Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy National Coming Out Day!

October 11 is National Coming Out Day. Like many, I came out in stages—to friends first, my then-roommate, more friends and my parents within a three-year period, and then to my younger siblings a number of years later. It wasn't a surprise to most people (if any); what was a surprise is many people imagined I'd live a life of denial in order to pursue the "normal" path of marriage and children.

Looking back on that time in my life, I'm so glad to be where I am today. I've been with my partner for more than eight years and while I'm never quite where I want to be physically (and often professionally), I am very happy with who I am.

For those people coming out of the closet today, life is a bit easier and a bit harder all at once. A number of celebrities have come out in recent years, and public acceptance is much stronger than it has been. But of course, we still live in a society in which states have voted for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, gay people are bullied and beaten and killed simply for who they are, and conservative politicians routinely try to score points with their constituents by calling gay people everything from immoral to dysfunctional and everything in between.

At the end of the day, coming out needs to be your own personal choice. And know that when you're ready, there are so many people out there who will continue to love you for who you are. So take your time, but never be ashamed of yourself.

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