I want to offer a short note of encouragement today. As a heterosexual man, I have never had to come out as LGBTQ to my family or friends. As an ally, I continue to do as much as I can to learn and understand how difficult the process is; and although I can never understand it entirely, I know it’s one of the hardest things a person must do. National Coming Out Day just passed, and as I read through the posts and articles, I was moved to write an encouraging word to those dealing with alienation, guilt, and fear over revealing their sexual orientation or gender identity to those closest to them.
There is a large community of LGBTQ people and Allies to surround you with positivity and affirmation should you need it. The feelings of isolation associated with revealing such a deeply personal aspect of your identity need not overtake you. We are here. We love you. We accept you. We celebrate the freedom that comes with telling the world “this is who I am.” With each new person who digs deep and finds the courage to come out, the world changes for the better. You are important. You matter. Many in the LGBTQ community have been where you are, they understand what you are experiencing. The Allied community stands firm with them, and we offer support in every way that we can. For my part, I fight the religious foundations of anti-LGBTQ bigotry because you shouldn’t have to. You deserve the opportunity to own your identity, free of ridicule or condemnation. Nobody has the right to deny you that.
To those struggling with the isolation, ridicule, contempt, and scorn of others either before or during the coming out process, I wish with every fibre of my being that I could take your pain away. Unfortunately, all I can do is offer my undying support and encouragement. The alienation, guilt, and fear will eventually pale in comparison to the confidence and gifts that you will be able to share with the world. Owning one’s identity is a powerful thing. Take it, it belongs to you. If you fall, we are here to help you up. If you cry, we will lend a shoulder. If you celebrate, we will celebrate with you. If you fight, we are by your side. This is your journey … but you don’t have to take it alone.