June is pride month. June 26th will be a national holiday someday in honor of the Obergefell ruling. The internet’s going to be full of rainbows and coming out stories that range from humorous to devastating. So, with that, here’s one that I think fits both categories.
The first person to teach me about sex was a lesbian. I was a third grader and she was a second year senior at the high school I eventually went to. I was lucky to know her, and she taught me a lot of things about life in general. I don’t remember specifics, just that when I got a health textbook in high school I already knew that most of the information in it was inaccurate or incomplete.
I came out as an atheist before I even considered coming out as bisexual. That was a disaster that I’ve talked about extensively.
My dad introduced my brother and I to his future husband in 2010. I made a joke during a wedding speech about the presentation of them being roommates
A partner of mine passed to my family as my boyfriend when I was fifteen. It settled any doubts they had, or at least I’d hoped that it would.
The tipping point that sparked my LGBT activism was Leelah Alcorn’s suicide. The story horrified most of the country. She was a year older than I was. She managed to create outrage and support for a group of people that were previously either ignored or disparaged. Her parents did all the wrong things before and after their daughter died. Leelah inspired Leelah’s Law to ban conversion therapy and launched the trans community ahead in a way that few other things could.
I came out during Pride month. That was not an intentional decision. I came out as soon as I safely could. Last May, I was living in a homophobic environment that was already violent.
The last time I lied about my sexuality is still a clear memory. I was on the highway in the passenger seat and the driver asked if I supported Obergefell because I was gay. She’d told me that the ruling would never happen because “we aren’t that far gone yet”. I froze for a few seconds, terrified, then lied through my teeth about a friend of mine and how I loved her in a completely plutonic way and wanted her to be happy with whoever she wanted.
I came out on Facebook via meme a week later.
By June 26th I was living with my parents, safe, happy, and honest.
When I started college, it took me about a week to fall for a woman in my dorm. No one who met me after last June knew that I’ve spent more of my life in the closet than out.
Since then I’ve sworn off relationships in general (I like my lifestyle better). The eventual climactic point of these experiences has been a passion for my community and a sense of disbelief that so soon after coming out I’ve seen so much progress in my country for all of us.
We’re not anywhere near finished with fighting for civil rights. But at least now we’re at the point where it seems inevitable that with some work we’ll get there someday soon, and that my friends will have children that will think the word fag is just how the British say cigarette.
We have a responsibility to each other as human beings to care. It is your job as a person to advocate the idea that liberty until injury is a mark of a civilized society. Someone did that for you or for your ancestors at some point in our history. You will be remembered as the enemy of freedom and a traitor to common decency. You can either be an ally or make a fool of yourself by standing in front of the bathroom door saying “We are a god-fearing people-not a government fearing people.”, if I could co-opt a quote from George Wallace.