It is National Coming Out Day and Rob Watson pens a letter to the Heterosexual and Cis-gendered population. Here is why you need to care about what is happening with your fellow citizens on this day, a day that can or has changed their lives.
Dear Heterosexual, Cisgendered People,
Today is National Coming Out Day. I know this does not mean a lot to most of you, nor should it.
You have been able to take for granted that you could be who you are, and you have been able to take that for granted your entire life. Sure, you have had secrets and have revealed or kept them, some of them big harsh secrets. The majority of you have not had the world tell you to take the core of your dreams, your hopes, your every truly romantic feeling and your real vision of family and hide it away. You have been allowed, and more than that – encouraged, to be yourself and be the best of you that you can be. That is how it should be.
I am not going to use the word “privilege” for it. If I did so, it would make hiding and living inauthenticly as “the norm.” It isn’t, and should not be. What you have experienced should be the life experience for everyone.
That is not how it has been for almost any of the LGBT people you know.
Today is National Coming Out Day. Here is my suggestion, and request. Take fifteen minutes and think on your marriages, your relationships, your most tender romance, your social life, the looks on your friends and families faces when you announced your engagement. Think of that moment when you realized you were in love and the person loved you back.
Think of the moment you showed off your gender identity. The event where you dressed and presented as the person you knew yourself to be, and the path of life you were declaring. Think about all who thought the real you was great.
Now ponder what it would feel like to be asked to make all of that a deathly secret, hide it away, and cloak it in shame. If you do, you may have a sense of what the closet is like, and how it is less “a closet” and more a “dungeon” that some do not survive.
Two years ago, I wrote a public letter to my sons. The point of that letter was the wish that they would never have to “come out” about who they are. I want for those who still have to come out, in order to be who they are fully, the safety to do so, and to have the potential for the best life possible when they do.
What can you do today? Be open. Be open, so closet doors of others can open and you can lend an outstretched hand to those within. If you live in the United States with its recent expansion of marriage equality, you can be even more open and supportive so that others can achieve the same level of family responsibility that you have.
Those who vote against Marriage Equality are afraid. I get that. They are afraid that by letting others live fully, they will somehow be threatened, be less valued or be diminished. That is not true. Heterosexual people are not limited resources with finite compassion to share in doled out amounts. You are a spiritual force. The principle of Love is that the more you give away, the more of it you have.
Give. On this day, give. Your acceptance is a boom-a-rang that will not only touch someone else’s world, it will make yours even better.
Photo: Flickr/Yanni Ratafkis