Monday, October 31, 2011

Coming Out Month: Wrap-Up

This officially concludes Coming Out Month at "This Gay Relationship."  What is a single day every October 11 (called National Coming Out Day) became an entire month here, because I suspected there was plenty to write about on the subject.  And so there was.

When I started Coming Out Month, my goal was to publish, on average, one post related to some aspect of coming out every weekday.  This year, October had twenty-one weekdays, and I managed to publish twenty-one posts on a myriad of subjects related to coming out.

By the middle of the month, I worried, given the few comments I'd received, that I'd made a mistake putting so much emphasis on coming out.  Then I recalled what one of my readers wrote in the past:  that she wouldn't leave a comment unless she had something to contribute.  So I took that into consideration and moved forward.      

In retrospect, I believe the idea to write primarily on the subject of coming out for a month was a good one.  Many of my readers are young and either in or partially out of the closet, and, having come out over twenty-five years ago, I knew I could write knowledgeably on the subject and hopefully help.  

Just because Coming Out Month is over, does that mean I won't write about coming out again? Not at all.  For every gay and lesbian person, coming out, in many ways, marks the beginning of their lives.  It's as critical an event as any I can think of.  If I have something relevant to say, I'll say it.

The tone of the pieces I wrote were uneven; that was done on purpose.  Sometimes, as I sat down to write, my thought was, "Why isn't everyone out yet?"  Other times, I recalled just how difficult it was for me to come out, and my understanding and patience returned.  (But I still wish everyone was out.)

Some posts captured thoughts and ideas.  Others were published with the intention of prying the closet door open a crack, so gay people could glimpse what lay beyond.  Still others provided specific resources and tools that I hoped would make the coming out process easier, to the extent that's possible.

I'm proud of what I achieved here over the past month.  In addition to accomplishing a personal writing goal, I provided a concentrated number of posts that, if reviewed in detail, give a good overview of what the coming out process is about, and what the outcome is likely to be.

Now, a request.  If you read some or all of the Coming Out Month posts, tell me what you thought of them.  If you're gay and still in the closet, tell me if you think what I presented will help you at some time in the future.  Conversely, tell me what I could have done differently so I can learn, too.

I leave you with the following advice from Steven Petrow in Steven Petrow's Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners for Every Occasion:

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, also known as PFLAG, has been inviting moms and dads of gay kids to cry on its shoulders, find support, and become educated about their LGBT offspring for decades.  The organization now has more than 200,000 members in all 50 states [in the U.S.] and Canada.  "Support" is PFLAG's watchword.  Call up one of its more than 500 affiliates scattered around the United States, Canada, and many other countries, or visit if you're planning to come out, if your child has just come out, or if you think your child is LGBT.  PFLAG families have walked the walk before and can talk you through the coming-out process or put you in touch with whatever facts or resources you need [p. 11].

In other words, you are not alone.  There is help out there.

And please don't forget, I'm available to help you in any way I can, too.  If you think of something I haven't covered in this series that you'd like my thoughts on, or if you have a question, please email me by clicking on Send Mail on the top righthand side of my blog.  I will support you in any way I can.

And if you just need someone to "talk" to or confide in, please email me.  I may not be able to solve all your problems from the table where I write this blog, but I'm a good listener, and I will respond to you in some way.  Sometimes, all we need is the chance to tell someone how we really feel.

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