Why we come out

Zachary QuintoNational 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.

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  1. Posted October 17, 2011 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    I’d congratulate him, but I’m afraid that if I draw his attention he will cut my head open and steal my mutant power.

    • Posted October 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      I was just waiting for a commenter to call me out for celebrating a serial killer.

    • Posted October 21, 2011 at 12:06 am | Permalink

      Lol! I’m glad I’m not the only one who looked at him and could help seeing Sylar. (I congradulate him as well. It’s awesome that he is who he is. =) )

  2. Posted October 17, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Great post – I am sure loads of young men will appreciate his courage.

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