Why I'm Out

Posted on 7 December 2010

I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We've been taught that silence would save us, but it won't.
--Audre Lorde

I've always liked that quote. Can't say I know a whole lot about it's context, but it's stuck with me for a while. (hey, I at least looked up who Audre Lorde is!)

There's this idea that hiding your sexuality, hiding who you are, can provide a shelter for you. If nobody knows what you really are, it can provide you some relief, to be able to pass as normal. And in some cases it may make sense to stay in the closet. A teenager dependant on her homophobic parents, for instance.

But that comes at a heavy cost. It's a huge facade to put up. It takes a tremendous amount of energy. You can't quite bury it, your guard has to always be up. And while you hope that it never crosses anyone else's mind, your sexuality and how to hide it is constantly at the forefront of your own thought process. It's no small burden.

Since I was in high school I've been out in as many places as I've been able to muster up the courage for. First my parents, then a close group of school friends. Finally the high school swim team (ya, that was an interesting practice...). And today, most of my family, my cow-orkers. I don't think I've been in the closet to someone I've considered a friend in more than 6 years.

The more we're visible, the more we're normalized, the more everyone is empowered to be who they are. The more other gays or kinks can be who they are. The more everyone can play with their own perceived gender boundaries.

Whenever possible I wear my gear right out to the bar (decency and weather permitting, of course). Maybe someone who thought they were a freak for wanting to wear that will see, and be empowered. It's this visibility that will really protect us.

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