Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I'm a day late for National Coming Out Day!

A little too straight postcard

Yesterday (Oct 11) was National Coming Out Day, and I missed doing a post about it on time! Oops! Better late than never, I hope. This fabulous postcard is from Syracuse Cultural Workers, a great organization with excellent progressive postcards. This one reads "Unfortunately, history has set the record a little too straight" and references 10 famous LGBT/queer people in history. They are, from left to right, top row: James Baldwin/writer, Willa Cather/writer, Errol Flynn/actor, Michaelangelo/artist, Edna St. Vincent Millay/poet; bottom row: Cole Porter/composer, Eleanor Roosevelt/social activist, Bessie Smith/singer, Walt Whitman/poet, Virginia Woolf/writer.

a little too straight postcard, back

I often feel admiration for someone who is "out" openly and casually in mail-type internet settings, such as on a Postcrossing or Swap-bot profile. In the past I've been tempted to come out on this blog, but have held back because I want the focus of this blog to be on mail, not on me and my personal life. And I admit, I'm well aware that it's one of those things that once I put "out there," I can't take back. But I am mostly "out" in the aspects of my life where people come into personal contact with me - at work, with friends and most family, etc - so in a sense, I'm putting this out there for people who know more of my online persona than the real me, per se. I digress. Every time I see one of those little casual out mentions, I contemplate what I'm doing in this post. A lot over the past year I've been thinking how important visibility is, especially with the USA making so many wonderful, positive civil rights changes like repealing "Don't ask, don't tell" and promoting marriage equality in so many states. A lot of people can be casual in how they come out by referencing a partner, but my referencing my husband (I don't mention him often, for aforementioned privacy reasons) doesn't tell our whole story. I am bisexual and he is transgender. We do not consider ourselves a straight couple. I do not want this blog to become about me, and I don't want to grandstand by getting into any complicated explanations that don't have anything to do with mail or letter writing, but I am thinking it is time to just put it out there. I've come out to some of my pen pals, and not to others, and I am honestly reaching the point where in some cases, I forget to whom I've come out and to whom I haven't! So now anyone who reads this blog knows. I hope every single person who comes out, on National Coming Out day or any other day, makes it a little bit easier for everyone else in the world to come out, too, if they want to, and to lead normal, happy, hate-free lives.

So now, may my own record not be set a little too straight!

28 comments:

  1. Aww Ilona, reading this post really made me smile! <3 Thank you for sharing.
    And that postcard is awesome!

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  2. Good for you. I live in western Oregon, where sexual preference is pretty much a non-issue. I have friends who live in another state who are in their late 40s and very closeted. They feel that their families would disown them and they would lose contact with their nieces and nephews if they came out. It's absolutely tragic.

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  3. This is an amazing postcard and a really powerful post, thank you for sharing and being brave enough to put this out in the open! Hopefully some day it will not require bravery for people to be open and out because it will be considered an acceptable norm, fully embraced by the world.

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  4. Love the postcard and thank you for shareing. I agree with James three cheers :)

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  5. I'm glad you came out. :) Just yesterday me and my sister discussed about homosexual and bisexual people. I thought it was harder for them to find a partner, but my sister told it isn't, because they hang out with similar people. I really respect all people are they homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual.

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  6. As the old Seneca saying goes "Thank you for being"

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  7. So happy to read this post! Every time someone comes out, it makes all of us who support hate-free living all the braver. Thank you!

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  8. Great post and great postcard. It happens I picked up an old New Yorker at the salon this morning, with photos from the first day of weddings under NY's new equality-in-marriage law. One couple, she's 77 and she's 75, have "been engaged for 36 years." Gotta love it!

    Blessings to you and your spouse.

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  9. One of my teachers in high school had this as a poster in her classroom. :) Happy National Coming Out Day! I did my part to at least mention it to my friends, although I was a little surprised when my roommate asked if there was something I wanted to tell her when I said that. (Uh. It's complicated. Mostly straight?) Thanks for coming out to us and not letting history set you too straight, either.

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  10. Love the postcard, love this post. Never be afraid to share with others who you are: If they don't like it, then that's their problem, not yours (and probably makes them not worth knowing, anyhow).
    ~S.

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  11. I love the postcard, and everything Syracuse Cultural Workers do. Yay for you. It's bold to make the statement, and then, continue on being fabulous.

    Nicely done!

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  12. fabulous. i had been thinking recently how tv viewers in the end haven't been freaking out about chaz bono (besides being overweight) on dancing with the stars. it is a subtle thing but something important. i worked for a very conservative company back east and told them I am bisexual (I'm not) so that they could never crack a joke around me without the risk of a hostile work environment. It was great. Happy days with you and your hun.

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  13. I don't understand. It has never occurred to me to say to anyone, "I am XYX." People like or dislike us for how we are, not who we love or have sex with. I wish you never had to feel the need to "come out." It's sad. The military thing is even sadder. People put their lives on the line for an entire country, and we should care about their private sexual lives?

    I wish sex offenders would come out and say, "Hey, ya gotta watch me--especially around your kids." Or why won't murders say, "Hey, I've killed enough to be a serial killer."

    Okay. My turn. I am celibate. You're in such good company MM. ;) I hope your heart is easier now. People like you because you are you. Write on. :)

    Don't you think our country has turned the corner on this issue? I'm rather proud of us.

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  14. I liked you before. I like you now. Thank you for trusting us with more of yourself

    Sharon

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  15. Thank you all so much for your kind words. I did lose two blog followers over this post (good riddance, eh?), but the only comments I've received have been awesome and totally supportive, and I really, truly appreciate it.

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  16. I can't believe people would unfollow you! I would follow you a second time in extra support of this post if I could :)

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  17. Unfollowed because of this post? Good riddance indeed, I think you are wonderful I did before I do now and I will in the future.

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  18. My respect for you has deepened and I'm glad to see you receive such wonderful support! I follow author Patti Digh and she did a wonderful post in August about intolerance. http://www.37days.com/2011/08/i-am-intolerant-of-your-intolerance.html

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  19. Well said, well said - to MM and positive followers; pooh-pooh the rest!! I've been a big supporter of SCW for years - all the right stuff. Catwrangler, you crack me up again; I used to tell my aunt and cousins I was a lesbian just to shut them up when they hassled me why I didn't have a boyfriend, and to constantly question their beliefs (happy to play devil's advocate any and every time I can) about where happiness really lies. Thanks again MM.

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  20. I can't say it better than Limner, so, again, people like you because of who you are. Thank you for sharing even more of who you are with this post.

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  21. Love it, MM.
    My daughter came out several years ago to family and some others. She and her partner are happy together, and that makes me so very happy.
    I hope that, some day soon, everyone can just be themselves, and "coming out" will be obsolete.

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  22. Awesome! My father is gay and had a hard time raising myself and my brothers all on his own in a time when he was most definitely not accepted for who he is. I am so happy to see that wonderful people are being accepted for who they are and not what gender they are biologically attracted to! As my mother in law always says "who cares about what people do in the bedroom!" CHEERS!

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  23. Happy coming out day! Queer letter bloggers unite!

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  24. from one cat loving queer (I'm bi) Jew to another

    YOU ROCK!

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  25. You're late, but I'm later. :)

    Thanks for sharing this important bit of yourself with us! Sorry to hear that some folks left. The funny part is that you're the same person you were before you posted this. The sad part is that they've closed off themselves to the great postal mail talk here.

    I work and pray for the day that people won't care about sexual/gender orientation and will be able to focus on the important things, like making the world smaller with letters and postcards.

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