Thursday, October 11, 2012

Whatever: On National Coming Out Day

So, it's National Coming Out Day. I'm of divided minds about this. 

On the one hand, I think it's a little lame and that the whole idea of having a coming out day even further oversimplifies the whole thing. People who aren’t gay have this idea that coming out is something a person does and gets over with, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. There is no getting it over with. Coming out is something most gay people have to do over and over again, during our lives. We come out to parents. To friends. To neighbors. To nosy people who get it into their heads to fix us up with nice guys they know. To nice guys (and not so nice guys) who have other ideas. And, really the bad parts about coming out do not ever get any better. I mean, the words, themselves, are easier to say, but the feeling that the bottom might fall out from under my feet once I’ve spilled the beans to a particular person? That feeling has never gone away, and probably never will. Because there will always be assholes and bigots in the world. Because there are still lots of places where being gay can mean losing a job, losing an apartment, losing custody of one's children...even losing friends and family.

I'm annoyed by National Coming Out Day because I want coming out to be over and done with, once and for all. Because coming out over and over, again can be like pulling off a scab before a cut has fully healed. Who fucking needs it?

On the other hand...

Anyone who knows me or has read this blog for any length of time knows that my appreciation of Maureen Garrett runs deep and true. A fine, fine actress who really should have made the jump from soaps to the big screen, the way Julianne Moore (and so many others) did. Her long-term relationship with another woman was never a secret - lots of us knew about it. I've never met Garrett, and even I knew about it. But she, herself, never discussed it publicly - which was her prerogative. I have to say, though, as much of a cynic about this whole coming out business as I may be, it does my heart good to find out that Garrett has decided to officially come out and talk about her partner and their children.

Way back when, I had this idea that the writers at Guiding Light passed on what could have been a great opportunity when they had Garrett on hand for a short time. But, hey - who cares what they did or didn't do on a tv show? A television show may be the reason I know this woman exists, and how I came to appreciate her talent, but the real-life milestone she's just marked is so much more significant than anything Holly Norris could have imagined.

In spite of myself, I find myself appreciating stupid, old National Coming Out Day.


KlevaBich said...

I suppose there may be some value in having this "official" day, if it motivates someone who has been hesitant to speak up. But you're right - that whole phrase is an oversimplification of a large and complex issue.

I guess I just add this to all of the other " Days" that at least bring up opportunities for a conversation.

Snapper said...

I really, really thought this whole idea was stupid....until I read the piece about Maureen Garrett. I'm such a huge fan and, because she was in my living room for so many years, it feels like some old friend has had a really nice thing happen. Yay for her! I no longer hate this day, even though I'm still a bad lesbian.