October 11 marks National Coming Out Day. For those of you who had any questions regarding my sexual orientation, allow me to put all questions to rest. I’m a very proud gay man. One might ask, so what? Why announce it? Why do I insist on being so visible? Why do we need a National Coming Out Day?
I cannot underscore enough the importance of being out and visible. The more visible we are as a community, the more difficult it is to marginalize us and treat us as sub-human, or second class citizens, denied over 1,300 rights that our heterosexual brothers and sisters are granted just for being heterosexual. In the middle of my teaching career, I helped to start the Atlanta Girls’ School in Atlanta, Georgia. I made a very conscious decision that I would be out and not hide my sexual orientation. All of the faculty met my husband and many of the students met him at school picnics and other school family functions. I can’t tell you how rewarding it has been to hear from some of those young women now how it important it was to them to see me, their teacher, as an openly gay person. Many of those young women are now champions and allies of the LGBT community.
In this current political climate, where we have a host of presidential candidates signing a pledge to discriminate against the LGBT community and more LGBT teen suicides, it is imperative that we make ourselves visible and demand to be treated with dignity and equality. Even if this post only inspires just one person to come out to one person, it has been a success.