I came out to my parents (and the universe) when I was 17. Going to a high school with queer friends was helpful, especially because we all came out around the same time. Having each other to share our stories was one of the most supportive aspects of coming out. I realize this now as the empowering effect of being in community. That’s why I think this project is amazing.
We come out many, many times in our lives. Sometimes the experience is powerful, sometimes it’s hurtful – often it’s both. Over time, I have not had to explicitly state my gender or attractions as an act of coming out. It is very apparent to others that I represent some kind of queer, and they come out for me by asking directly or reacting to me in a way that suggests that they detect my difference. This opens the door to all kinds of stigmatization and prejudice. (Just because it is not heard does not mean it was not noticed!)
I don’t have the conditional privilege of having others assume I’m heterosexual or cisgender. Every mundane act of expression constitutes a sort of coming out for me, even if I don’t say the words, “I’m queer.” I like to think I come out every day. Tom Stoppard, an absurdist playwright wrote: “Every exit is an entry somewhere else.” I like to think that every day I am “somewhere else” which is closer to myself, to my community, and to a world where coming out is celebrated with love each and every time it happens!