You may have heard some LGBT folks or their allies talking about National Coming Out Day last week. The Huffington Post alone had at least a dozen great commentaries. I know this does not really mean a lot to most of you, nor should it. Most of you have been able to take for granted that you could be who you are, and you have been able to take that for granted your entire life. Sure, you have had secrets and have revealed or kept them. Some have had big, harsh secrets. The majority have not had the world tell you to take the core of your dreams, your hopes, your every truly romantic feeling and your real vision of family and hide it away. You have been allowed -- and more than that, encouraged -- to be yourself and be the best you that you can be. That is how it should be. But that is not how it has been for almost any of the gay people you know.
So last Thursday was National Coming Out Day. Someone you know may have come out to you, or you may have heard fresh rumors of an acquaintance having done so. Here is my suggestion, and my request: Take 15 minutes and reflect on your marriage, your relationship, your most tender romance, your social life and the looks on the faces of your friends and families when you announced your engagement. Think of the moment when you realized that you were in love with someone and that person loved you back. Now ponder what it would feel like to be asked to make all that a deathly secret, hide it away and cloak it in shame. If you can imagine that, you may have a sense of what the closet is like, and how it is less a closet and more a dungeon that some do not survive.
A few months ago I wrote a public letter to my sons. The point of that letter was to express my wish that they never have to "come out" about who they are. And for those who still have to come out in order to fully be who they are, I wish them the safety to do so, and I wish them the potential for the best life possible when they do.
What can you do today? This week? Be open so that closet doors of others can open and you can lend an outstretched hand to those within. If you live in Maine, Washington, Maryland or Minnesota, you can be even more open and support marriage equality in those states so that others can achieve the same level of family responsibility that you can.
Those who vote against marriage equality are afraid. I get that. They are afraid that by letting others live fully, they will somehow be threatened, valued less or diminished. That is not true. Heterosexual people are not limited resources with finite compassion to share in doled-out amounts. You are a spiritual force. The principle of love is that the more you give away, the more of it you have. So give. On this day, give. Your acceptance is a boomerang that will not only touch someone else's world but will come back to make yours even better.