Ways To Embrace Your Confidence on Coming Out Day 2016
By James Lancy, Live Wire Editor-In-Chief
On Tuesday, October 11 was coming out day for many in the LGBTQ community. Even though it’s not a day where queer folk necessarily have to come out, it’s highly encouraged.
I am certainly not the first queer member of the Live Wire staff to come out of the closet, at least to my friends, I’m certainly not the last. To be clear, I identify as a male of trans-experience who happens to be pansexual and panromantic. For those who aren’t familiar with the pan-prefix, the term can be described as only having an attraction to a person you have a strong emotional bond with. And even though it’s not my legal name, I feel comfortable with giving most people my preferred name, James. Currently, I’m not out to all of my immediate family for safety reasons. But thankfully, I don’t live with any of them.
I choose to surround myself with people who understand and are willing to accommodate me by calling me by my preferred name and making sure they use my preferred pronouns around me. But if they forget or slip, it’s no harm done. I can certainly understand that such a transition can be hard.
The day I came out to my friends in the Live Wire office, I was both terrified and relieved. Terrified that no one would accept me as I present myself, but relieved when I finally got it out and the fact that everyone smiled when I finished. My colleagues acted as if it were no big deal, which is how it should be.
So, what should you do if you have a friend come out to you?
Everyone who decides to come out will approach doing so in different ways. They will either be scared because they may think you’ll reject them, or they’ll be confident that you’ll understand. If they happen to come to you appearing nervous, comfort them. Let them know that everything will be okay. Try to make sure they know it’s safe to talk to you about anything, but don’t make assumptions right away. When they do come out, celebrate their bravery. Let them know that you’ll support them no matter what. If they come out as transgender like I did, ask them for their preferred pronouns, then use them.
The only advice I can offer is that if you want to come out to someone, just do it. Don’t be afraid to let your friends know who you really are. If they don’t want to support your personal life decisions, then they’re probably not your real friends. If they do accept you for who they just found out you are, then hold onto that friend for dear life (just don’t choke them to death).
Today is a day where everyone should feel free to be who they are. Enjoy it!