October 11 is the day we celebrate national LGBT Coming Out day. At a time when members of the LGBT community, particularly children who identify as LGBTQ and/or transgender, seem to be under attack it is important for those of us who can, to step up and speak out.
I have been celebrating national LGBT Coming Out day publicly for many years because I feel it is important to own who I am, a bisexual male. As someone who presents as cis-gender, I could hide behind the assumptions made by others. I find a dishonesty in taking that road.
I have the privilege, and the honor, to regularly be in the presence of a group of young people who are members of the LGBTQIA community. I refer to them as my queer peers. We have made a safe space for ourselves where we show up as we are. I consider these people and that space to be a precious gift in my life. We have shared the most personal of details of our lives, the most boring of chatter, and everything in between. Conversations on the intersection of biology, sexuality, and gender take place without the clutter of judgmental voices. Our standard is, “If you do not know, ask.”
I am open about who I am. I am open about sharing who I am. I am not open to being attacked for who I am. I am not open to being told how I should be in the world. I take no responsibility for a lack of empathy in others.
I identify as queer, and I am proud of who I am. There was a time when people, often referred to as “conservatives,” stood for individual rights, less government regulation, and freedom of expression. I not only hold these values, but I also believe in celebrating the right of individuals to be who we are every day.