Cadence Paramore – Assistant Editor-in-Chief
Hello Gusties, and happy Coming Out Week!
If you don’t already know, Coming Out Week is a week of encouragement, celebration, and visibility for many LGBTQIA+ folks. Coming Out Week can even be empowering for some, giving people the opportunity and courage to be seen for who they really are.
However, there are many people in the LGBTQIA+ community who experience Coming Out Week much differently than it is experienced by some and portrayed by others.
There can be a lot of pressure on folks during Coming Out Week to out themselves, and there can even be a lot of guilt when people choose not to come out. This can include thoughts such as, “I’m not actually (identity) if I don’t ‘come out.’”
People choose not to come out for a plethora of reasons, some including very real danger to their emotional and physical wellbeing. While our society is improving greatly and it’s wonderful that much of our campus allows many of us the opportunity to feel comfortable enough in being our most authentic selves– there is still great risk in coming out.
It’s important to remember that coming out is an individual CHOICE.
AND that just because someone is out to you, that doesn’t mean they’re out to everyone!
Personally, as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I don’t see the need to “officially” come out. I’ll mention aspects of my identity casually as any straight person would because straight cisgender people aren’t expected to “come out,” their sexuality and gender identity are seen as the norm.
While I know some LGBTQIA+ people agree with this view, there are also many who would LOVE to come out but are not ready or comfortable doing so– and they need to be celebrated too! (Not just this week, but every week).
So while it’s important to celebrate our friends, family, and peers as they come out during this time– it’s equally as important to acknowledge and celebrate those who aren’t coming out this week. And to keep in mind that we are valid all year round– no matter what our identities are, when we figure them out or when we choose to let those around us know.
Also remember that we are creatures who are ever-changing, evolving, and learning. If you are questioning your identity for the first time or the hundredth time– you are valid.