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National Coming Out Day

It’s National Coming Out Day.

I’ve always been iffy on the topic. My stance has always been that, if people decide to come out, cool. If they go their whole lives and never decide to, also cool. Like, straight people don’t have to come out as straight. However, what’s not cool is other people deciding someone’s sexual orientation. Even worse, there are people who publicly out people. Those people are absolute trash. Idc what kind of situation you guys dealt with, that is never your truth to share. They try to use sexuality as a weapon. Oddly enough, these are usually the same women that brag about their gay best friend, the same men who use terms like “throwing shade”, and the same people who’ve had that “experimental time in college”.

I’ve dealt with it a lot growing up, because I’m pretty ambiguous in terms of who I find attractive. When people can’t figure you out, they try to jam you in some box created by their limited mind. Me and my older brother through around “faggot” like it was the worst insult in the world when we were younger. People in high school literally hounded me asking me if I was gay. I’ve always enjoyed smelling good and like sweet pea lotion from bath & body works when i was in middle school. I went with my aunt and bought a bottle, and as soon as we got in the house, she asked me if I was gay in front of my mother.

I’ve had coworkers declare that I’m gay in front of management. Instead of being praised for my athletic ability, I was told I was only good at wrestling because I’m “obviously gay and like touching guys.” Every friendly relationship I’ve had with men, some who I view as brothers, has been called into question either by my friends or theirs inquiring why we’re cool. I’ve had nudes and text messages leak and my face posted on the net without my consent as a type of revenge porn. All of this while still closeted, “discrete”, and trying to find my footing in a world I had no experience with.

Some white gay guy I was having a conversation with stated that he didn’t get why people were still on the down low because “it’s 2018 and everybody’s gay.” As if there aren’t kids killing them after being bullied for coming out at a young age. As if, some black men don’t have to lie about their sexuality and limit their gestures, vernacular, and expressions simply to survive in the hood they live in. As if intersectionality doesn’t exist. As if black trans women don’t get murdered at alarming rates while white women who claim to be feminist stay silent. As is the vice president of the United States isn’t an opponent of gay marriage and didn’t back conversion therapy. As if he had any right to speak on the black lgbtq community while seated on his privileged ass throne after co-opting his whole personality from black women. As if we owe anything to anyone else. Shit, I went to Jamaica in June and met a few men who told me of the vast differences between the lgbt community there and in the US and how coming out there is basically a government-sanctioned death sentence.

So yeah, don’t you dare tell someone they have to come out, especially to you. How selfish and inconsiderate can you be?

Instead, you should be supportive and accepting if someone trusts you enough to share a small part of who they are with you. And realize, that someone’s sexuality doesn’t offer a complete snapshot of who they are. They’re not “the bisexual man”, but the man who also happens to be bisexual. Who you’re attracted to is not a choice. You think people would purposely choose to be discriminated against, murdered, raped, kicked out, disowned, and seen as less than human, and told that their existence is illegal in a majority of the world? Welp, besides Rachel Dolezal.

One of my college administrators challenged myself and my peers to look at coming out differently. To think of people coming out about their everyday problems, i.e., anxiety, financial struggles, infidelity, as a way to end the stigma/taboo feelings surrounding it. I challenge you to do the same. So, congrats if you’ve came out, about whatever. Congrats if you’re not out. Everyone else, this is a reminder to continue minding your own damn raggedy ass business. Stay pressed. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

Author: Kobi Elliot

Kobi. 23. College grad. Philly native. Ghanian-American. Creative

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