National Coming Out Day was last week, and on Sunday Zachary Quinto (Spock 2) came out in a New York Magazine interview. It’s been a good couple weeks for the geeky gays – Sean Maher (Dr. Simon Tam on Firefly/Serenity, of which I am a huge fan) came out recently as well.
Quinto posted about why he came out on his blog, and I think his words say a lot about why coming out is so important:
when i found out that jamey rodemeyer killed himself – i felt deeply troubled. but when i found out that jamey rodemeyer had made an it gets better video only months before taking his own life – i felt indescribable despair. i also made an it gets better video last year – in the wake of the senseless and tragic gay teen suicides that were sweeping the nation at the time. but in light of jamey’s death – it became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it – is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality…
i believe in the power of intention to change the landscape of our society – and it is my intention to live an authentic life of compassion and integrity and action. jamey rodemeyer’s life changed mine. and while his death only makes me wish that i had done this sooner – i am eternally grateful to him for being the catalyst for change within me. now i can only hope to serve as the same catalyst for even one other person in this world. that – i believe – is all that we can ask of ourselves and of each other.
People come out for a lot of reasons. The decision has to be a personal one, has to be about wanting to live our own lives openly and honestly. But a big reason is the power that telling one story can have in another person’s life. I’ve been publicly out as trans for a couple years now, but I still feel a jolt every time I meet an out trans woman who is finding success and living her life happily – it helps me think I really can do this. This is why I tell my story – I want to have the same impact on the next generation.
As I have written before, there is an extraordinary power in telling our stories. It humanizes the issue for people in our lives, and gives them an example of a real person who’s queer or trans, instead of a hateful stereotype. This can be so important in the life of a young person, especially one who’s queer or trans themselves. They get to see that they could actually exist, could live a life, could be loved.
When I hear, “Won’t somebody think of the children?” I think, “Yes, that’s why I’m out!” I’m very happy to see a celebrity like Quinto say the same thing. Congratulations and thank you to both Quinto and Maher for sharing their truth.