Thank you for Coming out to a special edition of Writing is Tricky. Today, October 1, marks the start of the 20th anniversary of LGBT History Month. Its intent (summed up nicely from Wikipedia) is “to encourage honesty and openness about being LGBT.”
There are quite a few milestones in LGBT history, but the day that I most enjoy is October 11: National Coming Out Day
This reason this day resonates for me is because it is a day of both recognition and of action. It is a day, where those of us struggling with our sexual orientation/identity are not only reminded that others came before us but also that we are not alone. We are not outcasts. We are not ugly things, grisly things, disgusting things, undeserving of decency, respect, or a basic right to love who we want to love, or even to love ourselves. It’s a day where our community, including our closest friends and allies, step forward to say: You are you, you are human, and you are beautiful but most importantly, you are never alone.
Coming out is not an easy thing. We hear gay jokes, religious-misinformed rhetoric, and some equally shocking things from the mouths of those we feel closest to when they think no one will hear. For me, I sometimes feel like I had it easy. Most of my family supported me, even if most of them didn’t always understand what it meant having a gay cousin, brother, uncle--back when it was new. Just having that support, knowing that I always had a place to go, seeing their courage, gave me (and still gives me) strength.
Not everyone has had a family or the support that I have had, but luckily, there are now programs out there that didn’t exist years ago, or at least they didn’t exist in the tiny neck of the woods where this little magician grew up.
I know I just said coming out was not easy. Scary is a closer word to the feeling. Terrified is closer still. Back then, I worried about my life, my morality, my soul (not to mention fearing retribution with a tire iron for finally being honest about who I was).
Knowing where I grew up and knowing that I would not be here today without the love and support I had (seriously, I despised myself back then) . . .
. . .I will be donating all of my royalties from my novel Only Human, purchased from Amazon (Kindle version or paperback) for the month of October to the Boston Allianceof Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Youth (BAGLY).
“BAGLY works with LGBTQ youth across Massachusetts—and beyond! Through leadership development, health promotion & services, social support, events, and the statewide GLBT Youth Group Network, BAGLY is at work in our communities to support LGBTQ youth.”
It is my sincerest hope that this turns into a monetary gift that far surpasses anything I could have given on my own.
Please help and spread the word!
Share this with your friends, family, coworkers . . . anyone who you think might be able to help. Heck buy them a copy!
Tell me about it @mikemehalek so I can share as well. And next month, I hope I have a big number to report.
Thanks and Love,