It’s 2019, so why do members of the LGBTQ+ community still feel like they have to come out? Everyone’s experience is different and of equal importance. Some describe their moment as a big reveal and a right of passage. Others describe a sense of duty to members of the community, a moral responsibility to demonstrate that they are not alone.
In a society so desperately moving away from labels, preconceptions and stereotypes, we can still be so obsessed with this one. Surely, coming out is a tired narrative. It enforces the idea that members of the community have anything to hide and demonstrates that heterosexuality is still presumed. While it’s important for people to celebrate their individuality, and announce to their friends, family and the world exactly who they really are – it seems at this point we should be wondering why they are presumed to be anything other than that.
Being able to come out can be a huge milestone. But it’s also an ongoing process. An often stressful string of occurrences, a continuing conversation, that people have to go through every day, to strangers, colleagues, friends and friends of friends.
Coming out shouldn’t and doesn’t impose an obligation to stick with one sexual orientation forever. As a society, we have created this environment where people are forced to “come out” and label their sexuality. The irony is that often, people are still discovering their sexual identities when they make such announcements and in many circumstances, while they may not be sure that they are gay, the certainty derives from the assurance they aren’t straight.
This is not to disregard the importance of representation, or the cathartic nature of coming out that benefits so many in coming to terms with who they are and sharing that with friends and family. Sexuality is fluid and society should be too.