NCOD is A Day To Be Normal. A column I wrote that was published in my school paper. Enjoy!
Today is National Coming Out Day. It is a day that is meant to symbolize a growing tolerance and awareness of sexual orientation and gender identity. Although this day was founded over 20 years ago, there is still a stigma towards what it tries to accomplish.
As humans we want to be happy with ourselves. We want to live our lives how we want – but we often forget that this world has so much diversity. We forget that not everyone is like us. That is exactly what today is meant to demonstrate.
I think it is preposterous that homosexuals have to ‘come out.’ I think it’s ridiculous that they have to deal with it – that it’s not just accepted like it has been in other cultures. However, I will say that the process is strengthening. Sometimes people feel dejected in the midst of it, but as they work through it, they become stronger people. They find more clarity about who they are, what they are, what they want, and especially how to pick themselves up, be happy and smile in life.
Coming out is very personal. There is no easy cut and dry formula. There is no checklist for you to go by and nothing to outline the journey that is before you. Commonly, though, it consists of three major components.
First one must come out to themselves – to be able to speak the words is scary in the beginning, then kind of exciting. To be able to smile at yourself in the mirror, after years of trying to not even look, is freeing.
After that, people have to come out to friends and family. This is where people generally get hung up and frightened more than anything. The more you care about someone the more difficult it is to come out to them. Their opinion about you means so much that it would be better not to risk the chance of something bad happening. Over time, though, as you gain confidence in yourself, you start to be able to share the news with other people. You become excited to tell the world who you are, and you’re happy to be that way.
That is the third step – living; walking around with the confidence of knowing who you are and being happy about your life, trusting that even if you have a bad day, you’ll still be alive tomorrow.
In today’s society there is growing tolerance and acceptance towards sexual diversity – equally, though, there is growing prejudice and hate. Homosexuality has always been present on this planet, in every culture that exists or has ever existed. There are 400 something animal species that exhibit homosexual tendencies, but only one exhibits homophobia. To say that today is a new day, where people can openly and freely distinguish themselves as who they are, would not be entirely truthful. Certainly, there is a greater ability to do so than there has been before, but we’re not completely there yet.
Today is a day to remember who you are. I don’t care if you are homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, transgendered or anything else. Remember who you are, know who you are; operate with a sense that you are that, other people may or may not be, but trust that they know who they are. Celebrate in the diversity of the world today.
Don’t limit the lives of people to be behind closed doors – on either side of the spectrum. Don’t require someone to fit into a particular category because your brain prefers either/or. Don’t intimidate people to behaving, acting, and believing the exact same thing as you, because there is just no way you could be wrong.
Today is a day for people in the homosexual community to ‘come out.’ It is a day for them to stop hiding themselves behind a wall. It is a day for them to step forward and actively take part in their lives. To abolish the closet that has surrounded them and to obtain a sense of power within themselves that they can do it; that they can carry on, that they can – and will – be happy.
On a larger part, though, today is a day to build a community; a system of individuals who take pride in what makes them different. It is a day to smile at someone; it is a day to laugh, to joke. Today is not a day to feel inferior or inadequate. Today is not a day to have a sense of fear or worry. Today is not a day to be pressured. No, not today. Today is a day to come out as yourself – whoever that may be.
Today is a day to be normal.