queerness is awesome

Twice a year we set aside days to be queer in public. Once in June and once today, October 11. In June we have the weekend to be ourselves in public for Pride, an event started at a bar in New York where the police harassed the patrons until they stood up and made a revolutionary statement: let us drink in our own bar.

National Coming Out Day is different, because it’s not exactly for us in the same way. Pride is a space for ourselves where we can be without heterosexual cultural demands, where we can wear what we want and not feel constrained by externally imposed norms, for us to celebrate our lives and culture. National Coming Out Day is to try to change the idea of normativity and make ourselves safe in the larger world.

The queer movement recently has focused on insisting to straight people that we should be acceptable to them because we are just like them, but I see no reason why we should push to be like them rather than like ourselves. I think acceptance is a sad goal to aim for, and betrays the discomforts of so many members of our own community and the ways that we are taught to crave the acceptance of straight people as though they should be in a position to pass judgment upon us. I will not be satisfied with mere acceptance. Queerness is not a flaw to be tolerated, but something beautiful in itself.

I think the next step in National Coming Out Day beyond being out and visible wherever this is safe and practical is to love ourselves and our queerness, and to not ever apologize for this or diminish it. We live in a culture that works to crush this out of us, to force us into traditional heteropatriarchal gender and social roles by any means possible, to beat the queer out of us if not physically then psychologically, and as part of coming out of the closet and into ourselves we must love ourselves, and reject the idea that we should care about heterosexual approval as it is based on the premise of their superiority. This is perhaps the most revolutionary act we can commit: to love ourselves in a world where we are deemed unworthy of love, and to love ourselves for our queerness rather than in spite of it.

Queerness is awesome. Happy national coming out day!

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