Coming out isn’t always rainbows

Being proud doesn’t always mean you have to be loud.

Coming out is the removal of a societal mask. The shedding of a false skin. But, dropping these walls isn’t all rainbows and butterflies.

We still live in a world where people are murdered and arrested for being themselves. Please do not let the face paint fool you, this is war paint.

Many people in the community face harsh backlash. No matter how happy everyone seems at pride. They are still facing discrimination and damaging stereotypes.

Human Rights Watch has a website were country profiles of their treatment of LGBTQIA+ people are posted. This can be a sobering look at the harsh realities of the LGBTQIA+ community members across the globe.

Yet, in today’s society, people have been brought up to believe that they are owed everything. That somehow someone else’s personal business is any of theirs.

This has lead to pressure for people to come out. While coming out can be liberating. It can also be dangerous. Not everyone lives in an accepting environment. Hate crimes are higher for members of the LGBTQIA+ community than any other group.

This means that the information on someone’s sexuality is very private (unless they choose for it not to be.) So it is no ones place to “out” someone. Outing someone else is never acceptable. Just because someone has told their friend doesn’t mean they’ve told anyone else. So it is always better to respect a friend and leave some things unsaid.

This being said, If you are not out and loud you can still be proud. You are not less valid because you aren’t sporting rainbow colored hair with a cutie at your side. The daily struggles are validating too.

It takes everyone a different amount of time to understand where they stand in the world. It also seems to be taking the world a long time to understand it as well.

Love is real, even if it is only whispered.

More times than not, the people in your life will still love and support you. But for the times when you feel alone, there are so many places you can reach out to for support. Such as the LGBT Foundation and GLAAD, who features a long resource list for members of the community.

Never be afraid to ask for help, the community should be a second family for you. Find strength knowing that you have come this far already. There is always rain before rainbows.

Talk to those trusted people in your life, make the decision for yourself, what you want the world to know about you. But above all, love yourself. Here is a toast to those who aren’t out yet, we love you, we support you and we are here for you. Cheers.

Rachael Bayuk can be reached at [email protected] or @BayukRachael on Twitter.