Thursday, May 1, 2008

Missed another goddam anniversary

Last time it was my 1-year blogiversary. This time it was my 11-year coming out anniversary. My lesboversary?

Anyway, it was eleven years ago on April 30, 1997 when I made my first gay public announcement. I was attending a small Christian college in Iowa and was frustrated by the lack of community for queer students. I knew I was gay, and I was pretty sure about two other people on campus. Two.

Anyway, I needed a support group and one didn't exist, so I decided that if Ellen could do it, so could I. I advertised Come Out With Ellen in the daily bulletin, and about 20 people showed up. Most of them were straight allies, but that was just as nice to see. We watched the Puppy Episode and then had a discussion about creating a queer group on campus.

It was one of the scariest evenings of my life, but it started me on a whole new path. I've really never looked back. Well, that's not entirely true. As a person with a concealable minority identity, I've had several moments since then when I've chosen to tuck away that identity - out of concerns for my safety, my employment, or my comfort. That hasn't happened for a number of years, but it has happened. They weren't proud moments. They were about coping.

But after eleven years, I can safely say I am completely out of that closet. I make no apologies for any part of my identity. My queerness is an important part of who I am, but it's not remotely the most interesting thing about me. It's a detail, and for that I am thankful because it used to consume me. That's what closets do.

Anyway, a big shout out to all the people who stood on the sidelines and cheered me on. Allies like you are invaluable. And a special thanks to MonkeyPants, who sat by my side eleven years and one night ago and held my hand as my shaky voice started to claim my identity. Her hand is still my favorite.

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