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So You Came Out on April 1st


If you are reading this post, there is a good chance that you just came out as Queer (Trans*, Bi+, lesbian, gay, asexual, aromantic, non-binary gender, or some version of non-normative sexuality or gender) on Facebook. Under normal conditions, I would give you a hearty congratulations, an offer to treat you at Starbucks, and very likely a hug, because coming out can be one of the hardest things a person can do. And in an odd way, it bonds everyone who has to out themselves together. When I came out, people were there for me, and I want to be there for you.

But today is April First. And it looks like you may be coming out as a prank.
If that isn’t the case, and you simply chose today, read no further, as today is about you, and you should do you today.

An animated Gif of Tom from Parks and Rec twirling in a scarf, saying

Treat yo self gif, via

There is the possibility that you chose today to come out because you were scared of people’s responses and you wanted to gauge responses because you are not sure if it would be safe to come out. If this is the case, feel free to read no further, as this post is not about you. I do feel for you, and hope things get better for you, and that you are able to come out someday. I don’t think that this is a good move, but I don’t know you, your struggles, or your experience, so I can’t judge. So please, take the day to do self-care.

another TREAT YO SELF GIF. I like to write in themes.....

TREAT. YO. SELF. (another way to say self care) Gif via

But if you simply chose to “come out” as a prank, we must have words.

First, let me reassure you, you are doing a bad thing. This is not a case where you are disrupting cultural norms, being a good ally. Don’t say “but being queer isn’t bad” and expect that to make this OK. There is no way around it, you did a bad thing. You either thought people would believe you, and you would get your jollies from their outreach, or you thought they wouldn’t because being queer is a joke to you.

Lets assume the lesser of the two evils for a moment, and assume that you thought people would believe you. Instead of making a mockery of the struggle that so many people go through, you are appropriating it for a quick joke. Just ignore the people that reach out to you happy that you can be yourself that will be hurt when you tell them the truth. Just ignore the people struggling to come-out themselves that will see this and gain hope that they can live openly, who will be dashed when you let them in on the “joke”. Lets just focus on the fact that you are using something that people struggle with for years, that often ends in disownment or greater tragedy, as a way to mess with that same community. You are appropriating one of the hardest things to do, and for what, a quick laugh at the expense of the people that want you to be happy?

Grumpy cat saying

That is seriously messed up. (via keepcalm-o-matic)

Or, maybe you think that the entire coming out process is just a joke. You think that no one will believe you. After all, how could a normal person like yourself be queer?

You are not just making a mockery of a defining moment in countless peoples lives, you are making it so much harder for some people you care about. You are friends with at least one person who is in the closet. Probably a lot more, but I can guarantee at least one. For that one person, who you presumably care about, you have just made their life harder. You have made it harder for them to be themselves. You may think that they shouldn’t come out, or maybe that they should just fix themselves and be straight. You may even reject them if they come out.

If that’s the case, I guess I’m glad that you marked yourself as a bad person so easily. I hope that the people who were hurt by you can move on, and find better friends and loved ones. And I hope that maybe you will grow as a person, and one day maybe even earn back their love and trust. It would be easy to begin on that path, just start by apologizing for the post.

That’s no prank.

Featured Image via Bucks Happening 

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Ben is a former microbiology/medicine student, globetrotting humanist, traveling speaker, secular activist, current something?
He is also a Bisexual-cis-man.
Follow him at @BenSweaterVest.

1 Comment

  1. April 5, 2015 at 1:52 pm —

    I’d be interested in seeing a study on this sort of thing – that is to say, I’d like to know whether it acts as a wedge and makes things more acceptable in the broader public, or if indeed it makes things more difficult.

    I understand that the act may be emotionally rather insulting for us (me included – I’m still deep in the closet), but I would like to see some sociology on the phenomena.

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