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Coming Out Day

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I wrote an entry here for National Coming Out Day way back in 2002, and most of what I wrote then is still true now.

I'm more out now, as bi and poly, than I was then. I think most of my co-workers who have any interest in my outside-of-work life probably know (and some of them read this; hi, all!), and I finally wrote a coming-out letter to my family a couple years back.

But as I wrote in that old entry, “coming out is a process, not an event; there'll always be more to do.”

Various friends noted this morning that coming out as queer is particularly important now, in light of the recent spate of kids committing suicide after being on the receiving end of anti-gay bullying. I agree; I think that more people coming out makes the world a better place, for all sorts of reasons. It reduces the amount of lying people to have to do; it lets people who are isolated see that they're not alone; it makes it harder to claim that GLBT people are weird deviants living on the fringes of society.

(The other day, I watched a video segment online of Ellen DeGeneres talking with Anderson Cooper about the bullying thing. And I couldn't help thinking that if Cooper really is gay, as is very widely rumored and fairly widely believed to be true, then he could do a lot more good by publicly saying so than he does by skirting around the question while he talks about the importance of stopping bullying. (See also the May 2007 Out article “The Glass Closet.”) I don't like the idea of outing people who aren't ready to be out (and I wouldn't do that to Cooper if the idea that he's gay weren't so widespread), but I do wish more high-profile well-respected closeted people would choose to come out.)

I've been really pleased with the videos I've seen from the It Gets Better project. (The first one, from Dan Savage and his partner Terry, made me cry.) Me, I had it easy; I didn't understand that I was bi until post-college, and although I was certainly teased a fair bit (and bullied once in a while), it wasn't for that, and it was never all that bad. So I don't feel like I'm the right person to say from my own experience that it gets better, but I'm really glad that all those other people have posted videos saying so. I hope that kids who need to see those videos see them, and that the videos save some lives.

Another group that's saving lives is The Trevor Project, which is “determined to end suicide among LGBTQ youth by providing life-saving and life-affirming resources including our nationwide, 24/7 crisis intervention lifeline.” The front page of their site currently features a good video of Chris Colfer (who plays Kurt on Glee) talking about being bullied.

If you're not up for making an It Gets Better video, or if you don't have a relevant story of your own, consider donating to the Trevor Project, as I've just done. Consider it a Coming Out Day present to LGBTQ kids who need help.

1 Comment

Jed, I figured I'd do this in public.

I was deeply disturbed by the death of Tyler Clementi when it hit the news a few weeks ago. It is not often that events in the news cause me to look at myself in the mirror and wonder if I was wanting in some regard.

Of course I am. We've had our differences. However, I conflated personal problems which are not related to you and resorted to bullying, name calling and worse over my time on the internet.

My behavior was wrong. I suspect I knew it at the time but I was too angry to see or acknowledge it.

I owe you an apology for my conduct. I expect nothing in return nor do I ask anything in return. The only thing I will promise is that I will try to adjust my behavior accordingly in the future.

Jed, I am deeply sorry for any pain, discomfort or harm I may have caused you.

I will promise to do the best I can in the future.

Thank you for your time.

Steven Francis Murphy
North Kansas City, Missouri

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