On the 30th Anniversary of National Coming Out Day, Georgina reflects on what it means to talk about your sexuality.
Coming out is not a one-time affair.
As much as I wish it was sometimes; I find myself coming out to people every day. I am proud of my sexuality, but sometimes I wish it was a tattoo I had on my forehead, so people could simply see it and deal with it. Occasionally on bad days I feel like it’s there already and I have no choice but to just live on, despite whispered comments and sideways glances.
As a cisgender, white female I speak from a place of bountiful privilege. Hence, what I say may not apply to everyone, but this is for all my fellow LGBTQIA+ people.
I came out to my parents in the not so distant past and, whilst we had all gently mused about the idea of someone in the family being gay, in whatever term it may be, I didn’t immediately realize it was me. I was lucky; my mum reacted well and fought against her Catholic shame and generational prejudices and she hugged me whilst I cried in the car, telling me nothing would ever change how she felt about me. My dad’s reaction was not so good – we talked, explained and cried a bit. Eventually however, he began to understand. I know he loves me, and he knows I love him. I was lucky. Some people aren’t. I am lucky in that my coming out does not involve my banishment from my home, or death, in extreme cases. I am lucky because whilst my parents grew up in a world where the AIDS epidemic was in full swing and gay people were the end of the world, they learnt from that and continued to love the gay community, and as a result, to love me more as well.
We are strong, we are resilient, and we are gay as shit.
Coming out is not a one-time affair; it is the every day. As university term resumes I want to encourage everyone, no matter who you may be, to be honest with yourself and with others. It may not be easy and it may not be nice, but it is brave, and nobody can take that away from you.
I am gay and I love myself for it. I love that I am part of a community that has thrived throughout adversity, prejudice, and hate crimes. We are strong, we are resilient, and we are gay as shit. Here’s to another fantastic year; hopefully one day, coming out won’t feel momentous and scary and potentially dangerous. I mean hell we’re even allowed to get married now – what’s fucking stopping us?
Georgina Fuhri Snethlage