October is a wonderful month to be prideful as it houses both National Coming Out Day which is on October 11th along with LGBTQIA+ history month. Obviously, this is one of my favorite months!
Although the celebration of coming out is one that is meant to give thoughts of hope, promise, and progression, it can be the single most fearful point in an LGBTQIA+ person’s life. The societal stigma that still engulfs same gender attraction or transgender considerations still casts a shadow over this process. Here are a few takeaways as it relates to coming out:
Coming out is a choice.
Many times, we believe that because we can assume the sexuality or gender of the person, it is our job to either acknowledge to them that they are LGBTQIA+ or to “out”them ourselves. There are many people that choose to keep their sexuality or gender to themselves. This could be because of religion, familial background, culture, race or just simply because it is their business. Some LGBT people haven’t even had the experience or the acknowledgement themselves to be able to formally identify it within and surely can’t articulate it outwardly.
People can have the freedom to experience life without societal norms.
Before blue was for boys and pink was for girls, even before heels and wigs were for men, there were societal norms. I get it: there is an expectation to live within the confines that society places us in. Well, maybe that’s your expectation for yourself; still that doesn’t have to be the expectation for anyone else. There are all kind of labels inside the LGBTQIA+ acronym, but just because one doesn’t exist in a gender binary—or any other random confines of society—doesn’t necessarily put them under the label of gay or transgender.
Coming out is a privilege.
Cherish the coming out process. It’s just like being invited to a wedding or a best friend telling you their biggest secret. No matter how old one gets, if they are LGBTQIA+, they will always remember themselves coming out to the people who meant the most no matter if it was horrific or splendid. Be conscious enough to know it’s a choice. Also be open enough to realize, if and or when they make the choice to come out to you, that it is privileged information. They will let the appropriate people know that they feel ready to divulge this information to.
National Coming Out Day is one of the days I have the most pride. To me, it represents awakening, empowerment, and community. Be open to the idea of being able to actively listen and becoming aware of someone else’s experience. We at Amy Wine Counseling Center are aware of the fears coming out can bring. We also know the freedom it can ensue. You may be struggling with the idea of coming out, your sexual orientation, or maybe you have come out recently and you need to process how your life is changing. AWCC is a safe LGBTQIA+ affirming space to process and explore issues related to coming out. Feel free to call us 832-421- 8714 to ask about counseling services to help support you.