For many of us, the idea of “coming out” is a nerve-wracking experience. Being queer in this world hasn’t always been and still isn’t widely accepted. Most people live multi-faceted lives and are often forced to come out multiple times in various ways throughout their lives. Usually, this happens before we’re even ready to announce this news to the world. As a result, we accept things we don’t deserve because we don’t yet know how to advocate for ourselves in those moments.
Just imagine how different life would be if we were able to come out of the closet on our own terms. The sky wouldn’t be our limit, but our starting point. We would walk with our heads that much higher and have much more confidence. An empowered person is a strong person who can turn around and empower others. They plant seeds of love that blossom into beautiful flowers. Helping someone see the beauty within themselves has a huge impact not only on that person but on the people around them. For this reason, the National Coming Out Day event is vital not only for our community but for the world.
National Coming Out Day is observed every year on October 11. This year Resource Center celebrated this holiday at Sue Ellen’s, a lesbian bar on Throckmorton Street. Center Stage, a door stood festooned with a pride flag. Each participant got the opportunity to walk through that door and come out to the world on their own terms.
This event was so empowering and affirming for the wide variety of people in attendance. It was a melting pot of gender identities, races, ages, and everything in-between. We got to see the pioneers, the older queers who paved the way for us to be able to even have an event like this. There was a mix of fabrics, sequins, feathers, and leather from wall to wall in the room. All those different senses of style came together in a fabulous kaleidoscope. Younger queer people, having been empowered by their elders, were able to then turn around and support those elders as they reclaimed their coming-out stories at this event. It was a moment of queer love and visibility.
This entire spectacular event was envisioned by D.R. Hanson, who wanted to create a space for people in our community to reclaim their coming out stories, which are often not remembered fondly. The inspiration came from his college RAs who used to make a point to celebrate their students coming out. This happened during a time when being gay was still highly taboo in academic settings, and most people wouldn’t even talk about being gay, so having a full-on celebration was certainly not the norm. These celebrations significantly impacted him, so he wanted to give others the same opportunity to control their own narrative. He collaborated with Aloe Johnson, the Director of Family and Community Empowerment Services here at Resource Center, and together, they created a night that the community will never forget. So many people saw the need for an event like this and came together to breathe life into this idea.
Meet Samuel Jones, FaCES Liaison
This National Coming Out Day event was an amazing way for Resource Center’s new Family and Community Empowerment Services (FaCES) department to introduce their program to the community. This introduction included Samuel Jones, the Center’s new community liaison—he’s a gem. At the event, he gave a moving speech about his own coming out experience as well as a rundown of how FaCES will benefit the community. In his new people-empowering role, Samuel will meet with community members one-on-one to help them find a safe space and any resources they might need.
With the help of Resource Center, lots of seeds were planted at this event. We can’t wait to see how they blossom and revitalize the beautiful, colorful garden that is our community. This event was a reminder of how far we’ve come, where we are, and where we want to go.
If you’d like more information about FaCES, please visit www.myresourcecenter.org or send Samuel Jones an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s a wonderful person and an amazing resource—and he’s looking forward to hearing from you.