October 11 is National Coming Out Day, so I thought I'd share my story about why I'm a straight ally. Many years ago as a traumatized young woman, I explored the idea that I might be a lesbian. This time period turned out to be incredibly telling, not only about myself, but also about what I believed societal attitudes to be towards LGBT people. I remember thinking things like, "What if my family rejects me?" "Will people look at me funny?" "What will happen when I want to get married?" "Life will be so hard!"
I discovered that I am not homosexual, but believe I could have been, as any person could be born any variety of ways. Love is love, between different genders or the same. Thank goodness that as time marches on, the societal tides are starting to turn in the direction of more inclusivity and acceptance, but for some people, an integral part of who they are -- their sexual or gender identity -- is cause for contention and hatred from strangers. Can you imagine what it would feel like to be hated by someone who doesn't know you, for a part of you that is beyond your control?
People in the LGBT community are deserving of equal rights, privileges, and protections, as well as our understanding and compassion. I'm coming out as a straight ally, and I hope you do too.