Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Liberation Of Coming Out

Coming out for many adults is a terrifying event. Well...it can be. For some it's as easy as "yup, totally gay, deal with it" and then they move on. For others it's more like "Sooo..I am gay...do you hate me now" as we lay ducking down waiting for the trauma. 
Ok, well, maybe that is a little dramatic, but you get the metaphor anyhow.
Watching others get comfortable in their own skin is this beautiful thing that I truly derive happiness from. It's what gave me the strength to finally admit my own sexuality and it's something that I wear on my sleeve proudly. More like a badge of honor than something that is to be ashamed of. I have many men here in prison that have noticed my walk in here and despite my own thoughts of uselessness and worthlessness they continue to remind me of the role that I play in their lives. Just like I derive strength from others confidence, so do they draw from mine. 
I think that it's ok to be a little depressed, but we must not ever forget how important we are to our surroundings. Whether we like it or not we have a great impact with our actions rippling far and wide. Coming out is more than this little sentence that we say to loved ones, it's a statement of our boldness to heroicly accept the cards that we were dealt.
It's this way of telling the world "this is me and I am no longer going to pretend that I am this when I am truly that". I love the fact that as the next generation of human beings grow up that the idea of "coming out" is slowly becoming less of a big deal in most areas of the US, it's more like "your gay, so what, get over it." That sounds a little harsh, but that is the very idea of equality, that we are no longer judged based on our genetic differences. I like that idea to. That you don't need to tell your boss that you gay becuase your sexuality isn't seen as a deficiancy, unless you see it as such.
Other places in the world are not so lucky to be able to come out in such a nurturing environment. Not to say ours is perfect, in fact we have years to go, but its better then say Russia or China or parts of the middle east. In many countries they'll still kill you for it. That's a far stretch from our current place. Not to say that things can be any less traumatic. Its a bad thing for an entire family to disown someone and it happens frequently right here. But, my point is this, when you come out and the other people see you come out and it gives then courage for them to come out too then it spreads the acceptance level far and wide. It doesn't have to be a negative ripple effect.
Martin Luther King Jr. said from a jail cell that he doesn't usually take the time to reply to negative comments because if he did then he wouldn't have time to focus on the task at hand. That means that he was bombarded with so much hate and "no's" that he had to constantly block them out. The whole world seemed to be against his idea of "treat me fair!" But that didn't stop him and it certainly shouldn't stop us from being positive lights for others. Don't think that your coming out was for nothing or a selfish act. What you have done is been apart of history and you should be proud of that. 
When the world seems to not think that we should be allowed to marry, or to work certain jobs or be treated with dignity...just know that problem has been around for along time...and its solvable.

With Love

Jeff Utnage 823469

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