Tons of rhetoric today about how “gay people are spreading” and how “everyone is gay”.
Some of that rhetoric is homophobic:
I don’t get this Transgender Bathroom Hysteria
We’ve been sharing bathrooms for decades already with Trans why is it a problem now?
— Unite & Resist (@mikeejoe) April 18, 2016
And some of it is not:
Is everyone gay now? I LIKED IT BETTER WHEN WE WEREN’T SO FASHIONALBE😡😕😑😯
— Kat Rubio (@KatalinaRubioso) October 11, 2018
(this one, jokingly, of course).
And who would have thought a whole queer human would get to post today.
Happy 30th Annual National Coming Out day to all my LGBTQ+ folks.
I am here as a Pansexual/Queer Non-binary human posting about all that good good gay.
But you see, with everything good and whole, can be a criticism. And within the balance of both, do we see the systems in which they operate, and the ways we navigate those spaces.
First, what is NCOD? In 1988: Robert Eichberg (who passed in the 90’s due to AIDS) and Jean O’Leary founded it. Click the year for more information.
Coming out in Media:
You all know the standard coming out story. A struggle, a tear, oh the fear, a strike, a fright, I wish I might…come out. Then…two words, dramatically uttered from their lips, amongst their parents…
Oh the shame. The anger. The tears, the drama. Granted, note: some coming out stories are very similar to the ones on TV; overall, each coming out story is unique. THAT’s the problem.
There’s room for ONE coming out narrative in the media: Pity. We pity the LGBTQ+ community. We pity their identity. When, in reality, that’s also the problem.
Bottom line: stop making carbon copy pity driven coming out stories. Our oppression and pain is not a platform for your hollywood profit.
Call it “being inclusive” all you want, hollywood, but how about having queer people write queer stories?
The Good NCOD has done:
NCOD has given so many folks a day to come out, if so they choose. This has given them an opportunity to reveal an identity they’ve likely kept closeted, or only revealed to a few folks. *note: coming out is a continuous process*
This expectation for coming out on NCOD can be especially harmful if you identify or are part of multiple marginalized identities. Also, the pressure to come out is especially prevalent on NCOD. Everyone on social media is doing it, why can’t you? And if you’re someone who can’t/it may not be safe for you to do so, this poses as problematic. There are various identities folks may identify with, and thus makes it unsafe; and this indirect shame can be further marginalizing, as it continues to push power structures of privilege within the LGBTQ+ community, further apart.
Pro Tips: This just comes along with being a good ally. Often times, if queer folks feel it may be unsafe to come out, they may choose to stay closeted. ALWAYS ask someone if they’re okay with you correcting their pronouns with other folks. Also, never offer someones identities. That’s not your story to tell (unless it’s, for example, an out celebrity).
Coming out is a privilege, and not everyone has that. NCOD has it’s ups and downs. Year 30, and still going strong. Happy NCOD to all by LGBTQ+ folks. Remember:
You do NOT have to come out to be valid.
You do NOT have to come out to be seen.
Your story does NOT have to be mainstream.
You do NOT have to come out if you don’t want to. You get to choose when and where. You are valid.
Click here for a list of celebrities who have come out in 20GAYTEEN so far.
This is @socialjusticesolidarity, gay all day every day, signing off~
7 thoughts on “#30 NCOD in 20GAYteen”
I personally do not believe that National Coming Out Day is necessary. The LGBTQA+ community is always saying that they want to just be accepted and be normal. Yet we still glorify this one specific day every year dedicated to screaming our sexualities. As a gay person myself I never felt the need to “come out”. I should add that I am from a very diverse, liberal area which probably played a role in this. Nonetheless, I never felt like making it a bog deal because…. IT’S NOT. The community preaches that we should not be treated differently for our sexuality and should not have to disclose our sexuality because straight people do not have to, yet we still have this day dedicated to doing the exact opposite. Do not get me wrong, I think it is wonderful that there is a day that gives some individuals the platform to express who they truly are safely but in my opinion it creates a bump in the road to normalizing the LGBTQA+ community.
I appreciate this comment and find it especially interesting in light of the Queer Studies class I’m taking this semester! While you’re absolutely correct that the whole premise of NCOD is contrary to normalizing other sexualities and genders, there are a whole host of people that would rather be publicly out and value days like this for more than just “expressing themselves.” Of course, people expressing themselves as different is likely a much bigger deal when they are, say, a lesbian who constantly gets asked by relatives if there are any boys she’s seeing, or when people’s families flat out refuse to acknowledge their gender. But all that aside, there are actually a lot of queer people(and I say queer intentionally, and *don’t* mean it as a synonym to LGBTQIA+) that do not value normalizing their identities or practices. Many theorists speak out *against* normalization and the creation of the “homonormative” (similar to the heteronormative, but gay) because even when gay becomes accepted as normal, the very binary discourse of normality dictates that something else must be “other,” “abnormal.” This new other, no longer “gay,” but maybe “genderfluid,” then becomes the new oppressed identity. The answer to this, according to some theorists, is to own the status of queer and abnormal, and thus the in-you-face screaming of sexualities, identities, and practices is part of an effort to wreck a system that says we must have binary categories of “normal” and “wrong.”
But your comment also calls attention to the fact that NCOD is typically thought of as something that normalizes marginalized identities by making them visible. You are absolutely right that it does not seem to serve this function as well as it might serve the queer aim to give a huge middle finger to the heteronormative system.
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I have many relatives that identify as a part of the LGBTQ+ community and I do not want to speak for them but I know that each and everyone of them has had a different experience coming out. For example something mentioned in the “final thoughts” was, “Coming out is a privilege, and not everyone has that” this stood out to me. My cousin is from Pakistan and he identifies as gay, he has told me that he had to wait until he came to the United states to come out. He feared his parents being ridiculed and that his family would be the victim of many crimes. The fact that many do not have the privilege to come out is something I don’t always think about and something that is very scary.
Wow, really love this post! I think there is good with NCOD as it can be seen as others are doing it so I can too and maybe not feeling alone. But, I completely see the other side to this you bring up and I think that it creates more marginalization. I am straight and I never had to verify or come out as straight, no one expects that because it is “normal”. Great post, thanks for sharing!