October 11th is annual national Coming Out Day. But as many of us know, coming out is not a one-time event; it's a balancing act. Coming out is an ongoing practice in the life of virtually every GLBT person. There can be many stages in coming out, and most of us begin that process time and time again. It is not simply telling your parents, joining a queer organization, or falling in love with someone of the same sex. Coming out has to do with the way we perceive ourselves, with how we deal with our sexualities, how we structure our lives, and how we present ourselves to our families, to our friends, and to the world. It is a life long process, where we constantly deal with the acceptance and integration of our sexual identity and sexual
By Joyce Crosby
How Do We Become Out?
ay, if you think you're out, just how out are you? To your family? With straight friends? At work? To your health care providers? To the stranger who uttered an anti-queer remark? At your child's school
when the secretary believes listing two mothers on the registration form must be a mistake? When you and your partner check into a hotel and discover they have given you twin beds, do you come out to them?
of this process means being aware in advance of potential ramifications, so that you can be proactive. Coming out may be one of the most difficult tasks lesbian, gay, bi, and transgender people confront, but it is also one of the most rewarding." Most of us have probably felt the lump in our throat and butterflies in our stomach when we are confronted with another opportunity to set the record "queerly forward" about someone's misperception of our sexual identity. So, what if we decide to stay in the closet where it is safe (albeit dark and lonely)? Interestingly, research suggests that there really can be negative
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orientation within a sometimes repressive and hostile society. Here it is, time to celebrate Coming Out Day again and many times the world still isn't accepting enough of lesbian, gay, bi, and transgender people for us to come out, be out, and stay out. The reality is some of us are fired from our jobs, evicted from our apartments, lose custody of our kids, or assaulted simply because of whom we are romantically attracted to. Beth House MSW, a Spokane therapist, stated, "The decision to come out is always a personal issue. Whether to come out, and if so, when, where, how, and to whom, are all questions each person must answer as an individual. Taking control
2 | October 2008 | Q View Northwest - Spokane Edition