What difference can one person’s story really make? Stories challenge and change us. They entertain and enlighten. The power of a story is as lasting as it is immeasurable.
The LGBT community stands where it does today because countless individuals—like you—chose to come out and to tell their stories. Mario Martino pioneered for us; Harvey Milk inspired us; Lilli Vincenz fought for us; and Ellen DeGeneres took us primetime. But it is the courage of countless others coming out in their homes, in their families, and in their communities that bring about real and lasting change. So, why share your coming out story? Tell it for you. Tell it for our community. Tell it for the future.
Share your story for yourself. The first step, of course, is coming out. Harvey Milk said, “Coming out is the most political thing you can do.” We would add it is the most personal, empowering, and unifying things you can do. It is personal—you first have to come out to yourself. You have to accept who you are. You own your story and define yourself. It is empowering—the phrase coming out suggests so much! You are coming out of hiding, out of secrecy, out of fear and intimidation. You are coming into a truer version of you and into a community of others who’ve experienced some of the same struggles you’ve been dealing with. It is unifying—not only does it bridge an internal disconnect, but it connects you to something larger than yourself. It connects you to a worldwide community of support and common purpose.
Share your story for our community. Remember the sleepless nights wondering how your family would react to you coming out? Remember the struggle making sure no one found out—blurring your words and editing your stories? Someone else knows those feelings. Countless others before you were closeted by that same fear and uncertainty. What did they do? They came out. They shared their story. You can find hope and reassurance in their stories. You can find comfort and courage in their stories. You can find community in their stories. What’s more—you can share your story and be a part of that hope and courage. There is an amazing quality about community—as much as it gives you, it allows you to give back.
Share your story for the future. As we experience the fruits of so many struggles before us—Edith Windsor, Alan Turing, Alan Rockway, Christine Jorgensen—realize that it is only by their story that we can really appreciate how far we’ve come. Years from now, people will look back to measure the progress of their own society. Let your story be a part of that progress. Time itself doesn’t change anything. Rather, it is what people like you choose to do in that time that brings about change and progress. Share your story and be a part of our narrative. To the person struggling to come out, to the parents grappling with their son or daughter coming out, and to the LGBT community and our allies building our narrative history—share your story.
Now sure what to say or how to get started? We've prepared some tips on how to share your story.