Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

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About Tom Hill

Tom Hill is a gay man in long term recovery from addiction. He is Director of Programs at Faces & Voices of Recovery, community organizer, and artist.


  1. James Leahy says:

    While I initially thought the idea of ‘coming out’ as a recovering addict, I find one of the sentences in this article troubling.

    “Coming out as a gay man or woman may continue to carry personal risk, but one thing is clear: visibility has greatly reduced the stigma of living openly.”

    The problem I have with this statement is this: WHO’s stigma has been reduced? Wrestling with this question almost, as you described for Ms. Peck, undermines your credibility. I say this because to the average critical reader, it appears that for the white gay man who has a great support system, and access to resources — coming out COULD reduce the stigma. But about people of color? Or people without resources or a support system? What is the payoff to reducing stigma when you could face real violence or abandon?

    I’m not sure the recovering addict should follow the gay playbook, at least not play-by-play at the risk of a silly analogy. There are bits and pieces that seem to be helpful, but there are definitely pitfalls to avoid.

    • James, I found your comment “for the white gay man… coming out COULD reduce the stigma. But about people of color?”, very troubling. For some reason or another you seem to be under the impression that there aren’t any LGBT persons of “color” who have a positive support system available and are under more threat of violence than “white” men or women. This is very untrue where I come from and frankly quite ignorant. Also, I think the whole point of Tom Hill’s comment on reduced stigma was not necessarily about family and friends, but to the communities as a whole there is wider acceptance and for all the openly LGBT men and women who are rejected by their families and friends, there is a community waiting to accept them with open and loving arms. My best friend, who by-the-way is a WHITE MALE is not only gay, but has received nothing but gross rejection from his Mormon family, which rejection has lead him towards heroin, meth and other hard-core drugs to deal with this rejection. Not only has he struggled to be open about his homosexuality, but he is horribly ashamed of his drug use. Regardless of the support from some of his friends to be open and stay away from drugs and despite two years in rehab, he still struggles. If only there was a community ready to accept OPENLY recovering drug-addicts with open and loving arms. A community who separates the stigma of homosexuality from drug use. FYI, my homosexual brother has been in a relationship with no less than five “colored” men who received support and love from their family and friends when they came out. Of course this resulted in jealousy from my “white male” brother who has been practically disowned from some of my family, but I think you get my point. :)

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