October 11, 2010

Coming Out Day!

I always have mixed feelings about National Coming Out Day. I mean, I like to think I'm pretty damn out. (I can't imagine anyone who reads this would be shocked to find that I like girls.) But do I really have to put up a dorky Facebook status once a year, just in case anyone missed the memo?

Not that I don't think people should come out. But really, what do I gain from saying it? I go to a super gay-friendly school, where it's pretty much a non-issue, and I've always pretty much known that my family would be supportive. Coming out in high school was scary, but I don't really know anyone who got teased or kicked out of their homes or anything, except for a few vague stories from people I only sort of knew...

And yet...

Three of my four grandparents are on Facebook. And aunts and uncles, and employers, and teachers. Is that really a place I want to announce "Katie Casey is gay"? Not that it doesn't say that on my profile, but I was surprised that typing it made me nervous, even though it felt like a silly and unnecessary gesture.

So this is what I ended up posting:

Katie Casey is gay. Happy National Coming Out Day, everyone! :D Straight allies, you should come out, too! We need you guys, especially with all the depressing news lately!

By the time I got home this evening, I had 19 "likes" on my status, and a bunch of my friends had posted their own statuses: "______ is a straight ally who supports LGBT equality. Happy National Coming Out Day!"

Other highlights included:
"I love love. Happy Coming Out Day!"
"_______ is not even the littlest bit gay But he loves and supports you all, whatever your orientation or preference!"
"I promise you, it gets better. Happy coming out day!"
"_______ is straight, and an ally. Happy National Coming Out Day, and please know that there is always someone here to support you, no matter what."

And all of that made me feel rather warm and fuzzy. And I wonder, if I get nervous putting something like that on my Facebook, in my perfectly safe and accepting community; and if I feel so good seeing how supportive my friends are, even though I knew that already; how much more does it mean to someone who's not sure they want to come out?

We've been hearing about suicide after suicide lately of kids bullied for being gay, and surely for every story that makes the news there are a dozen kids feeling scared to come out because they're not sure how people would react. For all I know, one of my classmates or someone reading here could be queer and feeling unhappy about it, and maybe they saw all those statuses and felt a little bit better.

It feels silly to announce it on Facebook, but it means a lot. Hope everyone has a fabulous Coming Out Day!


Anonymous said...

You are a beautiful, brave, and amazing young lady! Happy Coming Out Day to you!!

Mom said...

I love you!!