I remember National Coming Out Day when I was in college. 1990-1994. The campus GLBTA group chalked all the sidewalks, and put signs up everywhere. I remember looking at the names and slogans my first two years with a sort of shrug — sure, fine, whatever. And then the second two years of college it was personal. It was me, there, needing to come out.
Even as late as 1997, when I got my federal job, I was cagey with coming out. I didn’t tell people. I didn’t lie, ever, not outright. I just … didn’t share.
It’s the little, justifiable, lies, that are so easy.
I am very fortunate in my life. I live in a time and place where I do not have to fear for my safety more than the people around me. I do not have to fear for my job more than any other federal employee at the moment. My children are mine, and in no danger of being taken from me by the state. My partner and I are married under state law, with federal recognition.
It’s easy for me to be out.
But easy doesn’t mean it’s trivial.
I still may be the only queer some people know. Or, one of a scant handful. I may yet be the only queer parent, or queer homeschooler, or queer air traffic controller that someone knows. Representation matters.
Every time we as humans demonstrate that the world is vast and diverse and complicated, we let others see the possibilities of their own lives. A girl can be an editor. A lesbian can be a parent. Someone who is not monogamous can be married.
The fringe, the end, the minority cases, the exceptions — can all be happy and content.
The future is bigger than we can imagine. But for precisely that reason, sometimes we have trouble imagining it. Sometimes it’s hard to see that a life can be other than what it already is.
I’m out. I am visibly present in the world, identifying. You can see me. Here I am.