Thank you to the clerks at my local Blockbuster store who rented me all of those lesbian movies when I was trying to figure out if I was a lesbian. You were always kind and professional and never gave me a sideways glance, even when I rented When Night Is Falling two times in a row for, ahem, “research.”
Thanks to Melissa Etheridge for her 2001 memoir The Truth Is … that I read and re-read when I was coming out. And for the album Yes I am, which turned 25 this year. If Melissa could announce to the world on the cover of an album that she was, I knew I could tell the people in my life that I was, too.
Thanks to the Indigo Girls. Along with Melissa, you provided the soundtrack to my coming out. Rites of Passage was so aptly named.
Thank you to Jessica Stein. I was coming out in real life when you were coming out in the movie Kissing Jessica Stein, even though you weren’t really gay and ended up with the guy at the end. Helen was super sexy. What were you thinking? Anyway, when I was sitting in the movie theater with my Raisinets and newfound knowledge, it was like we were both coming out together.
Thank you to my therapist who organized coming out groups for women married to men. I thought I was the only one in the world. And to all of those women who participated in those groups. It was an honor to come out alongside you.
Thanks to Sisters, the lesbian bar in Philadelphia, that provided a safe meeting place for people like me. And the cute bartender who always called me “hon.” (Yes, I know she called everyone “hon.”)
Thanks to Ellen and Billie Jean and Martina and k.d. and Rosie.
Thank you to my brother who told me he just wanted me to be happy. Seemingly small words that I still remember to this day.
Thanks to Xena: Warrior Princess, who I caught in reruns that summer. I drew my warrior strength from you. Aieeeeee!
Thank you to my friends who just nodded their heads. “Of course,” they all said.
And to my wife, who has to come out again and again because she’s not a butch like me. You do it with such grace and aplomb.
Thank you to all who came out before me and paved the way. The life I live today is possible because of you.
To everyone in my life who accepts me for who I am, you allow me to be myself every single day. You might not think you’re making a difference, but you are.
Happy National Coming Out Day!
(This post is an edited version of something I posted back in 2016.)
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Who do you need to thank for your coming out?