Rainbow Cupcakes and Coming Out Parties
“Do you know what today is?” The PA leans over the back of a chair staring at me.
Click. Click. “Hmmm. National Coming Out Day!” I turn away from the computer doing my best manga bonzai wave.
“Besides that?" The PA looks annoyed. "It's Tuesday!"
Realization. “Oh, no Glee tonight. Sorry, that sucks.”
The PA leaves the office muttering under her breath about the unfairness of network television.
I go back to struggling with five words on the screen. Click. Delete. Click. Tap, tap, tap. Groan.
A few minutes later the teenage son, Rage, comes to the office.
“What are you doing?” Rage wanders around office.
I do my manga bonzai wave again. (What I am really doing is trying to compose a blog post for the day). "It's National Coming Out Day!"
“Huh. I bet they don’t teach that in public school.” (Rage is homeschooled).
So, yep, it’s National Coming Out Day. October is LGBTQ History Month. On October 20th is LGBT Youth Spirit Day— be sure to wear some purple that day. GayRomLit is happening October 13th – 16th. YaoiCon is October 21st – 23rd. It’s a cornucopia of LGBT events all around, including some Pride Events as well.
Lots of people are sharing coming out stories around the interwebs, including a lovely bit over at Jessewave.
So, as a proud member of the LGBTQ community and the parent of an LGBTQ child I wanted to share some thoughts. (I have got to tell you I have never spent this much time on a blog post ever). This issue is near and dear to me and my family. I raised my kids with no preconceptions of their sexuality. It was/is incredibly important to me that my children be accepted for who they are as individuals. When my child came out to me it was a fairly low-key conversation. The only request this child made of me was not to announce it to the world, which is sort of my M.O. when I get excited for my kids.
I have always had this wacky desire to throw a big "Coming Out" party ala debutante style. This child won't even let us sing "Happy Birthday" on that festive day, so throwing a big blow out gay dance party was definitely out of the question.
We would have these on hand for said party:
I have another child who once told me "Sorry to disaapoint you, I am not gay." Foiled again-- no coming out party. And just to clarify I am not disappointed. I just want my kids to be happy like every other parent out there.
I joke alot with my kids, family, and friends. But, coming out is not a joke. For a lot of people it is a painful experience. Some people are outed in cruel ways, some people are bullied, some kids are tossed out of their homes and shunned by their family. Some people never come to terms with their sexuality and live miserably because of the constructs of society. It's important to support the LGBTQ people around you.
PFLAG is an organization of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. They have local support groups across the U.S. and it's a great way to get involved and show support. The Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute is another great way to get involved in shaping the future of LGBTQ issues through public service leadership. Queer the Census is working towards a census that is inclusive of the LGBTQ community.
There are numerous ways to get involved. Most importantly accepting the people in your life for who they are. Adam Mehring over at TheDartmouth.com puts it more eloquently than I can at this point.
And if you are a parent of non-conforming child you really should read Raising My Rainbow-- it is one of my most favorite blogs. I spent several years raising a gender non-conformist child. It wasn't easy. I have always felt a bit guilty about talking a child out of pink cowboys boots in favor of red ones. Even progressive thinkers make mistakes.
Now go appreciate an LBGTQ person!
Oh, and if you are wondering WTF is a bonzai manga wave: