National Coming Out Day

Those who have read my blog (and between the lines) probably realize that I am a lesbian – big deal. That hardly defines who I am, but my life partner certainly defines my chosen family. So, on “National Coming Out Day” just to be sure anyone who reads the blog knows, I am happily partnered to another woman, and we would be married for the past 20 years if it were legal in the United States.

Why spend time on a weight-loss blog discussing my sexuality? Several reasons. First, I am distressed about the teen suicides resulting from bullying and want parents to know that it is beyond OK for their kids and relatives to be gay, and it is far from acceptable to tolerate bullying. It is also beyond difficult to grow up gay. I spent years struggling with my sexuality, especially as the daughter of an evangelical minister, and then entering a profession (medicine) that did not look kindly on gay physician’s in the late 70’s. I did not come out publicly while actively seeing patients. I hid – from my family, my friends, my colleagues, myself.

Second, I think hiding had much to do with gaining weight (100 pounds!)  during my residency, which is when I admitted to myself that I was gay. Did you know lesbians are 2-3 times more likely to be obese than straight women? This might be a generational phenomenon as homosexuality becomes less of a stigma, but given that gay kids are killing themselves and gays are brutalized for just for being gay, it’s still a stigma.

Third, I want to remind people that gay folks just want to be treated like anyone else – like any other American human. We want to be loved and respected for who we are – not because of our sexuality or in spite of it, but because we are humans in need of connection. We are your neighbors, your teachers, your housekeepers, your lawyers, your doctors, your congressmen, your clergy, your children.

If you do anything today, help to stop bullying of kids – bullying for any reason. Teach your children well.

 

Me, Dad and Sue at the Grand Canyon last week

 

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7 thoughts on “National Coming Out Day

  1. Yep, I realized:) But I did NOT know that statistic! Wow. And the bullying thing is very scary. And even worse now, I think, with the internet and texting. Sigh. Times are changing, slowly, and hopefully more change for the better than for the worse.

    • Thanks for the positive feedback and hug! I just listened to the City of Norman, OK Council Meeting, http://normanok.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=163 following which Zach Harrington killed himself over the hate speech. I was appalled and saddened and angered.

      If I were young and thin-skinned, I might run and hide, and if my neighbors shoved Christianity (not the Christianity that I grew up with) down my throat as hateful, shaming, Bible-thumping bull shit, no telling what I would have done. Everyone on the video who spoke out in ignorance (they all give their names and addresses) should be written a loving letter delineating how fucking stupid they are 🙂 and expressing how completely ignorant they are of the real meaning of Christianity, which they repeatedly espouse as the reason for blocking a proclamation. (Am I mad? You betcha…) Have I mentioned how much I hate Oklahoma?

  2. Jan, I second EVERYTHING you just said. HISD has had to update its bullying policy for the last couple of years, actually.
    On a more positive note, I just have to comment on how marvelous you look! And Sue, too, obviously – what a great photo!

  3. I think it is a shame that in a civilized country what sexual orientation a person defines their image for many people.

    Personally I need something better than race, sex or sexual orientation to feel superior to another person.

  4. When my kids were little and said something about two men holding hands being wierd we started having talks about love and how important it is for people to be able to be themselves and show their love. I taught them that there is nothing wrong with people loving each other – it is hate and making judgments about people who are different than ourselves that is wrong.

    My parents never said anything one way or the other about homosexuality, race or religion – in a way I grew up completely neutral and without prejudice. These days it seems like we have to talk about these issues with our kids because there is so much hate and judgment and misinformation spread everywhere. I wonder if that is why the bullying has become more open.

    When we were growing up the people (I now know are gay) in high school were not open about their sexuality, like you they hid it. Society then required that. Now the messages are so mixed, it takes real strength to be open and all kids are just not capable of that. One of my daughter’s friends who was a very popular kid in high school didn’t come out until college, so maybe not much has changed. On the other hand, my nephew attended the University of Idaho and was in a fraternity and came out and was accepted and very happy – so you just can’t make assumptions about these things.

    Well, I have gone on and on. I do think about this a lot being a Californian and so mad about how our state has handled Prop 8 . It is just so heartbreaking to hear about the bullying and suicides and having all the negative talk about same sex marriage can’t help. I hope that you and Sue will be able to be married someday soon.

  5. I personally don’t know any gay women but when I worked in Sydney many of my workmates were gay men and were lovely people taking time out to give me lifts home when i had no car while a lot of other people ign0red your plight and I walked home or waited on a dim lit street for a bus at 10 pm.. To each its own

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