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Stay out, stay out where ever you are
Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
October 1, 2005
Somehow, somewhere, someone designated October 11th National Coming Out Day. For the GLBT community, that is something to celebrate. But not too much.
October is also recognized as Gay and Lesbian History Month, National Crime Prevention Month, National Family Sexuality Education Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, National Roller Skating Month. National Seafood Month, Positive Attitude Month, Spinach Lovers Month, Vegetarian Month, Halloween Safety Month, and Celebrate Sun Dried Tomatoes Month, among others.
As positive as National Coming Out Day is, I do feel it rather misses the point and is, if I might suggest, dangerously mistimed. For those coming out into non-accepting, and or, hostile circumstances, coming out in October guarantees the newly emerged can spend the holiday season ostracized by those he or she was reaching out to. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's hard having a positive attitude after being disowned by family or friends.
A coming out day in June, on the other hand, would allow for beach parties, and other warm weather festivities such as the Pride Circuit, Lazy Bear weekend, and the Folsom Street Fair. Such events go a long way in balancing out any negativity that might result from your new sexual identity. An older sibling damning you to Hell looses its sting when cushioned against the memory of some sweaty man on man monkey love, or an equally memorable Olivia Cruise.
That being said, how and when to come out of the proverbial closet is a personal decision, and should not be trivialized by a Hallmarkian calendar that puts the profound issues associated with gender orientation, on par with National Chili Month, National Cookie Month, and National Pork Month.
Established in 1987, National Coming Out Day demonstrates how far the GLBT community has come since it had its collective Coming Out riot of June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn. Recognized as the formative catalyst for the gay rights movement, the true legacy of Stonewall is that future generations will no longer require a closet to come out of. The fact that a national coming out day is still necessary, means we have a considerable way to go.
The questions before for many of us are ‘How can you come out when you were never in?' and most important, "How to avoid being forced into situational closets by fundamental-jihadists.
Losing ground, hard won by those who paved the way, is unthinkable. Yet, lose ground we do, every time a gay parent must fight to retain custody of a child, or when a soldier serving in Iraq is muzzled by the mendacity of Clinton's Don't Ask. Don't Tell policy.
As the Bush Administration continues to bury itself under mountains of debt and dishonesty, incompetence on every level, except environmental destruction and corrupt crony capitalism, will be answered with attacks on the GLBT community. If the gay community fails to stand up to the growing belligerence of scapegoat homophobia, attacks by the unchristian right will only increase in scope and potential threat.
Like unarmored Humvees, closets will not protect the timid from the ‘morality' bombs being dropped by Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps. The Bush Administration, so riddled with closeted commandoes, is also dangerous, self hate runs far deeper than your average bible-based bigotry.
Karl Rove for example.
Gays and Lesbians can no longer afford the luxury of closets, for anything other than wardrobes.
Come out, come out, where ever you are.