Why Coming Out still matters

With every celebrity coming out, there are always people questioning why this is still a big deal, or how there is no straight pride day or any other possible comment of that sort. It’s 2014 and we should all be over that by now but the imperative word here is should because that’s not the reality.

Sure, if I could dream up a world, sexual orientation wouldn’t matter. We wouldn’t try to kill each other and so on but that’s not how it is. Teen suicides are still high. People get fired for their sexual orientation or identity. People are put in jail because they can’t help who they love, or they are even murdered for it. So I’d say, visibility does matter. And it will take us a long time until all of the above will not be an issue anymore. I’m not particularly sure I will see the day where homosexuality is not treated like a disease you can catch by standing too close to someone or by letting your kids watch a certain TV show.

And you can also tell how important it is for everyone to come out and be out. There is no openly gay professional soccer player in Germany that is still active. Only one high profile player had enough balls to out himself early this year, but he was already retired from the sport. It’s something male soccer players aren’t ‘allowed’ to be since it’s not fitting in with people’s definition of masculinity. Which os course is bullshit but how can we change this perception without visibility?

Same goes for football. After Michael Sam came out this month, his possibility of getting drafted in the NFL dropped considerably just because he is gay. That’s a fact.

















You can watch the full segment here. I love how Jon Stewart pokes holes in the argumentation of homophobes but it also saddens me because there are still too many people who actually believe homosexuality is a sin. It boggles my mind that my cousins grow up in a world where being called gay on the schoolyard is still meant as an insult. It makes me mad that I’m scared to be out at work even though it probably won’t be an issue but you can never know it before you say something. No straight person has to go through that.

It’s like immersion therapy, once enough people are out, it eventually can become the non-issue being gay is meant to be. So, I’m sorry straight people, but you will have to hear about prominent people’s coming until then because it’s still a struggle for most of us. Actually, Ellen Page summarised it all very eloquently in her HRC speech.

Plus, it gives us gays the chance to yell: I KNEW IT! every time one of our crushes comes out. Or maybe that’s just me. (Looking at you, Maria Bello and Ellen Page!)

Related post: Why?! #United4Marriage 

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  • Clément Polge

    I watched that Jon Stewart segment, I had only saw the gif, and it’s hilarious to see some dude get uncomfortable at the idea that he *might* get sexually objectified. ‘Cause you know, I’m sure none of those guys do THAT to women.

    ANYWAY, on top of everything you said, some jobs are openly unwelcoming of gay people, sports, sure, but even acting, where a lot of gay actor (men and women) feel the need to keep their love life hidden by fear of not getting a job. Those coming out kinda pave the way for those who will come after, in the hope that they will be able to live their life the way they want, without having to hide. Even beyond the societal impact of showing that “being gay is okay”, it’s also important because it helps make sexual orientation irrelevant to getting said job, as it should.

    And yes, it’s very infuriating when people reacts as if publicly coming out was stupid, I’ve seen a facebook comment actually saying “why do gay people feel the need to shout it on the roof ?”, which on top of being borderline homophobic is just so disconnected from the reality of the acceptation of homosexuality by our society today.

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      Nooo, men never objectify women ;) I have never heard of such a thing. But yes, it’s funny to see they are uncomfortable with being objectified yet it’s the most natural thing to do for a lot of people.

      And you’re right, some jobs are really unwelcoming to gay people and even a business like showbiz where one would assume homosexuality is no big deal begs to differ. It’s been over 10 years that Ellen publicly came out (and lost her show and didn’t work in TV for over 2 years) and still young actresses fear being authentic about their sexual orientation.

      I even read a comment about Ellen Page in the Adult Nerdfighter Group on FB, like he supposes this was all a publicity stunt since her career hasn’t been that great in recent year. *headdesk*

  • Tim

    I truly hope we reach a point in society where the following happens.

    Person A: I’m gay/lesbian.
    Person B: Cool. I’m hungry, let’s get gyros.

    Sure, it’s a big deal now in the grand scheme of things because there’s not as much acceptance of the LGBT community as their should be. I want it not to matter as a rule because everyone should be accepted.

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      I was fortunate enough that when I mentioned this to the coworker I share my office with, she was all NBD about. Sadly, this is still not the rule but like you, I really hope that one day being gay is as accepted as being human.

  • Vanessa

    Just because something is less common, or is a variation of a societal norm, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s harmful or not normal.
    The biggest issue for me is the lack of logic anti-gay proponents have. Ex. they see gay marriage as an attack on the values of marriage, but they have stood by for years as people get married on reality tv for money and fame, divorce rates and re-marriage skyrocket, and there are countless couples without children. Hell, mormons as a group are some of the most vocal anti-gay individuals, yet they changed their definition of marriage. When they do it it’s fine, but when two (not three or five) people love each other, no, it shouldn’t be changed for that.

    If you’re anti-gay, just stand up and give the real reason why. Say ‘yeah gay people make me uncomfortable for some stupid reason’ or ‘I’m just against it because my priest told me to be’. Don’t try to hide behind logic that makes no sense.

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      Yes to all of this. Homophobes usually come with a lot of flawed logic they should just own up to.

  • wlreed

    Lovely, wonderful post. And considering the legislation that almost got passed in Kansas and then in Idaho, I’d say it’s still tremendously important. If nothing else, it can give someone who is alienated the sense of not being so alone. Hearing Ellen Page’s speech made me feel good, so I can only imagine how it made a 15 year old girl or boy questioning their sexuality feel. Actually, I can’t even imagine it because I have never had to go through anything similar. There is still so much hate for gay people. I’ve heard people link homosexuality to everything from pedophilia to terrorism. It enrages me. My father outright said he couldn’t accept if one of his children was gay (good thing for me I was born hetero, eh?) I’ve always been so proud of my son for not thinking it was a big deal when one of his friends confessed to being trans. That’s a pretty rare mentality for a 19 year old, especially in my area of the world. It would be wonderful if we lived in a world where we could all just be people, but I don’t know if it will happen in my lifetime.

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      Oh yes, some legislations out there make me want to HULKSMASH everything!

      Mini!Me prayed to not be a lesbian when she grows up and look where it got me :D
      Yes, I’ve heard a lot of things about what homosexuality causes and just ugh. It always makes me sad when parents say they couldn’t handle their kids being gay, such a terrible thing to tell the ones you love.
      Your son sounds like a great dude but I guess it has a lot to do with the person who brought him up :)

  • cupitonians

    I hate that it HAS to matter because I never came out to my parents as straight. They think it’s absolutely normal that I check out men as well as women and when my teacher told my dad I was lesbian, he bought me a monster ice-cream! It’s not fair that sexual orientation actually matters to a job, it’s not something we have to put on our CVs and yet .. disgusting! Also, that speech made me teary eyed! So beautiful and I have always loved her. Good thing we get to keep her away from evil men ;)

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      Ellen Page is awesome, I always thought so. And you’re right, it’s stupid orientation has to matter. No straight person has to come out, it’s just an expected norm in our societies. It makes me really happy that your dad bought you a big ole’ ice cream for being a mini!lesbian even if you weren’t one.

  • cupitonians
    • Wilhelmina Upton

      I had seen gifs of this before but never the whole thing. He sums it all up very well and coming from and old white dude, it is even more impressive imo.