Today, October 11th, 2014 is the 26th Anniversary of National Coming Out Day, which makes it the 27th Anniversary of the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. I had just graduated from college in Spring 1987 and was living in small town Nebraska, working as an Assistant Pastor. I certainly didn’t hear about the March on Washington that October and didn’t hear about National Coming Out Day until I was in Seminary and coming out myself, in the fall of 1989. I probably missed it that year, also, but trust me, when 1990 came around, I was coming out to so many people the only person left to come out to on October 11th was probably the plumber. Of course the regular janitorial staff would already know!
National Coming Out Day is a chance for all of us, LGBTQ persons and allies, to come out to one more person, one more cluster, one more group of people who didn’t know you were an ally or queer before you told them. (Or at least could Pretend they didn’t know!) Hearts and minds and lives are changed one to one, rarely in large swathes cut by a media story or a play. It’s when Uncle Herbert hears from Aunt Sally how his favorite nephew, Rudolfo, is gay and his roommate, Aaron, is actually his partner of three years, that Uncle Herbert has to think about the fact that he really is quite fond of Rudolfo. Maybe if the nephew he loves and respects is gay, the new guy at work isn’t as much of a threat as Herbert originally thought. Herbert comments on this and Aunt Sally slaps him with a wash rag. “Are you kidding? How can the new sales guy be a threat when you have worked under and loved a gay boss for ten years?” Herbert, when he gets over his shock and goes down to his workbench to do some deep thinking comes to the resolution that if two men he respects so much are gay, he’ll give the new guy who is SO obvious a try.
I hope you take the chance today, IF IT IS SAFE, to come out one more step. IF it is NOT SAFE, you might loose your job or your kids, don’t do it. But if it is safe, even if it is scary or intimidating, try to tell one more person. You might be the one that changes their mind or heart about the whole kit and kaboodle. It just might happen. Happy National Coming Out Day!