BY THEA RICHINSON
Hi all! Today, Oct 11, is National Coming Out Day! There are a few things I would like to say about this day as a disclaimer to everyone in the LGBTQ+ community and allies.
First, do not “out” people. Outting is when you tell other people that a certain person is queer without that person’s permission. If people don’t want to be “out” because it’s unsafe for them, they’re not ready or they just don’t want to, please show them respect and do not out them. Outting your friends or people you know can put them in danger or make them uncomfortable and that’s not very cool. What’s cool to do is loving your friends and letting them come out, or not, when they feel ok to do so.
Second, do not feel pressured to come out! If you’re in the closet you do not have to come out! Please don’t put yourself in danger if you feel like you’re not ready to tell everyone. Being “in the closet” is fine; there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it! If you’re unsure about yourself or just not ready to let everyone know, that’s totally fine and up to you. Think about your comfort zone and limits; respect yourselves and keep yourselves safe.
Lastly, if you’re not part of the LGBTQ+ community, please do not come out as a joke. It is only ever harmful to the queer community and can make closeted and out people alike feel like your punchline. I love jokes and puns, but using someone’s sexuality or gender as the brunt of your joke is toxic and mean and not what anyone wants to hear on any given day.
Also, as an aside, I would like to further say that if you are already out and feel that your labels aren’t quite fitting the way they used to, feel free to change them! Things can change and you’re not a bad person for changing your pronouns, orientation or expression once or multiple times. Label yourself as you see fit; labels are there to have an idea of how you feel and are not always set in stone. Don’t be afraid to not know either! That’s why there are labels like “queer”, “trans*”, “non-binary”, “fluid” and so on. The most important thing in your life shouldn’t have to be finding the perfect label, (though it can be nice); it’s loving yourself. Be proud!
National Coming Out Day started 29 years ago to help fight for equality, and here at Milton District, we pride ourselves on being diverse and accepting of people from all backgrounds and identities. Have a wonderful Coming Out Day and stay fabulous!