National Coming Out Day is Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Queer Chocolatier is #outandopenforbusiness and my wife and I are out as queer ciswomen (I am bisexual and Cheri identifies as a lesbian). But we both had extremely different experiences in coming out. And everyone's experience is extremely unique to them as identities are complex and context is important. Coming out as queer is not the same as coming out as trans* is not the same as coming out gender non-conforming is not the same as a POC coming out as any one of those identities or orientations. In many cases, it is a privilege to come out that many cannot afford due to being multiply marginalized.
This is all to say the following if you identify as LGBTQIA2+:
- You don't owe anyone any explanation. Your life and lived experiences are your own and yours to control.
- You should keep your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health at the forefront of any decision regarding the hows, whys, whos, whens, and wheres of coming out. If you don't feel safe, do not succumb to any sort of pressure to come out to the people or in the environments that you do not feel safe.
- You are not less than anyone if you do not come out in a public sort of way.
- You are not better than others if you do come out.
- You do not have to come out to everyone in your life all at once in order to have "officially come out."
- You may feel like you need approval by those to whom you come out, but your truth does not change in a manner that is contingent upon their approval (you are who you are regardless).
- And if you never "officially come out," it doesn't make you any less queer. (Here is a wonderful article that will elaborate on that further.)
However, I do want to acknowledge the importance of visibility. With visibility, there is a space or a community that provides safety. There are role models from which others may learn. There are opportunities to rally around folx with similar experiences. I am in my mid (or late...) thirties and I learn from people who are out and who are older and younger than me every day.
Community inspires me like little else can.
We chose to make our business visible as a way to carve out space. If you want to share your story, visit with people who may have some shared perspectives and experiences, or if you just want a quiet place and moment to let the weight of the world come off your shoulders for a spell, please know that Cheri and I are here for you.
We see you.
We care about you.
Tomorrow, please feel free to come over to our shop. Come out for yourself or come out for chocolate. Just know that we're happy to see you and be seen by you.