I am not a political anything. I rarely follow politics except during presidential campaign years and even then my self-education can be spotty at best. But I do consider myself a writer and Monday was National Coming out Day (NCOD). For anyone unfamiliar, NCOD was began in 1988 as a day to celebrate and embrace LGBT families living open, "out" lifestyles.
I came out myself in 1990 and have lived openly ever since. I remember reading about being out in the early 1990s. A magazine article I read or book I read at the time (my memory escapes me for the credit) stated that being out was a political statement. That statement gave me great pride to know that I was possibly living in a time of social upheaval and enlightenment.
From my perspective, the LGBT plight seemed to make great strides during the 1990s. Although Don't Ask Don't Tell seemed to be a set back and disappointment, it seemed to relax the witch hunting that was so prevalent in the military during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The 1990s were full of movies that brought our lives and experiences to the nations forethought. Philadelphia illustrated very serious concerns for the community. Tom Hanks' acceptance speech for Best Actor then inspired the very comical In & Out. Then came "Will & Grace" that carried us through eight years of the lives two gay men and the people in their lives.
All seemed to be well with the world. Most of the press about LGBT issues was positive and moving in the right direction. Marriage seemed to be our biggest hurdle. Gradually, municipalities were recognizing domestic partnerships. Many large companies started offering same-sex partner benefits. Slowly, voters are passing measures that allow same-sex marriages within their states.
And now we've come full circle. Just last week, three young people committed suicide amid stories of bullying and abuse. Nine individuals have been arrested in a gang beating. A gubernatorial candidate public states that homosexuality is not an option. In my world, I really did believe that we were past all of this. I (thankfully) have never been a victim to an anti-gay hate crime.
So here it is again, it seems, that it's a political statement to live an out and open life. And that's why I'm a writer. My purpose has been further revealed to me this week. If nothing else, I am writer to share my LGBT experience through the stories I have to tell. This new found purpose has breathed new life into my writing.
My challenge for you this week is to revisit your purpose and the reasons that you write (or do whatever you do). What is ultimately at stake if you ever decide to give it up?