It's National Coming Out Day!!...and I want to tell you all something.
When I was 14, I came out as gay. It was incredibly difficult. I am grateful for the support and love I have received along the way, and the integration and self-acceptance I have found. I am grateful to have felt what it felt like to be other.
Today I want to come out to you. I identify differently.
I am not gay.
I am not straight. I am not bisexual.
I am not a man, nor a woman. (Nor am I genderqueer or trans.)
These words may describe behaviors or attributes, but they are so much more about tying those behaviors and attributes to an identity and a suggestion of how I should act and behave. And I don't think their simplification does justice to the wondrous multiplicity of human experience.
I am Michael.
I am different every day.
I strive to make choices that are not about an identity,
to feel the present moment instead of the stories I want to tell about myself.
I hope you will love me for who I am.
I see the power of identities to bring us together, and honor those who have fought for gay rights, trans rights, womens' rights. My exploration around and outside the labels does not take away the power of labels to unite, and the pain caused by hatred towards those labels. Labels can be incredibly important.
Labels matter when they do...and they don't when they don't.
I love you for who you are,
and any labels and identities you find home in, or don't.
Shame is the dust on our windows we need to rub off to let ourselves and each other shine.
(And perhaps, even if you think it is not a day for you, today is a day for you...to explore your relationship with labels, what they tell you you can and can't do, and what they help to hide.)
Happy National Coming Out Day 🥰🥰