Die or Come Out?

Hi to whoever is reading this, I’m alive. I’m lucky. Hi, my name is Clayton. I’m 22 years old, an IUPUC student, and I’m an openly gay man. And I am still alive somehow. So, what exactly is coming out? It’s the “The process of establishing a personal self-identity and communicating it to others” (Sexuality Now Embracing Diversity). Coming out is the most terrifying moment in any LGBTQ individual’s life. To be gay or bisexual or trans or queer is considered abnormal even today in a universal hetero-normative society. Our society in the U.S. is more tolerable but has not established itself as accepting. Coming out is still needed today to communicate with others in order to have support, acceptance, and safety. Several studies conducted from 1998-2011 have shown family rejection of LGBTQ teens are 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide. The risk of homelessness, drug use, and unprotected sex is much higher as well with rejection.

“Just stay in the closet or just be straight.” This does more than put us down, it terrifies us to come out. When people say this, it is ridiculous. First, sexual orientation is not a choice. Second, suicide and depression occurs with being in the closet, lying to families, friends, co-workers, and creates internalized homophobia and transphobia. Finally, this is caused by how our society dehumanizes homosexuality and non-binary genders. “Fuck you faggot! Oh, you’d like that wouldn’t you?” This is bullying. This is unacceptable. This is something no one cares about and people are DYING! Coming out is not flaunting one’s sexuality. It’s one the bravest things anyone could ever do. When someone comes out, they are facing death in the eye. Telling someone who you think loves you and might actually not after coming out is the scariest situation to be in. But times are changing they say and I almost want to believe that. But, is it? Is it really changing? Or are we just not talking about it anymore because we want to make ourselves believe 2017 means everyone is equal? No, no one is equal right now. If you don’t believe me, go watch a coming out video and the crying and terror people feel.

I am Clayton, I am openly gay, I am alive; and ANYONE who is reading this who is scared, please know that you are not alone. You can reach me through my YouTube video. Don’t ever feel pressure to come. You come out on your turf and when you WANT to come out, trust me, it will get better. Because even with all this hatred in the world, there is love out there too. I came out at 17 years old and I had friends there for me. Now, if you come out, you’ll have me and I’ll make sure we don’t die.

My video for the It Gets Better Project in 2014.

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