You Don’t Have to Come Out Today


by Asam Ahmad

Today is National Coming Out Day. According to my Facebook feed, apparently this means I am supposed to encourage all my friends who are not “out” to stop living a life of shame and fear and secrecy and LIES and finally be who they really truly are and were meant to be. Once they do this, they will be welcomed into a liberatory utopia where racism and sexism and ableism and classism are not a thing, and be able to buy that brownhouse in Connecticut they’ve always wanted with a gay partner who looks just like them and host gay dinner parties and have a gay poodle and be really really gay like, all the time.

Not. We have a single narrative about what it means to be queer. This usually involves sitting your whole family down and announcing to them your “true” identity, because apparently your true identity is nothing more than a revelation of what you do with your genitals and who you do it with. Nowadays this is also supposed to include your friends, teachers from Pre-K to university professors, everyone you have ever had an interaction with in your life ever, and of course all of the social networking platforms you can mobilize to help you become the most liberated you there is. And apparently, this is also supposed to be a one-time thing, as if queerness and our relationship to our visibilities as queers is not always being negotiated and renegotiated.

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