“It’s so bloody frustrating to return from a romantic week-end and not be able to chat with your coworkers about it.” – “I’ve really had it with staying in the closet. But I don’t dare to come out on my fellow employees at the office.” – “People are always asking me about my lack of boyfriends, but how could I ever tell them about Sharon?”
Looks familiar? Mirroring your thoughts? OK, perhaps save the Sharon bit, but basically, sounds a lot like you after one beer too many on a rainy afternoon while sitting huddled and shunned in a bar sporting tasteless decoration and low-level 80s pop on the stereo? (The bar, not you. Even though that might be the case, too.) Well, if you like to get things done properly, rejoice: as every year, there’s a National Coming Out Day, well, coming your way. Last year’s motto having been “gay at work,” I should add. Like, be gay and be able to work at the same time. Wow, what a novel idea.
This joyful occasion is supposed to make it easier for (working) queers to leave the sticky embrace of the closet by feeling Accepted and Understood By Other People You Have Never Met But Share Your Very Same Problem, i.e. not being able to bloody make up your own mind if and when to introduce coworkers and friends to your secret sexual identity.
So everybody, don your power suits, get your rainbow ties and pink triangle pins out of that secret compartment in your closet, and be sure to greet everybody at work with the words “good morning, I am gay, how are you?” Don’t forget to pointedly stick out your little finger when having coffee, and whistling some George Michaels under your breath while signing contracts can’t be wrong, either. And mince. Mincing is important. Generally, just be as annoyingly gay as you’ve always wanted to be but never dared because, well, there wasn’t a date that told you to do so.
Use the weekend afterwards to arrange for a new identity and dye your hair a different colour. Get an accent, too, and nobody will remember that you’re actually the guy who was caught in the broom cabinet with much of John from Private Accounts in your mouth that last Thursday or whenever this year’s Coming Out Day will be. Fool-proof.
Actually, the very idea of communal, organised coming out is so sensible that I have to ask: why stop at gay coming out days? Where are all those other occasions that enable all those other sexual minorities to tell people about their hobbies and emotional landscapes? What about foot fetishists? What about geriatrophiles? What organisation cares enough to help compulsive undressers to drop their pants at the world, figuratively speaking? I suggest the introduction of a Coming Out Day for BDSM people, too, and I am looking forward to the Extreme Body Modification Weekend (explaining your attraction for cutting bits off you or your partner might be too complicated to be covered by one day only). And let’s not forget the Hetero Pride Parade everybody has been waiting for with bated breath. I’m sure the Catholic church would endorse it.
Hello. This isn’t Yemen. This isn’t 1950. Hello. If you define yourself this strongly by your sexuality to feel the urgent need to communicate your sexual orientation to each and everybody and his dog, do so on your own terms. If you worry about possible mobbing in the office – as if your coworkers actually gave a damn about who gets shafted or doesn’t get shafted, for that matter – but then accept a special date set by a third party (that’s probably too old to realise times have changed) for when to come out of the closet, well, in that case you should strongly consider joining the Skoptsi anyway. You’d probably have more fun, and I’m told the music’s better, too.
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