National Coming Out Day

05:19

*Disclamer: If any part of this offends you, or sounds internally homophobic, then I'm sorry. I didn't intend to come across that way. I also understand that some people aren't in a position to come out. Some people don't have the luxury to be who they are, and that is barbaric. This post is based off of my experiences as a gay, white male. I understand that I have it better off than other people.*

Hello, I'm gay. I am also called Thomas. I like reading, eating, my boyfriend, my best friend and I like sleeping too. I love Doctor Who, RuPauls Drag Race and American Horror Story. Wine Gums are my fave sweets and it's my 20th birthday next week.



In those few sentences, I wrote a few facts about me - some of them are useless to you and some of them may be of use to you. But they all have the same importance - they're all about me. So why is it then, you focused on the fact I was gay? Or that I like my boyfriend. Because, according to society, that is what should define me. I'd rather have my love for Wine Gums define me because then I get free Wine Gums.

Let me ask you. If you're straight, when did you know you were straight? Exactly. Because same. I didn't know when either. You can't just decide. It's not that I'm ashamed of my sexuality, because I really aren't. I love being gay. But I don't think my sexuality is important to anyone but me and whoever I'm in a relationship with. Or sleeping with. Sorry mother if you're reading this.

Today, 11th October, is National Coming Out Day. A day for celebrating you, for embracing yourself and loving what you are. Except, shouldn't that be everyday? And why must we 'come out'? If I was heterosexual and cisgender, then I would never ever ever have to worry about coming out. I'd never have spent a good year and a half of my life being confused because I'd had girlfriends but they were still just friends in my eyes. I'd never be scared of being bullied or beat up again because of what people at school thought of me. And I'd have never closed myself off to my family out of fear that they'd disown me if I told them that I didn't like girls in that way.

But that wasn't the case, things got better when I told people. I felt more secure and I felt more authentic. I was still scared though, I never really told my family if I was seeing someone - I'd just lie. I'd be scared to be open about certain things just incase someone found it uncomfortable or weird. And I shouldn't have done that, I should've owned my sexuality and held it high above my head - just like I do with my fondness for Steps or Wine Gums or Doctor Who.

Lots of things make me proud to be me, not just my sexuality. I am more than a label, and I'm not gay. Well I am, but that isn't me. I don't know. You wouldn't call me Wine Gums if you were trying to upset me. You wouldn't call me weird because my best friend is important to me. You like to eat too, and so do I. Do you see what I mean? All of these things make us who we are, so why does just one of them define us?

I get it, it's because we're different. We aren't the norm. But who is? Really, can you really look at anyone these days and think 'OH, that is what normal is!'? Odds are, you can't. We live in such an individual society - you can be literally anyone you want to be. Don't just be a label. Own it and enjoy everything else.

Admittedly, I do appreciate the notion of National Coming Out Day. It brings solidarity and a sense of community. But coming out is such a backwards idea. It's the idea that, as members of the LGBTQ+ community, or anything else of significance, we must tell people because they need to know. It's the idea that people demand this information out of you so you must tell them. In reality, we can do with this information whatever we want to. It's ours, it isn't theirs. Don't let anyone scare you into feeling like you have to come out.

Here is my coming out story BTW: http://www.thomascrawshaw.co.uk/2015/02/coming-out.html

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