by Mia McKenzie
It’s National Coming Out Day. I’ve been “out” since I was 21. I came out in London while studying abroad. It was a great experience, coming out in a fabulous city like that, and my memories of early outness are great ones. I also have had the great fortune to have mostly very good coming out experiences with my family. Coming out for me has been pretty fantastic almost across the board. I know. I’m lucky. Really lucky. (Sending mad love to everyone who hasn’t been as lucky, and mad props for your bravery in choosing to live a bold queer life anyway.)
For those of you who, like me, have been out for a long time, National Coming Out Day can perhaps feel a little less cathartic than for our younger or just later-to-the game counterparts. So, on this day of bold expression of who we are, I’ve compiled this short list of just a few other things we might take this opportunity to come out as, along with coming out queer and/or trans*.
1. Prison Abolitionists
If you’ve been out forever, then take this day as a chance to come out, boldly and proudly, against the Prison Industrial Complex. You know, the system of locking up people (disproportionately black and brown people) in cages and making millions and millions of dollars from it. You’re not for that, right? Well, then! Tell everybody!
Why not spend some time today asserting your feminist identity? Take a minute to share your feminist thoughts on the wage gap, abortion rights, and patriarchy in general. If you’re a male-identified person, I will give you two extra points for doing this. What are the points good for, you ask? Well, nothing. You don’t get extra credit for doing what you’re supposed to do! Stop trippin.
Think racism sucks? OMG, me too! Why not come out as anti-racist? Explain to your less-clued-in friends what racism actually is (if you know; if you don’t know, read up first), then tell them why it’s bad and how they can begin the process of unlearning it!
Sick of people telling other people how their bodies should look? Yeah, that shit sucks. Consider coming out as pro-fat and show support for people of all sizes. There is no wrong way to have a body! Say it loud!
Are you radical in your politics? Do you have a lot of “liberal” friends? Do you often see a difference in their take on things as compared to yours? Do these differences leave you feeling…unsatisfied? Come out as radical! Tell them you’re not voting for Obama and why. Let ‘em know why you didn’t show up for Pride this year, and why you won’t wear that “marriage equality” button. They may look at you funny, but remember: being looked at funny is the gateway to genius.
Happy National Coming Out Day!
Mia McKenzie is a writer and a smart, scrappy Philadelphian with a deep love of vegan pomegranate ice cream and fake fur collars. She is a black feminist and a freaking queer, facts that are often reflected in her writings, which have won her some awards and grants, such as the Astraea Foundation’s Writers Fund Award and the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award. She has a novel debuting in the fall and has a short story forthcoming in The Kenyon Review. Her work has been published at Jezebel.com, and recommended by The Root, Colorlines, Feministing, Angry Asian Man, and Crunk Feminist Collective. She is a nerd, and the creator of Black Girl Dangerous, a revolutionary blog.
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Congratulations to BGD creator Mia McKenzie, whose novel, The Summer We Got Free, is the WINNER of the Lambda Literary Award! Get It Here