Monday, October 11, 2010

Four Years Later: National Coming Out Day

Today is National Coming Out Day and exactly 4 years ago, I worked up the courage to, not just come out of the closet, but to come out very publicly as gay to the entire university community at Azusa Pacific University, one of the largest evangelical Christian universities in the United States.

Four years later, yes my life is better, but that is not the message I want to convey to queer individuals that are struggling to break their way out of the closet today.
I have been resisting participating in Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project, which basically asks that folk make a YouTube to tell queer youth that, well, “It Gets Better.” I still won’t be making a video to participate in that project, because a large part of me doesn’t believe in that message. What that message says to me is: toughen up and deal with the bullying, because someday (not sure when, but someday) it will get better.

My life got better because I left Azusa Pacific University. My life got better because I ran away from the church that exorcised me in hopes of ‘curing’ my homosexuality. For too many of us, things get better because we go into exile—because we walk away from the families and towns and churches that have wounded us. But when you walk away, you allow queer people to remain defeated and enable the tragic violence against queers to continue.

As we celebrate National Coming Out Day today, and observe the conquest of two continents, I wholeheartedly believe that we should be proud of queerness. For those of us that are in a position of privilege because we can be out of the closet and speak loudly about our homosexuality/bisexuality/trans-identity, today lets shove that queerness in the public’s face. Visibility is important in defeating homophobia and anti-gay (trans) bullying.

Instead of telling young queer people that “it gets better,” I want stress to them that sometimes it doesn’t get better. And for that reason, they shouldn’t just endure bullying and look towards a day when we can join hand-in-hand, gays and straights, singing “We Are Family.” Instead, they should act up, disrupt the heterosexist status quo, get angry, burn something, have sex, be the best queer you can possibly be!

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