Those of us who are LGBT live on a “coming out wheel.” We don’t just come out once. Every new person we meet, every new job, new class, new social situation starts the process over again. Sometimes we feel used to it, but often it’s a familiar feeling of motion sickness, if you will.
Some days, it’s good that people know enough about me that serious conversations can happen. Last month, a co-worker was able to approach me about her grandchild and we had a great conversation about resources available for young people. Her biggest concern is that her grandchild would be safe as a LGBT person.
A Facebook friend posted this today:
His post is very succinct. But there’s more here to explore….
First off, despite improvements in the world, we’re not always safe. We have to be careful. We have to take care of each other. Allies – this is definitely where you come in, and I’m including those of us who are LGBT being allies to each other (which doesn’t always happen). If you know, care about, love someone who is LGBT, educate yourself and become a warrior for them. Please. Lives do depend on it.
Just in case you haven’t heard of the story Asa was referring to, here’s the Washington Post. Unfortunately, it makes me feel like history repeating itself yet again, just like what happened with Brandon Teena. Here comes more motion sickness from that wheel that never stops spinning. Brandon was only a little younger than I. I remember coming home from college for Christmas (I was 22) and seeing the story of his murder on page 2 of the newspaper. I had chills and thought, “There, but for the Grace of God, go I.”
I’ve been lucky. I’ve been careful; sometimes to the point of missing out on life experiences. I’ve been fortunate in that I was “passable” prior to medical intervention and rendered “invisible” afterwards. I was able to get medical interventions, which was crucial. I get those comments of “I never would have guessed, good for you” and I cringe like Asa. I don’t need the pat on the back. I more than paid my dues for this sort of congratulations….And those who aren’t invisible continue to be punished, sometimes horrifically. Always, I carry with me, “There, but for the Grace of God, go I.”
I’ve chosen to be visible in the world more often, especially over the last decade. I have gone to conferences and presented; I’ve educated, I’ve advocated, I’ve mentored young folks, I’m pushing for more inclusion where I can. I’m striving to make a difference where I can. It’s not always easy. It challenges me to be more brave, and step out even if I am scared, or feeling motion sickness from the wheel. Because, there, with the Grace of God, I go.