So, today is National Coming Out Day. According to all things Wiki, I’m supposed to be wearing a triangle, rainbow jewelry and letter Lambda. Seriously? While I get the point, wearing things accomplishes as much as say creating a Facebook page to end world hunger.
I generally stay away from most things like “National Day to start/end/facilitate fill in the blank”. Quite frankly, they are not effective from a political/marketing stand point. This year, it seems much more important. Not from a gay perspective: but from a national perspective.
The collective ‘we’ has lost the ‘us’ tense of the word so that the Republican Party candidate for Governor of NY, Carl Paladino, can make absurd sexist, homophobic statements without being called out.
In his own words “I just think my children and your children would be better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family.”
He is running for governor in a state that has just seen one of the worst hate crimes of the year: 8 people now arrested for beating men as a gang initiation because their victims are gay.
Where are the leaders of his party and other leaders in decrying:
“A ring on your finger doesn’t make you happy or successful. It just means you are married.”
“Defining people by constructs only furthers the divide present in our country. It doesn’t heal our wounds, move us forward or solve problems.”
“We are people beating, killing, torturing others for being “different”. That is not ok and will not be tolerated at any level.”
Where are those leaders? We are all somebody elses “other”. National Coming Out Day is supposed to be about the LGBT community and allies saying it’s ok to be gay. We shouldn’t need that permission.
We don’t need a day, a month, a year. We (all of us) need tolerance. We all need the same things: food, shelter, love. We need to put down our armor: and we all have armor. All of us. Nobody is to blame and everybody is to blame.
When as an individual, I choose to assist in perpetuating a myth, I continue the destructive cycle. When I choose to say “not now, not ever” I break the cycle.
We can disagree and be friends. We must be civil to each other: our differences are our strengths. It’s how we challenge our thoughts, perceptions and relate to the world around us.
Today is a day for everybody. It is the day for removing the labels and seeing people for who they are: us.