It seems that right now is the perfect time for the Come Out Campaign movement's app OUT! to launch (estimated release date: July 18)! With DOMA down and Prop 8 gone, we LGBTQs and allies have participated in what can easily be considered one of the most visible demands for equality and inclusiveness our community has ever seen (allies certainly included in our community). And thanks to social media, everybody who signed in to their accounts of choice was hit with images and statuses of solidarity. There in the public eye, our opinions were heard because we made the choice to be visible and were lucky enough to live in a time that produced such a space to be.
Though a huge leap forward has been made, there are still many more hurdles for us to jump over, which is why my friend and ally Tommy Sondgroth and I jumped at the opportunity to make the Come Out Campaign movement a reality instead of simply an idea.
Back in February I wrote the Come Out Campaign blog post calling for the beginning of a movement in being visibly out, for social media users to take advantage of the ability to post a video by creating a coming-out one. Instead of having to go through the exhausting process of coming out multiple times to multiple people, create a video where you say exactly what you want, one time, for everyone to see. Not only do you make the final step of the coming-out process easier on yourself, but you also make yourself visible to the world, visible to the people who live in the places that claim to not have any LGBTQ people there. Well, here we are. We are visible.
I took this concept to Tommy, and we decided to not only create the space for this movement to flourish but also make it that much more inclusive and that much more about support too. After months of work, we are proud to announce that OUT! will be a fully functioning app for you to download! We have turned this idea into a space for everyone who might be LGBTQUA ("U" for undefined, "A" for allies) to come out, to engage, to ally, to support, to network, and, most importantly, to be visible! The voices of our allies are just as crucial to the movement as our LGBTQ voices. When we come out, we join an ever-growing minority of people. When allies show support, they join our ever-growing minority of people and turn us into what will eventually become the ever-growing majority of people: an all-inclusive, free, and equal people. And while visibility is the aim, creating a space for people to feel encouraged to support one another is just as important. If we visibly support one another, we not only give voice to the voiceless and encourage them to be open, but we also show the homophobes out there that their hatred is both outdated and unwanted. And to those who have already been out and proud and fighting the good fight, this space is for you to share your journey and witness how much your fighting has visibly changed the world around you. The more we support, the more we are honest about our experiences and identities, the more we make this world a proponent of equality.
To say that we are excited is an understatement. We cannot wait to have a space to continue sharing with and engaging others in being visible for equality, for people's personal stories to inspire others to share theirs. We hope that all of you, allies alike, will use the app, that you will find the support and the courage to come out, that you will ally with those individuals who feel alone in their hometowns, and that soon, no one will be able to say, "I don't know anyone who's gay," because we all will.
Join the movement. Download the app. Be an ally. Be out for the count. Be visible.
Follow Tanya Tsikanovsky on Twitter: www.twitter.com/tsikanovsky