Three Stories of Coming Out

By Chantelle Archambault, October 11th, 2018 in

“Remember what it felt like when you saw a queer person owning it, and it gave you permission to be yourself? You’re that person to someone.”
@jpbrammer, New York, USA

In October 1988, National Coming Out Day (NCOD) was founded to celebrate individuals who publicly identify as 2SLGBTQ+ and/or queer. This October 11th—which marks the 30th anniversary of this milestone—will again be a day cheering for authenticity and bravery. When making a public declaration about one’s sexuality and gender identity, some folks receive an immediate celebration for displaying courage and strength. On the other hand, some testimonies are not warmly received, as illustrated by the countless stories of workplace discrimination, bullying, family rejection leading to homelessness, and physical violence (particularly against black trans women and gender-nonconforming men).

On this date, we acknowledge that there is no “right way” to come out and be out. Many 2SLGBTQ+ folks come out in silence, between the refusal of mainstream queer narratives to acknowledge their cultures, and the refusal of their cultures to acknowledge their sexualities and genders. Although coming out can be an important process because it makes 2SLGBTQ+ communities more visible, focusing so intensely on “coming out” places the burden on the individual to brave society rather than on society to secure the safety of the individual. Whatever decision a 2SLGBTQ+ individual makes about coming out, be there to support and encourage them—even if their decision does not align with popular ideas of what it means to “be out” on NCOD and everyday thereafter.

Whether you are in a position to “come out” or not, we want you to know that you are seen, you are recognized, and you are loved. In honour of celebrating who we are and who we want to be, the members of our 2SLGBTQ+ team have submitted writing pieces that explore their personal experiences with sexuality, gender and “coming out”.


woman wrapped in blue, pink and white trans pride flag

Ziva

As the heat was striking just like any other day of that summer in 2008. All I could hear the fan’s oscillator stuck again, the clock on the wall ticking as if it was ticking either my certain death or my rebirth. I was on the couch staring at my mom’s frightened face, my older brother was filled with judgment and fake empathy. As for my Dad, his eyes perfected pure hatred.
My sweat dropped so heavy on my lap as I was trying to hide my face.

I was asked to give an answer or I would let them decide my destiny. I kept battling every scary idea of what might happen next.

“Should I say? Would they understand? I want to throw myself in their arms and cry out the pain of 18 years feeling stuck in the wrong body” I thought to myself.

For a moment I imagined that they will take me to the doctor to start my journey and I could see it happening. I gathered few gasps remained in my chest and I said it out loud. “I am a girl” I said. Beams of empowerment were shedding the silence of that moment with music. My tears and sweat merged to an intimate dance. I believed I did the right thing.
Soon the music went lower as my dad was shouting out every insult and every spit of humiliation. I lived years after that being a prisoner of their hate and I planned my escape until it happened in 2014.

I am a girl! I am Trans! I am a feminist! I say, and as painful as it was going through that, Ziva would still do that all over again. She is one resilient b****.


close-up of man with beard, pink baseball cap, denim jacket, and necklace that says femme

“young queer kid” by Matt

young queer kid. remember how you wanted to dance on the rings of saturn.
and you would picture your legs transforming into this sexy see-through lace.
and you would imagine the way your feet would burn in the best way possible from all of your carefree dance moves.
and you would smile.
a smile so radiant and infectious that it would be confused with the prettiest and brightest purple lilacs that ever bloomed.
and then you stopped smiling.
and you stopped dancing on saturn’s rings.
because that straight parent told you to act like the boy you were supposed to be.
and that straight friend was too embarrassed to be around you because your voice was too high and too loud.
and the speed and the frequency at which you talked was to over-whelming.
and they marked you a sissy.
and questioned you.
turning your identity into an examination you had no way of ever studying for.
you failed them. and you thought you failed yourself.
because those straight institutions never told you that you could exist.
the hetero love that you learned was a prized display for the world.
it was 14 carat gold love.
and you. you were somehow wrong.
always changing the pronouns in your poems and pretending that your high school love letters didn’t exist because of him.
invalidating the ways you loved as if they ever existed in your embodiment.
but don’t worry. they will tell you it gets better.
you will be welcomed into a community of love and acceptance.
but then you do worry.
because you learn it doesn’t get better.
it only gets worse. meaner.
because you will finally be at an age where you will have the vocabulary to name your discriminations.
and this time.
it won’t be the straight system who tells you are wrong.
but rather your queer friend. your queer lover. your queer communities.
they will tell you that you are the worst kind of fag.
your femininity will be their joke.
your gapless thighs will make them vomit corporate rainbows.
you’ll plant your identities into the earth.
equal parts soil. equal parts water. equal parts naivety.
you’ll think that their love will nourish your roots. but no flowers will ever bloom.
they will always forgot to tend to your garden.
they will forgot about you.
and you must learn young queer kid.
that you can forget about them.
the same way they forgot about the femmes who were throwing bricks at stonewall, while masc boys were fucking in parks moaning over the chants for revolutionary freedom.
the same way they forgot to represent your fat body in any queer spaces making your identity the new “in” that prefaces “visible”.
the ways they forget to tell you that you are beautiful while young queer boys starve themselves following an instructional manual that is written in a language they cant read.
young queer kid. it is okay to bloom on your own.
to bloom as beautifully and dangerously as you have to for them to see you.
let your radical self-love be your resistance.
young queer kid. dance on the rings of saturn until your feet are filled with big beautiful blisters.
then bloom.
bloom into the biggest and prettiest flower you can be.
grow and grow and grow and grow. until you have grown so tall that you cant see or hear the people who told you that you are not valid.
young queer kid. you are valid.
you are special.
and you are loved.
if not by other people. then by you.


man against pink background holding feather pen

Yoshi

Coming out seems like just another day for me. I’ve been coming out to people I care about since I was 16. If there’s one thing I would like to share, it would be this post I wrote back in 2007 when I broke up with my first boyfriend. At the time, I had to write this hiding his gender. I wasn’t out at the time and I had to be careful with my words and my emotions just to feel safe. The other reason I want to share this post with folks is because I recently lost him to heart disease. You never forget your first love and this coming out day I share my feelings for a man I will always love… It’s that kind of love…

You walked into my life so tall,
Although you were actually quite short,
So fine and strong, you made me feel bold and free,
We were imperfect at times,
Making those moments a treasure no less,
We laughed, we cried, we smiled,
Never believing, never thinking,
Life would eventually quell us apart,

Time is precious, you taught me that,
Life ain’t fair, I told myself,
I soon felt these tears, tears you left behind,
On my shoulder, my cheeks, my hands and my life,
Bonds may have been broken, but spirits were entwined,
You know that love, the kind that never gives up,
The kind that will never say no, no matter how time holds each other apart,
He was that kind of love,
I’m proud of that kind of love, I’m proud to say I loved him!
I hope he knows that, somewhere up there in the clouds…