National Coming Out Day

October 12, 2009 § Leave a comment

Musings on being a “professional homosexual”

Since delving into the world of social networking, I have observed people separate their accounts into personal, professional, or political. I have been a little self conscious about my choice of keeping my accounts somewhat integrated. I worry that I’m posting things that my online community won’t be interested in, won’t agree with, or will find inappropriate. Personally, I like to see people in three dimensions, and I prefer to represent myself in that light too.

This weekend, as I was watching the coverage of the National Equality March in Washington DC, I was inspired by the speeches and tweeting my favorite quotes as I watched. For those who follow me because of our professional connection, I wonder if I am perceived as crossing a boundary that they might think is at best a little annoying, and at worst offensive.

My wife and I were were the second couple to be married in 2004 in the Winter of Love. For a while we were quite literally poster children for marriage equality. A very romantic photo of us by the Golden Gate Bridge was blown up and plastered on bus stop billboards across San Francisco that year. We often joked that year that we were “professional homosexuals,” representing the movement for marriage equality.

While we were caught up in an extraordinary historical moment five years ago, my wife and I are  very ordinary people. We struggle to make ends meet and face life’s challenges like any other couple. We love each other and we are privileged to have what many other couples take for granted; a family who loves and embraces us, an employer who respects my relationship with my wife, and a life of relative safety and stability.

There are many same-sex couples who do not have such privilege, so I see it as a personal responsibility to be as out as I possibly can in order to help foster the social change to make the world a safe, nurturing, respectful place for everyone. I may push the boundaries of my professional relationships a bit by putting my whole self out there, but that is the purpose of Coming Out Day.

Moments like this are opportunities for those of us working for equality and civil rights to challenge people in every facet of our lives to recognize the very real ways that we are impacted by discrimination. While I respect some people’s need to draw boundaries between the personal and the professional, I hope that others respect my choice to integrate all of my selves and be entirely me.

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