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Happy National Coming Out Day

Happy National Coming Out Day!

People that support gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered rights are twice as likely to know someone that is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered as someone that is against such laws. Therefore encouraging LGBT people to "come out" is a very important political movement.

Other research found that opinions are changed much more by a co-worker, friend, or neighbor coming out than a celebrity or public figure coming out or being outed. Therefore, coming out at work, in your neighborhood, and so on it much more important.

I've been out as bisexual since 1987. In my heart i've known I was interested in men and women since I can remember

It was actually today in 1987 that I came out publicly after attending the 1987 March on Washington for G/L rights claiming to be a "straight supporter". While driving to the march we were harassed and nearly beaten up at a gas station by some homophobic guys (I still remember one of them chasing my friend Matthew while yelling, "Ahhrrrre eeuuu a booah or ah guuurl!??" Luckily he reached the car before the guy caught up with him and we drove away as fast as we could. Later that weekend I was shocked to see the premier of The AIDS Quilt. It covered an area the size of 2-3 football fields. It was shocking. AIDS was still a "new disease" and a political "third rail" that nobody wanted to talk about. On the drive home from the march I decided that it was important to no longer hide. I came out of the closet.

A few weeks later I watched the Oscar-winning documentary called The Times of Harvey Milk (20 years prior to the release of the Gus Van Sant movie). After watching this documentary I decided to be an activist. I was involved in the LGB group at my university (I got the "B" added to the name, there was no "T" back then), after college I started organizations, created conferences, and worked on legislation.

It is a very different world today. Back then the thought of a TV show like "Will and Grace" or dozens of name-brand companies joining something like the "RED" campaign wouldn't even be considered.

And yet, being visibly "out' is difficult because the topic doesn't come up very often. Activists have written a wikipedia page about me that is very clear about my orientation. Yet, people are often surprised to learn that I'm bi, or that bisexuality exists outside of porn films or "girls gone wild" videos (funny, I've yet been asked to star in either). Two years ago a gay co-worker confessed that he was surprised when he met my (female) partner Chris because, "I thought you called your boyfriend 'Chris' as a cover story.'

So happy NCOD everyone! If you are "out", good for you. If you aren't "out" today is a great day to take that next step: If nobody knows, tell a friend. If your friends know, tell your family. If your family knows, tell your co-workers. Etc. Etc.

Come out, come out, whoever you are!

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funny, I've yet been asked to star in either
I’m quite sure my camera takes video. Just sayin’!

Sadly, the story of the no T then is both quite ugly and long. It is still not a done battle, as I was reminded just a week ago. It makes it really difficult for those of us who have identities described by more than one of the letters of the letters - I'm both trans and lesbian.

I was going to say...I'm quite sure the "T" existed at the time (not to mention the "I").

As I haven't met Chris, I actually didn't know which gender she was. Just never came up... and it could have gone either way :)

I figure that not knowing that, and not caring, for well over 5 years is a good sign for the cause.

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