Gee... I haven't been here for awhile... anyway...
Yes, I'm gay and I'm out. I think it's important for gay people to be out and visible for several reasons.
First and foremost is individual self-esteem. If you are hiding who you are, it puts incredible pressure on you. You always live in fear that someone is going to find out. The relief when you no longer have to do that is wonderful.
Second, it is a lot more difficult for people to hate someone they know. When gay people remain "those people" or something more derogatory, then society doesn't change. When a gay person becomes "my son/daughter" or "my best friend", then we take one more little step toward a more inclusive society.
Another important reason is to be seen as role models. Straight people have millions of visible role models. For young gay people, not so much. It's critical that gay youth have someone to look up to and emulate. Nothing annoys me quite so much as to hear someone say, "I can't ____ because I'm gay." Objectively speaking, being gay loses you absolutely no opportunities at all... from any career you would like to having a family complete with children if you so desire. But for that to happen, young gay people need to see it happening.
Finally, I think it's important to be out because quite frankly I'm sick of the assumption that everyone is straight. I have an acquaintance that is bi-racial. She gets very upset whenever someone assumes that she is black. Not because she would dislike or thinks that being black is bad but because- to put it in her words- "it's like they are denying half of who I am". It's a little like that for gay people. There's nothing wrong with being straight, it's just not who I am.
Just my thoughts on the subject. :)
Posted: 30 Sep 07:05