Monday, October 11, 2010

National Coming Out Day

On the one hand, I certainly want to express solidarity with people of all sexual orientations, and particularly those who have to face prejudice and unfair treatment, loss of civil rights, and other abuses for theirs. On the other hand, I'm not entirely sure that stating my personal sexuality publicly really is the best way to do that.

It's not that I'm hesitant to mention it out of fear of repurcussions. (Though, with people being concerned about anything they post on the Internet becoming part of the public record forever, maybe I should be; and yet, nevertheless, I'm not: I'm bisexual. There, it's said.) It's just that that's not really relevant to what I want to say, which is that it just shouldn't matter. Your sexual orientation is as relevant to my opinion of you, or my estimation of what rights you should have, as is whether you prefer red or yellow apples. I'm not saying it's a bad idea for people to come out. I just feel that where we should be heading is to a point where no one even asks, and coming out is as relevant as any other statement you choose to make, or choose not to make, about yourself.

I realize the comparison isn't precisely fair, because even if everyone were suddenly enlightened, and didn't care what other people do in private where it has no effect on them, there are still public aspects to relationships: you are introduced to people and their families, you see them walking around together, etc. A person can choose not to disclose his preferred type of apple, but he can't entirely choose not to disclose what kind of partner he prefers, because you can easily go a lifetime never seeing your friend eat an apple, but you'll probably see who she brings to a party.

Then again, you can say the same thing about hair color. If my friend has a preference for redheads, he can't keep it a secret. He can't choose whether to "come out" about it; once I see he's bringing yet another redhead to a party, I'll figure it out. But that doesn't matter, because the odds that I, or anyone else, will hold against him his fascination with redheads is vanishingly slim. That is how we need to feel about sexual orientation. When we get there, National Coming Out Day will have become successfully obsolete.

(I'd also like to take this opportunity to direct you to an older post of mine about sexual orientation and civil rights. It is, for whatever reason, the most visited post in my entire blog's history, and I'm happy about that, because it makes an important argument that I think needs to be heard on a wider scale. I only wish I could find out where it's been linked from!)

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