To The FemmeMobile! Away!











{October 13, 2010}   National Coming Out Day: Some Thoughts

So, G had a post on Nat’l Coming Out Day, and in my response to it… I realized I’d made a blog post. What can I say? G’s post got me thinking!

The thing that really got me going on G’s post was this:

One of the issues I faced before coming out was the attitudes of my LGBT peers who had already come out and were pressuring me to do the same. I didn’t feel like I was in a position to do so, and I was downright scared to do it. But instead of feeling supported and understood, I caught a lot of grief for it. “Who cares about your friends? They’re not real unless they accept you” and “Screw what your family thinks!” were two common sentiments expressed to me, and let me tell you – those didn’t help ease my anxiety about it. And wouldn’t you know it … when I did come out, those friends were not there to support me.

You know, I’m reminded suddenly of weight loss. Wait wait, this will make sense. My older sister is active in… um, I don’t really know what they’re called, to be honest. Accepting yourself for what you are, regardless of your weight. One of the things I’ve learned from her is that shaming people into losing weight doesn’t work. In fact, it makes people feel worse, and then they are stressed (which will make them retain weight) and probably not eating well or exercising, because what’s the point if you’re being judged as stupid, unworthy, ugly, etc anyway? Our society teaches us that shame is the way to make people behave, but it really just causes more problems.

This story of friends who say, “Screw your family!” and act like you MUST come out reminds me of this. We shame people into coming out, because if they don’t they’re part of the problem. But you know what works in weight loss situations? Telling people they’re beautiful, worthy, amazing just as they are. If they want to lose weight, that’s just fine, but as they are they’re amazing, incredible, wonderful, lovely people. In showing support and love, those people who do need a lifestyle change are able to gain the courage and help they need to do it (because, let’s face it, it’s hard).

Maybe, rather than telling people they need to come out because otherwise they’re part of the problem, we should tell them that whatever they choose, we’re there to support them. That they’re wonderful people just as they are.

My sister has taught me that the only healthy weight is not the stick figure we see on TV, but whatever your body functions best at when you live in a healthy lifestyle. Maybe the only healthy LGBTQ members are not the ones who’ve already come out, but also those who need to stay in the closet now, whether or not we agree or understand why. Maybe our job is to support, no matter what they’re doing, and in doing so help give them the love and courage they need  so that they can do whatever it is they need to do.

Not that I don’t like Nat’l Coming Out Day. Just… maybe not everyone needs to do it. Or maybe we need to focus on so much on coming out, but on supporting those who haven’t or aren’t ready, making the holiday more a day of love and helpfulness rather than pressure (I’d like to think it’s not about pressure, but from what I can tell it totally is). For those who find it helpful — hooray! Go for it. 🙂 I came out on my dog training blog, since everyone else knows. Heh. Too bad my clients don’t actually read my dog training blog… 😉

J

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G says:

Lovely post! And I agree, completely. For me, I couldn’t come out until I felt safe, and that was something peer pressure couldn’t really fix, you know? Anyway, I think you’re spot on with your observations. Shaming someone into a behavior never gets rid of the shame, I’ve found.

And I don’t have an issue with NCOD; I think it just has lost its focus from that of being supportive to that of, as you said, a “If you’re not out, you’re part of the problem” mentality.

Thanks for this!



Marste says:

I LOVE YOU.

Also, I never think I’m all that smart until I see myself somewhere else. 😉

Also, you should know that you are lovely and perfect, in confusion and in certainty.

Also, I think I got through to Mom this weekend on this very subject, which means that I HAVE NEWS.

YOU NEED TO CALL ME.

OR I NEED TO CALL YOU.

I’m not sure which. ;D

Ha!

PS – I ALSO love leaving slightly (yet not at all really) cryptic notes on your various blogs.)

(PPS – I’m just saying.)



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