by: Khai Devon
When I came out, I was lucky. I was on a very supportive liberal-arts college campus, and my chosen extracurricular activity happens to be one that is full of people who like to push the limits and think of themselves as the liberal elite.
On the other hand, I also came out in the middle of one of the most conservative states in the union, and I grew up with a very conservative background. I’ve been out for a few years now, and I’ve met a lot of people who are also out. But I’ve met more people who are semi-out. People who are only out in certain situations. People who are only out to certain people. People who want to be out, but don’t feel safe enough. People who know the need to protect themselves. People who see the violent reactions that come with being out, and feel unsafe expressing their identities. This is an open letter to those people—the ones who aren’t quite ready to be brazenly out yet.
First and foremost—it’s okay. I get it. I don’t want you to think that I think it’s shameful that you are scared. It can be really daunting to come out, especially if you live in an area or around people who are full of prejudice.
There are, unfortunately, still people in this world who suck: people who are afraid of what lies beyond the narrow boundaries they’ve had drawn for them by a society that wants everything to be captured in twitter-length updates. And sometimes those people do bad things to those of us who don’t quite fit into a twitter feed. Anyone who tells you they’ve never been shamed or threatened or discriminated against because they’re not what another person expected is lying, and I will never lie to you. Some people do actually suck.
But most do not. See, that’s the thing. We hear about the ones who do, because that’s what people need to talk about, to get off their chest. We need to express our pain and anguish, to hear we’re not alone, to hear that we are safe and it is okay to be hurt and angry. What we don’t hear about is the good people. Most people, when you get right down to it, spend most of their time caring more about who you are than who you love. They don’t care if you are a girl who likes girls, or a boy who likes boys, or anything else you are.
Having spent five years living in ConservativeTown, ConservativeState, USA, and the 18 years before that growing up in ConservativeFamily of America, I can vouch for this. Oh, and the psychology degree probably might help convince you a little too. But I speak from experience.
Good people care that you are a kind, loving, open, generous, smart, funny person. They care that you have thoughts and feelings and jokes to tell and stories to share. The vast majority of people in this world care more about making sure you are safe and happy than about making sure you’re fucking the right way, or the right person. I know it doesn’t always look like it—and when pressed, some people vote against that belief—but when you get right down to it, most people don’t actually want to hurt you. They want to know you. And they’ll accept you where you are.
So it’s okay to be scared. But it’s also okay to take that chance, and be honest. Go for what you want. In my experience, it’s worth it. The freedom I feel when I can breathe easily being myself is worth the occasional moment of prejudice I may face, because I have also discovered the beauty of the human spirit, and the amount of human acceptance and love. Most people are awesome. Let them be.
And if you get too scared, or if you need to talk about something—find a queer. We’ll listen. Most of us are willing to help you through the process. It’s what we do. We listen, we share, we teach. You’re safe here—with all these people, just being people.
Khai Devon is a genderqueer pansexual in hir early twenties, about to embark on a life changing adventure, pursuing her dream of becoming a slam poet in Portland, Oregon. Sie writes blogs at disturbinglynormal.wordpress.com and duffelbagandadream.wordpress.com, updating whenever the words overflow.