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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

National Coming Out Day

When I was a kid (just saying that makes me sound like an old lady. Grey hair on my head has nothing to do with it. Lol.) Anyway, when I was a kid, I had several gay friends. I toured with a singing and dancing troupe, al la Young Americans (and no one will know who they were, either!) and out of the thirty guys, more than twenty of them were gay. At that point in time, (the late seventies; see? Old.) coming out was potentially dangerous. Families could be a whole lot less accepting back then, too.

My friend Danny was this small person. In fact, when I read Rick R. Reed's book Big Love, Truman reminded me of Danny. He was slender and blond and so, so sweet. I loved Danny. We'd been getting ready to go on tour and suddenly Danny just wasn't there. Our director didn't know where his was, his really close friends didn't know. It was a week before we found out. Danny had been caught by his father with another boy, and his mother threw him out of the house. There weren't cellphones then and someone thrown out of the house, with no money, nothing but the clothes on his back.... I wish this story had a happy ending, I really do. But it doesn't. Danny hung himself in his dad's garage.

I'll never forget finding that out for as long as I live. I remember where I was, what I was wearing even. It changed something fundamental inside of me, like a switch was flipped. I think my future was set in that second. It made me a different person. I made my other friends swear to me they'd never do that, that they'd find a way to me before they did. I think it even made me more open to my husband. He was openly bi-sexual and from the moment I met him, I couldn't have cared less. We even checked out the same men and laughed about it. Patrick was the love of my life, his sexuality was a very minor part of that equation. My daughter used to bring her gay friends to come out to me, because she knew I was a 'safe zone' for them. One young gay couple came to cuddle on my couch, because they knew they could. But this isn't about me, not really.

The point of this long monologue? Today is national Coming Out day. For anyone coming out today? Good for you! I'm glad the world has changed enough that there is even something called 'national coming out' day. I hope it's a positive thing, that it's a safe thing. I hope if it isn't, you'll reach out to a friend and let them help you. There are families bogged down in a misunderstanding of Christiand teachings or political doctrine that still make coming out a scary, dangerous thing. Be safe, please. Be happy.

Above all else, be proud. Know that somewhere in Eastern Washington there's a middle aged lady who writes gay romance who is really proud of you.

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