THE BLOG
10/11/2012 06:01 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Thoughts on National Coming Out Day

Make sure to tweet that it's 10/11/12, also make sure to tweet something about how you came out of the closet!

The whole idea that there should be a day designated to outing yourself is ridiculous and counterproductive. A few nights ago I watched an "It Gets Better" special on TV, followed by "True Life: I'm Coming Out." The broadcast was centered on the idea that being gay is something so life-changing, so difficult, and so overwhelming that the idea of even telling your closest friends is something you have to plan and obsess over. You run around the issue until it becomes so unbearable that you just can't take it any longer, so you sit everyone down and make a formal business presentation about how you like penises instead of vaginas.

The fact of the matter is that many closeted men and women do not feel comfortable coming out. A day meant for encouraging people to come out does nothing but isolate such people further. National Coming Out Day adds pressure to do something many aren't ready to do. I don't have an issue with the "It Gets Better" project (in fact, I strongly support it), but the message it sent out through that TV special is completely incongruent with how the coming-out process should be. Coming out is only as big a deal as you make it. Yes, there are going to be crazy family members and friends who shun you, but the truth is that we are living in a time when over half the country supports gay marriage, our president supports gay marriage, and attitudes are really changing. And chances are that the people you come out to already had an idea in the first place. I have not let being gay define who I am, and I didn't want my coming-out process to be anything different. The "It Gets Better" project acts like being gay is the be-all and end-all of your existence. But if you act like it is a big deal, the people around you are going to do the same. People are going to react to the picture you paint, so why not paint a Rothko instead of a Pollack?

The voices featured in the "It Gets Better" special said you shouldn't let homosexuality define you, but they discussed for over an hour how being gay and coming out is something you have to do for your entire life, over and over again. That sounds a little paradoxical, don't you think? The heteronormative society in which we live naturally assumes that a person is straight, because the majority of the population is in fact straight. That doesn't mean that everyone out there is going to turn on you the minute you tell them something about yourself that they probably assumed for a very long time. There are exceptions, of course, and for anyone who has had to deal with some closed-minded bigot, as I have, I feel for you and understand that being gay is something that not everyone accepts. Coming out isn't something that is easy to do, but just because it isn't easy doesn't mean it needs to be a long, drawn-out process. I hid my secret for a long time, but finally I realized that my true friends and loved ones were going to like me no matter who turned me on. Attitudes toward homosexuality are changing faster than just about any other social mores in the country, and the movement does a great job of explaining that.

Life has gotten better since I came out, and I do feel like a healthier person inside and out (no pun intended). Where I take issue with National Coming Out Day is over the idea that coming out needs to be this big process. Do you really think having a National Coming Out Day is going to change the minds of the people who simply don't accept homosexuality? Call me closed-minded or stuck up, but the people who can't realize there is nothing wrong with being gay are so lost in their own world that they will only have God to save them at the end of the day. If you came out today and your life has been changed forever, you certainly proved me wrong. I just don't think that your coming-out process needs to be this big ordeal, as the media makes it out to be.