A place to share my writing, the process of doing so and the part of me that it comes from.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Coming Out Eve
Seven years ago tonight was “Coming Out Eve”.October 11th celebrates National Coming Out Day.Technically, it wasn’t MY Coming Out Day, it was my son, Abram’s but MY anxiety level was through the roof.Abram had come out to us a year and half earlier, February 18, 2004, shortly after he’d turned 15.
Over the next year and half he came out to close friends and some family.But this was to be the PUBLIC day.He decided his announcement would come in the form of wearing a t-shirt to school.Pure white with bold black iron-on letters across the front that read “CELEBRATE NATIONAL COMING OUT DAY OCT 11” and on the back in funky colorful iron on letters it read “CLOSETS ARE FOR CLOTHES”.His outfit was rounded out with a rainbow wrist sweatband, a rainbow rubber bracelet and a silver chain with an assortment of colorful rings.It screamed “taste the rainbow”….
I was scared to death for him.Until then, his coming out was uneventful. He’d had favorable and loving responses. But this was SCHOOL.The same high school school that Steven and I had gone to.We expected some trouble.Maybe a fight – maybe a black eye or hurtful things said.This was to be his first solitary adult stand. And I would be nowhere in sight. Left behind to wait while he faced this challenge, alone, head on.
That night, we finished the shirt and it hung on the hanger, all pressed and ready to go. I didn’t sleep a wink the whole night, envisioning his life changing within the next twenty four hours.I drove him to school on the 11th and after dropping him off, had to pull over because I was crying so hard.I was so scared for him I didn’t know what to do with myself.
It was one of the longest days of my life.The weeks prior I’d read many coming out stories.I read news articles about how it was celebrated across the country from small local events to national movements.But it was personal now.It was Abram.
Finally, it was time to go back and pick him up.I arrived in the parking lot a half hour early.He came out (no pun intended) surrounded by his group of friends.(I later found out they had made sure he wasn’t alone all day and had walked him from class to class “just to be sure” he was okay).
He was smiling. He waved at someone as they called out when he passed.He looked taller – like a load had been lifted.
I felt like I’d aged ten years.Come to find out the day had been pretty spectacular.His shirt was noticed, some asked if it was a joke, to which he answered no and got a shrug or a “that’s cool” in reply.A few people acknowledged with their eyes and a smile or a handshake – and in math class he got a round of applause.Yes. A round of applause.
There are a few days that stand out in my life and this is one of them.I felt honored that he asked me to help make his shirt – the vehicle for him to come out.I felt proud of his courage to come out not knowing what the response would be.I feel humbled to ride his shirt tail through this experience.
I stop and remember those 24 hours every Oct 10th & 11th.I remember his courage and the foundation it provided for me to be and “Out an Proud” parent, ally and friend.Some days are just meant to be celebrated.
Not everyone in the LGBTQ community celebrates Coming Out Day.But…a lot of them do.Take a moment on the 11th.Celebrate their being out with them.Acknowledge their courage.Take a stand for their equal rights.Lend support to someone who’s just come out or is wrestling with the issue of doing so.Be there for them. There are hundreds of resources – the following are a good start that offer leads to more resources.Taste the rainbow!