washington for lesbian and gay rights. It’s a day to celebrate coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual, or wherever you fall on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. This is an important day for LGBTQ+ people, but the reality is, when you’re a LGBTQ+ person, every day is national coming out day.
I remember having a conversation in my German Film class where one of my classmates, a presumably heterosexual, cisgender, white, male argued that we’ve come along way when it came to LGBTQ+ issues. He argued that it was as normal to be LGBTQ+ as it was to be heterosexual. While I agreed with him that we’ve come along way, I argued that we still had a very long way to go. I explained to him that being LGBTQ+ still isn’t considered the “norm” because every time I introduce a new person into my life, I come out. Correct me, my straight friends, if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure none of you have had “come out” as heterosexual. My classmate argued that he was “just trying to be optimistic,” and while I appreciated his optimism, having to continuously “come out” is the reality for most LGBTQ+ people.
When I first “came out” a few years ago, it never dawned on me that this wouldn’t be a “one time” thing, but that I would have to continuously “come out” for the rest of my life. This is due to the fact that we live in a heteronormative society. In other words, we live in a world where being heterosexual is seen as the norm.
I think K who is a contributing comic artist for Everyday Feminism, said it best in their comic “The Whole Truth of Coming Out of the Closet – In Comic Form,”
When we talk about Closets and Coming Out, we’re really talking about how we occupy identities and space that run counter to social norms. In short, when you Come Out, you are explicitly declaring yourself as Other, Not Normal, and Unexpected.
Coming out is never easy and it’s important to note that for some LGBTQ+ people there are other parts of their identities that are often overlooked by both mainstream society and even within the LGBTQ+ community. These identities can include things like race, sex, gender, ability, religion, class, and so much more. I myself am a not only bisexual, but I am also a woman and I am also a woman of color. My identities as a bisexual woman of color are not mutually exclusive, but rather they intersect. Regardless of whether or not you fall somewhere on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, I think it’s important to understand this intersection of identities. These intersections can sometimes add an additional layer of difficulty when it comes to coming out.
The most important thing to understand about coming out is that it’s a journey and like K said in “The Whole Truth of Coming Out of the Closet – In Comic Form,” it is not a linear one. In honor of National Coming Out Day, I have made a list of some of my favorite podcasts, videos, and articles on everything LGBTQ+ from coming out to your immigrant parents, binaries, and the importance of having allies.
Here is a list of some of my favorite podcasts, videos, and articles relating to everything LGBTQ+
- Psychobabble Episode 56: You’re Not Alone!
- Gay Questions by Connor Franta
- Something I Want You To Know (Coming Out) by Ingrid Nilsen
- Popaganda: Breaking the Binary
- Are Allies Part of the LGBT Community by Kat Blaque
- The Whole Truth of Coming Out of the Closet – In Comic Form
- It’s Not All Glitter and Rainbows: 6 Harmful Myths About Coming Out
- What Happens When You Come Out to Immigrant Parents?
- 8 Things Your LGBTQ Friend Wants You To Know When They Come Out to You
- Coming Out As Bi When You’re Muslim and Married
Alexis Renae Griggs