Let’s Talk About “Coming Out.”

It’s National Coming Out Day, so you may expect to see a blog about all the reasons that coming out is awesome. You may expect to see me encouraging people to come out en masse. But I am not going to do that.

Things I think:

It’s fucked up that there is pressure on queer people to “come out” regardless of what circumstances they are facing in their lives.

It’s fucked up that people are outed without their consent.

It’s fucked up that there is this idea that there is a state of “being in the closet” and being “out” as if they are two starkly different positions. People are very rarely “out” to everyone in their lives, and so it’s hard to distinguish what “out” really means.

I think it’s fucked up that coming out has been built up into this mandatory step in queer peoples’ lives, as if they can’t truly be queer until they start telling people.

You do NOT need to “come out” to be queer. If you identify as queer or lesbian or gay or pansexual or any of those other identities, then you are. And telling other people about that does not automatically make it any more legitimate.

Some people feel awesome after coming out.

For some people, coming out is really important, and it can be liberating.

Life can get a lot harder for some people when they come out.

Sometimes coming out is not in a person’s best interest, either because it could jeopardize their job, family relationships, or safety.

It can be really encouraging to have people around you come out, whether they are friends, family, or even celebrities. And that can lead to more “acceptance” (whatever that means) of queer people. And if you come out, you can in turn inspire people around you.

Here is what I ultimately think: only you are an expert in your life, and so you are the only person who should have ultimate say in the whens, hows, and whos of coming out. Some people will say that coming out is the biggest moment of being queer. I strongly disagree. I think that you can come to terms with being queer, love yourself as a queer person, and never tell another living soul. It’s all about what feels right for you, and you shouldn’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

– Jessica