If you’ve never had to come out, National Coming Out Day probably doesn’t seem like a huge deal. To those that have, though, it can bring back bittersweet memories. Maybe they were kicked out of their homes and forced to live on the streets. Maybe they were ostracized by their families and forced to endure dehumanizing “therapy.” I’ve never had to come out. I’m a straight girl who’s into dudes; it’s never been “my” problem.
But today, I’m coming out. I’m making it my problem.
I, Amy McCarthy, am a fag-haggin’, lesbian-lovin’ ALLY. And I’m going to be a drag queen for Halloween.*
Being an ally is something that can be a bit tricky for us breeders. Most are afraid of being called gay. Let me tell you, it happens. I’ve had to dispel the “Amy’s a lesbian” myth since high school, but my boyfriend and I know the truth.
As a feminist, I know it is my job to make sure that everyone gets treated with dignity and respect, not just women. Being an ally is the best way to do that job. I get the opportunity to support these amazing people in being who they are. I like that.
I’m coming out in support of the people that I love that aren’t always able to show their love. I’m coming out in support of my family, friends, and the rest of the human community.
The past few weeks have highlighted the horrors that young gay teenagers face. We’ve mourned the lives of Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi, and more recently Oklahoma teenager Zach Harrington. These names are just a few in a sea of lives tormented by hate and ignorance.
I’m coming out and saying that hate is wrong, and homophobia is hatred. No more justifying, no more excusing, and no more ignoring.
Thanks to Sex and the City, the “sassy gay friend” has become a chic accessory; something that we wear to make sure that everyone knows how hip and liberal we are.
No more. My friends and family aren’t accessories.
Support your LGBTQ friends, and make sure that they know that they can come to you if they ever need anything. Stand up for them when you hear something hateful. Don’t participate in the jokes, even if there’s “not one around.”
Don’t even call them your “gay friends” any more. Call them your friends. They’ve been there for you, be there for them. Stand up for them.
On a more serious note, in my research I was confronted with a startling statistic: LGBTQ youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. When I read this, I just wanted to cry and be angry and be furious.
But I’m not going to. I’m going to help. I’m going to do more than just go to Pride and yell. I’m going to volunteer my time at my preferred organization, The Resource Center of Dallas. Do a quick Google search and see what organizations in your area could use your help.
Maybe you can open your couch to a homeless gay teen, or maybe you can help support a shelter that does. Maybe you can just listen.
This is more of a manifesto than a blog post. Anger will get us nowhere, but action will change the world.
*Judith Butler would totally approve.
Amy is a social media strategist living in Dallas, Texas. She likes music, trashy TV, and ladybiz. tweet: @aemccarthy