5 Reasons I Came Out Online
In honor of #NationalComingOutDay, I want to share the five reasons I decided to come out online (and why maybe you should, too).
Congratulations to those who made the decision to share a part of themselves with on this day. Whether it was the first time or the 1,000th time, coming out can be anxiety-inducing and even a little bit awkward. On the other hand, it is often an empowering and defining moment for those entering the vibrant LGBTQ+ community. Many of us queer folks have grappled with the question — “Do I come out online?” Isn’t coming out face-to-face enough?
Let me first say: there is no right or wrong way to come out.
I acknowledge that as a cis-gender* white gay man living in Boston, I inhabit sociopolitical spaces where I am free to be vocal. Not all LGBTQ+ individuals have that same privilege (in fact, most don’t). Coming out is a powerful — and sometimes risky — political statement.
Given all that, here’s why I came out so publicly.
While I have been out to most of my friends and family since high school, I have never made a public declaration of who I choose to love. For the longest time I believed it wasn’t necessary — and part of me still thinks that. At 22 years old, I am proud of who I am and whom I love; making that fact public was a big step for my personal development.
For those who know me personally or professionally, I have never been shy about my dedication to human rights. LGBTQ+ equality is a cause dear to me, and I wanted those who have not come out yet to know that I understand. Here’s to hoping that maybe my words make someone else feel a little more at ease.
Fears about coming out are valid and please, please, please take your time and trust the process. Help is always available for those who need it, and I promise there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It really does get better.
As a millennial, I can attest to the desire for less socially-stringent work environments. Freedom for personal expression is a priority for adults who grew up in the age of social media. I see my online presence as an extension of myself and my professional, personal, and social spheres. With company culture high up on my priorities in a job search, I won’t work for a company that isn’t okay with who I am or talking about it.
This one applies to everyone — loving yourself is an ongoing process. It is imperative that you take time to stop, think, and reflect upon how far you’ve come. For me, sharing an update about my life online is a meaningful exercise. Five years ago I couldn’t have dreamed of writing this post to share with my professional network.
5. Closets Are For Clothes
I’m happy and ever-so proud to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Ideally one day we won’t have to “come out” anymore, as it will be normalized that some people have different gender identities and sexual preferences — with the legality to back it up. No one should fear violence or discrimination for expressing who they are. Until then, I will never stop advocating for Queer communities and spaces. In the words of UK-based LGBT equality charity Stonewall (and my former employer), together let’s strive for “acceptance without exception.”
*Cis-gender: denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity conforms with the gender that corresponds to their biological sex; not transgender.