Today I was teaching a group of coaching students and I shared a personal story about my wife, Karen. The way I started the story was….”I’m not sure how many of you know this…but I am married to Karen. In fact, we have been married for just over two weeks….” And then I went on to tell the story. It was very matter-of-fact and since the group indirectly knew Karen, it was actually connecting the dots to bring the whole story together.
At the end of the day, one of the students said to me: “Hey, I didn’t know you were a lesbian.” Me: “yep, I am.”
He then shared how amazing it was to just watch me share that part of me. Just matter-of-fact, without concern of what people thought, or a reaction or worried about judgment. He said it was inspiring. He said it was a gamechanger. He said that he would like to be able to share who he is without worrying about how other’s felt about it. Wow. And he isn’t even gay. He is just talking regular stuff. His who. What he believes in. What he values.
Yesterday was National Coming Out Day. And I started to think — everyone has the place of vulnerability, the part of them that is difficult to put out there, the part they have to “come out” about, the part that risks being judged.
I can’t imagine not being able to be my real self. I can’t imagine hiding a part of who I am. So I won’t do it.
For those of us who are out — know that you inspire others. For those who aren’t out — know that you taking steps towards freedom as you are even considering the possibility of coming out.
We live in an interesting world. Karen and I are legal when we are in our North home — with New Jersey saying: “We see you. You are equal.” And then when we go to our South home — we are not legal and Florida says: “You are invisible. We don’t hold you in the same regard as others. You are not equal.” Two states…same country…different recognition.
Yet, we are the same people. The same love. The same contributors. The same visionaries. The same hopes and dreams. The same two working towards a better world. Our two states just don’t see it the same way.
I am going to continue to be a gamechanger. To stand in my who. To share what I know is the most beautiful thing. Love. I encourage you to do the same…no matter what you want to come out about. Happy Coming Out Day.