Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Open up that October door!

(photo by Kate Northern; used
with permission)

It's the most wonderful time of the year in my house.

Halloween ... and National Coming Out Day!

I remember a time in the 80's when there was a big hub-bub in our little town over Halloween. A group of people became very vocal about the dark side of the holiday and were pushing parents to stop participating in the costumes and the trick-or-treating. Of course, my friends were the ones showing up at school with the "Save Halloween!" shirts. I did not wear one. I had already gotten my pastor-father in enough trouble a few years before wearing giant peace sign earrings. Did you know that meant I was walking around displaying broken crosses on my ears? Mm hmm. So obviously I was all about the satanic juju. Not peace.

Whatever. Let's be honest. I was all about Madonna.

I now love the ying and yang that October holds. One holiday built around dressing up, and another around being fully and authentically yourself. Both have a history of some voices protesting.

I became much more public and vocal about my support for equal rights, before I ever had any idea that my family would end up as a giant bowl of the alphabet soup.(side note for later viewing: it's all so much more beautifully complex than simply your orientation!) In fact, I began to be so vocal and so supportive that many people assumed I was most likely a closeted lesbian. Like ... many. Or several? Not sure the exact number, but I have most definitely had more than two people address it with me head on. I actually found myself in an argument with a woman one day over my orientation. Really.

Now, I do absolutely understand that there are some people who talk about this subject very openly to vet the people around them and determine who will be a safe place. That is true, and thankfully becoming less of a necessity as our society shifts. I also discovered there is sometimes a reaction that is meant to instill fear. "If you keep talking about it so much, people are going to assume you are gay!"

To which I would say, "Actually, I think you meant to say they will assume I am a sexual minority." *smiley face*

Alright. So, why did I start to talk so openly and fervently about equal rights, gay marriage, love and acceptance for all people regardless of their sex/orientation/gender/attraction? Why would I put myself out there like that not even knowing at that time that my own family represented the entire spectrum?

Because people.

I knew a lot of people. I saw a lot of pain. I experienced what it was to be a safe place. I saw the beauty and hope in being a part of the support network to help a human fully embrace who they are without shame. I understand it. I do not land perfectly within a black-and-white construct of attraction. And in my teeny tiny little corner of this, I found it confusing and I questioned whether or not it was safe to say that to anyone in my life.

Teeny tiny.

I saw what it was like for those who weren't landing in a teeny tiny corner as far as society was concerned. I would not allow them to stand alone. I want to stand with them.

Because people.

"Many of you may be offended by all of this, I fully realize. I know this may be especially true if you are a religious person; one who finds the whole topic disgusting. 
As you’ve been reading, you may have been rolling your eyes, or clicking the roof of your mouth, or drafting familiar Scriptures to send me, or praying for me to repent, or preparing to Unfriend me, or writing me off as a sinful, evil, Hell-bound heretic… but with as much gentleness and understanding as I can muster; I really couldn’t care less. 
This isn’t about you. This is a whole lot bigger than you." - John Pavlovitz

I have had people write me because I am the only person they know, for sure, in their world who is a safe space. I will take the negative reactions. The comments meant to induce fear. I will take it so others do not stand alone. My experience is nothing - nothing - compared to the confusion and pain that far too many people continue to experience.

I am proud to stand in the alphabet soup. If you do not feel safe and supported to Come Out on October 11, or ever ... that is cool. I've got your back. I celebrate you. Fully. Completely. From right here.


daciab said...

LOVE this! It is so similar to my story. I wrote an article "What it is like to be homosexual on our campus" at my small Iowa Methodist College. So of course, everyone thought I was gay. That was news to my male fiance. :-) Although, I think I scare him sometimes with my love for all people. :P

Vince Giordano said...

So, wait! I know you are not gay BUT Are you a lesbian or not?!?


Mama Bear said...

Well said, thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

You're not my only safe space, but I am happy to know some of my moms friends who've become my friends are safe and all about the queer stuff....for i myself am queer, both in gender and in sexuality and it's confusing and kinda alonesome when family doesn't verbally support. thanks.

tammie reid said...