“Coming Out” is a Privileged Experience

This past Saturday was National Coming Out Day, a day that recognizes the triumph and accomplishments of the LGBTQ community, and furthermore pushing young queer youth to “come out,” and embrace their identities openly and wholly as they are.

Messages such as “coming out,” and “it gets better,” are widely propagated by the mainstream LGBT movement in America, telling young queer youth that they should live openly and their lives will be better for it.

However, not every queer person in our nation is able to live happily and openly. Many queer youth face hardships for coming out, and being out.

The mainstream gay rights movement is a movement that serves only upper class white queer people. The narratives we tell queer people about “coming out” and “it gets better,” as nice as they appear, only represent those who are normalized within white American culture. These narratives only put white people as the faces of the gay rights movement, which makes them money and power in society.

This movement silences POC, disabled, and lower class people. There is no “guidebook” on how to come out to immigrant families, to religious families, to families who don’t speak English, families that don’t know they’ve been affected by colonization. When I came out to my Muslim family, I was ostracized and dealt with fear for months.

Trans women of color especially are facing unemployment, homelessness, lack of healthcare, violence and even death. “Coming out” especially puts those in unsafe social environments in danger because a lot of young queer kids get kicked out of their homes and ostracized by their communities.

Unless we include the diversity of queer people, especially those facing violence, the concept of coming out remains to support those with privilege and power. A new message needs to be propagated by the LGBT movement – queer youth need helping trying to survive.

by ZAIN AHMED

image source: (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/ed/Logo_ncod_lg.png)

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