Today is National Coming out Day and it is my coming out of the closet anniversary! That’s right in a coincidence that could not be more planned to be cliche I came out on October 11, 2000. (I did not discover it was NCOD until 11 months later.) What have I done with my identity in 10 years? Well, clearly not enough for the community if we still have people taking their own lives.
This month seems one of our bloodiest yet. Yesterday I read about another teen who took his own like. His name was Zach Harrington. This coupled with gay bashings at the Stonewall Inn and the Bronx, a firebombing in Belgrade, and a rash of other suicides has left me in a funk.
Things like Dan Savage’s It Gets Better campaign are important, but they do not seem adequate in the wake of the the current bloodshed. I have been out 10 years and this morning I feel like I did at the beginning of this decade: like we are at war.
I ignored these feelings for a long time. Queers are dying, heterosexuals are ignoring the problem, the right wing is attacking and winning, and the queers installed as our leadership seem to care more about lining their pockets than useful policy.
Let’s be honest. Do you really care about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell? Really? This is one of those policies that have baffled me for the past 10 years. Yes, yes it’s part of equality, but guess what else is part of equality. Not living in a culture where young men are told their sexuality is so vulgar they should kill themselves if it comes to light.
In 10 years of being out, I have seen Democrats ignore us, and Republicans openly abuse us in the national theater. I have (still to my shock) seen queer men work for these republicans and even dumber men defend them.
Personally, my 10 years have been great and I would never give them back. Coming out is one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I do not regret it. In 10 years I got better, but I am sorry to say the world around me did not.