In 10 years, will kids still have to come out?
Recently, my dad told me he thought the Gay Pride was a provocation. I’m guessing he pictures a bunch of sissies with pink crop tops on rainbow trucks and aggressive leather-clad butches on bikes.
He said we didn’t need it anymore. After all, gay marriage is legal (in some countries), and queer couples can live in peace (in big cities).
I don’t blame him, he’s a white male in his 60s. He doesn’t realize what it means to be queer, what it takes to come out. But he was also partially right.
We’ve come a long way
Yesterday, I was reading a great graphic novel, Fun Home, a story of coming of age when you’re different and of raising a family when you’re closeted.
The story takes place in the late 70s in a provincial American town. The dad is gay but born in the 30s in a small town. He hid his feelings and attractions his whole life, and grew completely dysfunctional. This led to a whole lot of family misery, and finally to his suicide.
At the same time, his daughter was struggling to realize she was a lesbian. In her world, in the 70s, lesbians did not exist. She had to go to university to hear the word ‘lesbian’ for the first time, she didn’t even see dykes looking slight dykes in the streets.
Fast forward: we’re in 2016, gay marriage is legal in most western countries, and in most European cities, no one at work will care if you’re out. To be fair, I often forget how recent this whole situation is, it feels so normal.
And yet, I remember being a teen and trying to understand who I was.
The only lesbians I heard of or seen were masculine sport teachers and truck-drivers, nothing I could rely to. There were no lesbians on tv — the L Word was out but how could I have watched it if I didn’t know where to look? There were almost no openly-gay public figures, especially female, especially feminine.
How could I put a word on what I was going through? How could I understand my feelings? How could I know I was not alone? How could I connect with people who felt the same?
And I’m not even talking about bi visibility. Bisexual was just an empty shell, nobody was actually bi.
Luckily, there was the pride, that one moment in the year where we could see from afar all those queer people being queer, loud and proud.
As far as I remember, I’ve been defending LGBT rights. But it took me 20 years to realize I was LGBT.
This is when it changes
I feel so jealous when I think of teens growing up watching amazing shows like Glee or Modern Family, seeing queers on tv, hearing about queer CEOs and politicians (some surprisingly conservative and intolerant- but why wouldn’t they be?).
They can easily rely to at least one fictional or real-life queer person, and know that they’re not alone, that it’s alright.
Being queer is not a disease to them, it’s an option they grow up aware of.
I’m so amazed by the ease at which any kid can find answers to their questions online.
What if we were the last generation for whom coming out was a thing?
What if our kids won’t even have to come out because they will understand who they are as they grow up?
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