Come Out, Come Out Whoever You Are
With apologies to Glinda, I only changed one word to make a point. I’m sure she won’t mind because she’s an ally who supports equality and justice for all, gay, straight, or otherwise.
Whereas Glinda had asked the little Munchkins to come out of hiding, I ask that all future LGBT folk come out, too. Not from hiding in the bushes like the Munchkins were, but hiding from their true selves — or even from themselves.
Today more non-LGBT allies are championing us and lighting the way (thank you Lady Gaga) and we have more opportunity to express ourselves than in other times and places.
Which reminds me, a while back the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was asked how gay people in his country were treated. His response? “There are no gay people in Iran.” To which I retorted (yelling at the TV), “Yeah, as soon as they come out, they’ll either be arrested or killed!”
In the good ol’ U.S. gays are not threatened with execution, but we may be bashed, bullied and lashed with barbed tongues yelling “Faggot!” The original meaning of faggot was a stick of tinder used to light a fire, which conjures images of kindling for a good witch burning. (The term may actually have come from old women who were once called faggots from their job of gathering wood which later translated, oh so graciously, to the effeminate stereotype of gay men.)
Funny how old, fearful sensibilities hold on. We are still fighting to break “codes” and “ranking” systems along with the notion that sex is only for procreation and not something to be shared and enjoyed… or even discussed.
If people are taught to fear gays (or ethnic minorities or anyone else) they will most likely hate. Period.
No wonder so many still fear coming out of the closet.
But even if we don’t come out we will still be harmed. Psychologist, Carl Rogers, tells us that the further our real self strays from our ideal self the more anxiety we will feel. This gap also lowers self-esteem and inspires jealousy of those who lead authentic lives. No wonder closeted gays are so often huge homophobes. That gap between real and ideal may then lead to aggression or even violence against ourselves or others. And who wants that?
Staying in the closet keeps us shameful and keeps us feeling we have something to hide.
By bringing our ideals closer to reality we can become more content and happier from living in a state of harmony.
And so I say to one and all, come out into the clear light of day and be proud of who you are.
This was written by one of my students, who gave permission to post it.
October is LGBT Month.