Queers and our allies are everywhere

I recently watched the mini-series “First Day” on Hulu, The story follows a young girl attending middle school after having transitioned from being identified as a boy at birth. The story captures the many challenges faced in navigating the dynamics of middle school and growing into one’s self. Hannah shows strength in dealing with the added stress of being transgender in a world where the gender binary is thought of as a default. The series served as a reminder of my own privilege as a queer person who identifies as a cisgender male. Unlike Hannah in “First Day,” I’ve always been able to address my queerness on my own terms in my own time.

I’ve known, since before kindergarten, I’m a part of the LGBTQ community. For the most part, I’ve kept my sexuality to myself. I can’t say this has been a problem for me but it is also not a secret I need to keep. After coming out to my wife and daughters, I pay less attention to who knows I’m queer. Fact is, if you don’t accept my sexuality, I don’t know that I can help you: maybe, maybe not.

I sometimes wonder if people I engage with are also LGBTQ. This wondering has morphed over time from idle curiosity to concern. I’ll occasionally engage with people I expect are queer but closeted. As someone who has focused on getting more comfortable in my skin, I hope these kind souls have someone to be themselves with. When I know them well enough to know they don’t, I hope their sexuality isn’t a barrier in accessing their personal fulfillment. I leave hints to identify myself as queer. These are bread crumbs intended to hold space for other LGBTQ people who may not feel safe in being open about who they are.

On this National LGBT Coming Out Day I, once again, proclaim my queerness and share the reminder: queers, and our allies are everywhere. I am grateful to have a supportive family who respects me as I am. I am also grateful to those who have devoted, and sometimes given, their lives to make space for LGBTQ people. Even if you are not a member of the LGBTQ community, you know someone who is and you can be an ally. Everyone deserves the right to be who they are. I’m proud of who I am.

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