Our country feels very different than it did a year ago on the last National Coming Out Day, when the prospect of an LGBTQ-friendly president was still possible. Now, however, the day feels even more like a time for activism and resistance.
As Harvey Milk said, “Coming out is the most political thing you can do.” It is also, of course, one of the most personal. And while some of us may be out to a degree that lets us feel comfortable joining resistance marches, calling our elected officials, or writing op-eds to our local papers, others of us may not. As parents, we may fear the loss of a job that feeds our kids or worry that our kids will be bullied or harassed because of their parents. We may worry about being turned away by child service agencies. Personal and family safety and security is vital, and I cannot tell anyone to ignore that.
At the same time, being out in a way that is “political” doesn’t not necessarily mean a making grand public gesture. It may simply involve coming out to a relative or neighbor and perhaps changing their mind about LGBTQ people, or at least causing them to pause and think before pulling the lever for an anti-LGBTQ politician in the next election. And being out may mean we find allies we never knew we had, allies who may provide us and our children with needed emotional and/or political support in the current era.
Those of us who are able to be safely out in a more public way, though, need to do so doubly for those who cannot. We need to set examples of self-confidence and self-worth for our own children and for the next generation of LGBTQ people. We need to lend our queer voices to the intersecting struggles of other marginalized groups. We need to let the current federal administration (and many of our state administrations) know that the more they try to deny us equality and push us back into the closet, the more we will burst out. Rainbows are made from visible light.
For some resources on coming out and being out as an LGBTQ parent, see my National Coming Out Day post from 2015.