Culture / Life

National Coming Out Day: Telling Our Stories

medium_4762384399Today is National Coming Out Day (NCOD).  For 25 years now, October 11th has been celebrated as a day to celebrate those coming out or living lives openly as LGBT people.  For those of us who came out a while ago, NCOD might seem irrelevant to our current lives, but what is coming out?  It’s telling our stories.

Coming out and sharing all our stories allows us to live  whole, authentic, and honest lives.  It gives strength to others who haven’t been able to voice their story or are feeling alone.  It allows people to relate to us.  Even those who might not think we have a lot in common.  When people know someone who is LGBT they are more likely to support equality under the law.  It makes sense.

These are the reasons we tell our stories.  It’s no wonder we’ve built such a strong community, those of us who write, read, and share our stories online.  The sharing is certainly not limited to the LGBT community, but I think the queer parenting community is especially auspicious for this kind of story-swapping.  Parenthood can create its own kind of closet, where we find ourselves coming out all over again repeatedly.  On top of that, we have the added responsibility of modeling how we tell those  stories to our children.

I want to be deliberate about how I tell my (now our) story.  I want it to be without shame.  Without apology.  With inclusive language.  With love.  And it’s  helpful to me to write my story as a way to practice telling it.  It’s even more helpful to read others’ stories: to see the similarities and the differences.  I can borrow tips and learn from others’ mistakes.   I can share my own stumbles.

To this end – in celebration of NCOD, LGBT History month, and the value of those stories – this next week  VillageQ contributors will be sharing our coming out stories in a series we call “ VQ Comes Out.” Mine involves a super cute campus cop who swept me off my feet and fast-tracked me to a Women’s Studies major and campus LGBT group presidency. Curious? You’ll have to wait to next week to read it!

Meanwhile: have you seen HRC’s powerful NCOD video?

For a little bit more about Jay’s story you can check out his Huffington Post article.


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