Thursday, May 27, 2010

Coming out , a personal reflection

From earlier this morning...

It’s shortly after 6 a.m. in Ocean Beach. The birds are chirping. Dawn has broken over the beach, and I am sitting in the porch of our cottage here on Surf Road eating Greek yogurt with blackberries and blueberries, drinking black coffee and listening to NPR. Just another Thursday morning, except for the fact today marks nine years since I came out of the closet.

May 27, 2001, remains one of the most defining days of my life, but I honestly forgot about it until I was about halfway across the bay on the ferry to Ocean Beach last night. Deadlines, my super’s funeral on Tuesday and buying groceries and packing for Fire Island all contributed to this initial oversight. Is this progress?

On that rainy Sunday morning in the laundromat in Bristol, New Hampshire, I had no idea I would eventually live in New York City, make the majority of my livelihood through LGBT media and even manage a newspaper on Fire Island. As a 28-year-old gay man, my sexual orientation is simply a part of what defines me as a person. Paradoxically, however, the bulk of my reportage revolves around sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Is this progress?

Personal and even professional progress comes to those who find the courage to acknowledge who they are, but I am reminded almost every day this act of liberation often comes with risk. Jorge Steven López Mercado’s brutal murder last November in Puerto Rico, bloggers in the Middle East, Uganda and other countries who risk their freedom and potentially more to report on LGBT issues in their homelands and even local DJs who still think it is funny to make anti-gay jokes on the radio are among the myriad of things that remind me of the need to publicly acknowledge who you are. I remain tremendously fortunate and grateful to the people in my life who accept me as a gay man, but progress will only take place when everyone who is brave enough to acknowledge who they are receive the love, respect and most importantly acceptance they deserve.

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