I was reminded today, by a friend’s coming out day post, that there are health benefits to coming out.
I was reminded a few days earlier by a separately helpful friend that there are a few ground rules for coming out day that need be observed and aren’t always. First, never out anyone for them. That’s a hostile act, and secondly it’s hypocritical to ask for self-determination and then do something that denies someone else that agency. Secondly, if you’re not a sexual or gender minority, don’t prank your friends by “coming out”. Thankfully, I don’t really feel like I have to lecture any of you, that’s not my point in actually bringing up those ground rules. It just gives me context for being reminded about the health benefits.
There are a lot of folks who aren’t out, either at some point in their life, or in places and context for which that entails risk of one kind or another — either severe financial penalty or personal injury or social ostracism. That’s WHY there are health benefits.
Part of the point of NCOD is to make it easier for others, later, to be out, and to normalize what it means to be out. Part of the point is an excuse to be out.
Let me add another, if I may ask?
What can we do to make it easier for others to be out? What can we do to reduce or mitigate the risks involved? Even more fundamentally, how can we help people who will need it find the information about what it means to be a sexual and/or gender minority, so that at least they can come out to themselves and minimize any period of misinformation, as some do. (Yes, there are always going to be late bloomers. How do we make it easier for those folks?)
Happy Coming Out Day!
And yes, for the record, I’m still just another queer trans gal…
[PS– Ohey! Here’s an older article on that… ;-) http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/coming-out-of-the-closet-may-be-good-for-your-health-7400182/ ]