As the reports of a horrific attack on a gay man while riding the London underground swirl – our community faces the suggestion from Richard Hammond that coming out of the closest is no longer an issue.
And that is a massive insult to the whole LGBTI community.
To say that coming out isn’t relevant trivializes the discrimination, bullying, and violence that occurs to LGBT+ people around the world simply for existing.
Even those that remain in the closet are still facing attacks.
Like our brothers and sisters in Chechnya attacked for associating with LGBTI identities.
Not everyone has the pleasure of saying ‘I’m gay’
In the UK many have become complacent in regards to LGBT+ discrimination, believing the battle to be over.
The battle may be raging and fiercer in other parts of the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s over here.
Hammond’s complacency to coming out ignores the struggles our community faces throughout the world.
And you know what – even if it were, we shouldn’t be ramping down our efforts, but showing our support for those that still struggle to come out worldwide.
It’s dangerous to suggest we now have a world where coming out isn’t necessary.
Even in the UK, where we feel relatively safe as LGBT+ people, we still experience discrimination. The recent attack where a man was strangled and forced to say sorry for being gay, is evidence enough of that.
Don’t listen to Hammond
If we’re at work, or meeting a stranger, or posting a cute photo with our significant other online, we are coming out of the closest.
Every time we mention our gender identity or sexuality we are forced to out ourselves to the world. And we can never be sure whether we will get a positive or negative reaction.
Regardless of whether we make a huge ritual of our coming out or whether we send an email to family and friends, and keep it small, coming out remains a big part of our community, and until we’re fully accepted for being who we are it is something we will have to continue doing.
If you’re in the closet and are afraid of coming out, don’t be intimidated by messages like those of Hammond.
Or if coming out isn’t a big deal to you, that’s okay too! But, count yourself lucky that your circumstances are advantageous.
Hopefully, going forward we can all appreciate and respect the importance of coming out.
But we must strive towards a world where such gestures do not face hostility anywhere.
Until we do, don’t trivialize our struggle.
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