At a time where nearly all information is dispersed over social media outlets, our most personal and intimate confessions are often found with the ease of an Internet search. Facebook is no longer simply a portal into the snapshot view of your Friday and Saturday night escapades or relationship disasters, but the number one source for sharing your political, moral, religious, and social beliefs. It is the first place we turn to when we try to connect, and whether that's good or bad doesn't change the fact that it's true.
We are also in a time where the push for equality and inclusion has never been greater. More and more states are passing marriage equality bills, more and more light is shining on institutions that discriminate, and fortunately the push back on those institutions is igniting the us's and the supporters of equality to continue our fight that much more.
Recognizing this day and age means being aware that this is the prime time to make the greatest impact. As most of you may know, there are a lot of people in this world that fall into the LGBTQ family. But how many? What's the number? Well, think of it like this: imagine the number of people you know that are LGBTQ. Now realize that, arguably, there are infinitely more people in the closet than there are out of the closet. So you take the number of people you know that are out (let's say you know five LGBTQ people) and combine them with -- say for this purpose only -- the same number of people that you don't know are LGBTQ (five potential closeted people). Already, that leaves you with double the amount of gay acquaintances (10 LGBTQ people).
Now, why is that important? Well, it's important because there is power in numbers. The more LGBTQ people speak out, the more visible we are, the louder our voices become, the more we can ensure an equal future.
So, the question is, how do we get our LGBTQ family members out of their closets? How do we do what Harvey Milk asked us to do? How do we make sure we take full advantage of the time we have with a president that supports us? Well, here's an idea:
What seems to be one of the most difficult parts of coming out is the process of doing it. Having to explain yourself to someone with moments leading up to it filled with concerns of how the other person will react, what they will think, what they will ask, what their facial expressions will look like, what their body language will say, etc, is not only draining, but also shifts the focus from the person who's coming out onto the person who is listening. So now, the incredible act of finally feeling free, of taking ownership of who you are, and being proud of this piece of your identity is all about the other person's thoughts. And then, to top it off, chances are you will have to repeat this process again and again and again, which, however empowering, is also exhausting.
So, to eliminate the problem of focusing on the other and having to continuously repeat the process, how about only having to do it one time, with no one else's reactions involved, and no need for repetition? How? Well, online.
Record yourself coming out. Record yourself saying who you are because you want to hear yourself doing it, because you want to feel comfortable and proud without concern of who will hear you, because you want to feel free. Record yourself taking one of the biggest steps of your life without worrying in the moments leading up to it what the other person may think because it's just you. Then, when you have recorded everything you wanted to say however you wanted to say it, when you have finally opened up the door to the part of you that's been suffocating and you feel as if you have said everything that you've ever imagined wanting to say, post the video. This way all you will ever need to do is push a button. Not only will you free yourself, but you will show others that they can do it, too. And pretty soon because of the step you take, all of those closets everywhere will only be filled with clothes.
There's no better time to start being free, and no easier way to do it. Equality is now.