Come Out Come Out Wherever You Are?!
Most of us would agree Coming Out as LGBTQIA+ is a deeply personal decision. Moreover that everyone has a right to personal privacy, dignity & choice as regards this process.
Coming out is a complex & risky business.
Where we are required to weigh up factors such as personal safety, reactions of family & friends, work & housing security to name just a few.
These considerations illustrate starkly, that there is still a long way to go, for full equality & integration in our society.
LGBTQIA+ folx are still even now a minority group. Much has been achieved through decades of the blood, sweat & tears of activism, but we are not there yet.
So the joyous battle cry to Come Out!! as the title to this article suggests. Also can inadvetantly weigh heavy on those, whose circumstances or inner process, are not ready to do so just yet.
I love to see the supportive posts from inside our community that soothe & reassure those, not yet positioned to come out, on our National Coming Out days.
So that those folx feel included & respected that their time will come & that they are loved & held in the meantime.
It's important to recognise there are times in people's lives, when it is not safe or advisable to come out yet.
This could be due to mental health considerations, or other general life stressors bereavement, redundancy, ill health, family pressures etc.
Recent high profile "comings out" within our community acknowledged by the mainstream media culture, often fail to appreciate the journey before releasing the "news."
For many of us it's years in the making, as we wade through our own coming in process, this can be a lonely isolating experience in itself.
Those months & years of gradual & often quite painful self awareness, as we shift through the layers of denial.
We also have to work through our own internalised homophobia, queerphobia, or transphobia which have been absorbed through misrepresentation, family system prejudice or our cultural systems.
So much so it has become deeply ingrained, into our hearts, minds & nervous systems.
Once we have got through that, many of us then find ourselves weighing up, if it's worth the cost. Unfortunately still there is more often than not, a cost attached to coming out. It may be circumstantial or reactions of work environments, colleagues, family friends & neighbours.
Or perhaps our own inner discomfort of fear & shame, that therapy can greatly assist in buffering, to a less excruciating & more manageable degree.
The wonder of Coming Out after all the aforementioned struggle & difficulty is the freedom it creates. Freedom from the fear of being exposed, found out, or outed before you are ready.
As a recent high profile YouTuber Nikki Tutorials can attest & many others. However outing can & still does occur & when it does it threatens to engulf LGBTQIA+ folx.
Whether that be speculation in the workplace with the prevailing attitude of "we always knew" or "you can always tell" which has had a startling resurgence in recent times.
Or questionable motives from ex partners or disgruntled colleagues, there is a constant fear of foreboding for those not yet out.
In Coming Out we take back our power, our freedom, & our voices, to make the statement in whatever form we choose, most importantly on our own terms.
This is followed by a space of great vulnerability, will our respective support networks catch us or leave us out to dry?
More often than not these days LGBTQIA+ folx are afforded support & love to differing extents within & outside of our community.
Those that provide this in even the smallest of ways, offer a potential life saving safety net to catch LGBTQIA+ people at their most vulnerable.
This can buffer the gaping silences that all too often speak a thousand words, in response to whatever form our Coming Out process takes.
It is of course a lifetimes work every new job, new home, new friendship group requires a coming out. Simply to counter the assumptions of the cishet normative narrative, that largely defines mainstream society.
So by all means Come Out, Come Out, Wherever you are!! But only if you are ready, willing, able & safe to do so at this time.
If not we your community will love you regardless & hold space until you are ready ❤️🏳️🌈.
Therapist Writer & Creator