by JESSICA MAHMOUD
Originally published on Queersmatter.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m really out and proud about my identity, at least on my college campus. I really love this about myself and I’m very happy I’m out the closet and prideful. However, as great as it, sometimes, just like everything else in life, it does have its disadvantages. With these recent realizations, I decided to make a pro and con list. I’m not suggesting anyone go back into the closet, but I hope this might help someone considering coming out. If anything, I think it’ll be a great way to recognized one’s privilege.
1. Pro: Embracing Your Identity
I use the phrase “embracing your identity”all the time because I think it is a very life changing thing to do. When you finally embrace your attractions or feelings about yourself, you live your true self and be unapologetically you. It might sound cheesy, but it’s awesome. Take my word for it.
2. Con: Fear of Being Ridiculed
The LGBTQ community needs allies for support because, by some people, we are still looked at as a sin, weird, or just different. In a society where people just want to be “normal,” certain things put you at risk for being ridiculed. Examples include: walking around in clothes that express your identity, showing affection in a queer relationship in public, and practicing allyship in the wrong spaces. I’m not suggesting you don’t do these first two things; actually I promote it. However, a con of being out and proud is being treated differently or sometimes risking your safety when doing these things. I suggest just making sure you’re in safe spaces before choosing to do these things.
3. Pro: Finding Community
A big advantage to being out and proud is finding a community of people who identify the same way or within the same community. This can make for a great support system of people to help get through the struggles you may face with being out, but also a place where you don’t have to worry about them. While you certainly don’t have to even identify within the LGBTQ community to be part of a group of people who do, if you do identify, it’s a great group of people to surround yourself with.
4. Con: Dating Can Be Hard
You might be thinking: Well no, it’d be so much easier if you’re out about who you’re attracted to! This definitely isn’t a reason not to come out, but it does present challenges. One of them that I only realized recently, that we can see in movies such as Perks of Being a Wallflower, is this almost requirement to find someone who is also out. While there are plenty of people who are out, there are also plenty of people who are still in the closet. It’s hard to have a relationship with someone who is not as open about it as you are.
5. Pro: Education
The LGBTQ community is comprised of a lot more than just lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning. There are so many different sexual and romantic orientations as well as gender identities. Being out and proud, there’s a good chance you’ll have a desire to educate yourself more, which can really make you a lot more well-rounded and aware of the world around you.
6. Con: Labels
While I do not feel this way, some people believe that labels are a bad thing, especially because identity is oftentimes very fluid. When you’re out and proud, you may feel that you need to be out with a boxed term and be confined to it. This is totally not true, but some may see this is a con to coming out, and being out.
As someone out and proud, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I definitely think that there are pros and cons. However, I think it’s good to recognize the challenges and advantages to living this way. It is your choice how out you want to be, or if you want to come out at all. It’s your identity, and yours alone.
Jessica Mahmoud is a Journalism major with a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Studies minor. Her pronouns are she, her, hers, herself. As an aspiring activist, she hopes to use writing as an outlet to educate others.