Tag Archives: coming out

A Speech to Queer High School Activists

by Alok Vaid-Menon, ’13

Note on terminology: Throughout this text I will be using the word ‘queer.’ I do not mean to use ‘queer’ as a derogatory or negative term, rather I use it as an umbrella term for sexualities and gender-identities that are not heterosexual (when one is attracted to members of the ‘opposite’ ‘sex’) or cisgender (when the gender someone is assigned at birth aligns with their psychological feeling of their gender).

Flawed Paradigms

What comes to mind when you think of the ‘gay’ movement? Chances are you think of the Human Rights Campaign and their “gosh-darnit this is so aesthetically pleasing” ‘equality’ sticker – the very sticker you were so proud of yourself for sticking on the back of your mom’s minivan that you drive to school. Chances are you think of marriage equality: of the ‘State’ ‘denying’ gay people their very integrity and going against ‘true love.’ What comes to mind when you think of gay ‘activists’ who compose our movement? Chances are you think of people participating in protests and rallies screaming into megaphones demanding full and equal rights. You might think of a Pride Parade with gorgeous and fit gay people dressed up with all their reckless fabulosity.

But ask yourself: What would change in your life right now if the Supreme Court ruled that banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and that every State in the United States now had to legalize same-sex marriage?

My guess is that after your cried tears of joy, felt a delicious burst of self-affirmation in your heart, texted all your friends, and kept the news on all night, you would recognize that very little in your day-to-day life would change. Continue reading

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On Coming Out

by Zahra Axinn, ’12

Albert Einstein said that “insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results”.

In this phrase, Einstein—perhaps inadvertently—describes to me the process of coming out. People ask me the question, “When did you come out?”. It is a common misconception that “coming out” is somehow a contained moment, yet this trying exercise in “coming out” has been going on for well over six years for me.

The whole concept continues to baffle me. How are you supposed to answer such a question with an answer—one that encompasses your emotions, your body, the deepest corners of your heart—in words, in a label. How can something so personal be distilled? I am boundlessly fortunate to have around me people who cherish me for who I am and have made it possible me to thrive, and yet this process has still been difficult.

Over these years, I’ve asked myself questions of what it means to be “out”, what to “come out” as, whether I was “out” enough, whether I was too “out”. The concept of being “out” comes wrapped in the idea of “passing” too. How many times have I let people make little assumptions about me, about my identity? How many times have I allowed myself to make decisions based on some idea of who I thought people saw me as? How many times have I been afraid to be who I am? Continue reading

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