Today, October 11th, marks the 28th National Coming Out Day, a holiday that highlights the potential power in coming out for LGBTQ people. It also highlights the ongoing homophobia, biphobia, and persistent challenges faced by LGBTQ people, whether they choose to ‘come out’ or not. In honor of this day, I want to share one of my coming out stories and how it has (re)shaped my understanding of homophobia.
Let’s rewind to a late October evening in 2014, I was on my way home from an organizing meeting. Although it wasn’t unusual for me to attend a meeting like this, the particular circumstances of this meeting felt much different. The meeting was to plan a march and rally for Juan Evans, a Black, trans activist who was arrested and harassed by East Point police. Juan had previously worked down the hall from me, but at that time, he was organizing with Solutions Not Punishment Coalition (SNaPCo), an organization that I deeply respect. Hearing the details of what the East Point Police Department did to him was jarring and saddening for me. Even though I care about all state violence against people, personally knowing someone hit me much harder.