This blog entry was first posted by Liz Welch, LGBT Advocacy Coordinator on www.fairisfairmontana.org.
National Coming Out Day is the perfect day to recognize the significant courage many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have mustered up to come out to their families, friends, churches, and communities. It’s also a sad reminder of all the people who have not been able to come out because of the fear, prejudice, and contempt that is a reality for many LGBT people.
As a straight ally working day in and out for equal protections on the Fair is Fair Montana campaign, I hear many stories from wonderful, open, honest and loving people from Montana. I am always honored with the trust they show me by sharing these stories of coming out, finding love, losing love, and, in many cases, being challenged because of WHO they love. I have learned so much from these people and carry what I learn forward in hopes of making a difference in their lives.
One thing that struck me the other day while listening to a staged reading of '8' in Bozeman, and seems very interconnected with National Coming Out Day, was a line in the play about how lesbians and gays have to make a decision every day whether or not to come out. They may have made that monumental declaration at one point, but every day, in a hundred different ways, they have to come out anew. It can be something as simple as looking around to see if they are in a safe space to show affection to their partner publicly or deciding whether or not to answer honestly when someone asks if they are “friends or relatives” in a casual setting.
In this regard, every day is “Coming Out Day” for our LGBT neighbors, friends and family. That’s why, even though we especially mark today, we must work for equality every day.