National Coming Out Day
After an introduction we were treated to a great talk by our guest speaker, Professor Leila Rupp, Chair of the women's studies department. After that...well, basically for almost 3 hours people poured out their souls to the crowd. One after another people went up and shared their coming out stories and words of encouragement, some stories very happy and some very sad, and a lot of emotion in between. To hear my friends share their tales of hardships over coming out to their friends and their family, and then say through their tears that they think of us as their family and their strength here at UCSB was such a powerful thing, and I'm sort of getting choked up thinking about it as I write. The positive feeling of community even got me up there to share my own story, which I wasn't sure I'd have the nerve to do.
In addition to the open mic we had a large white cloth stabled to a plywood board that was meant for people to write on, be it a simple signature, a well-wishing, a poem or a paragraph. A lot of people came up to write on it, making it another big success of the rally. While all of the writings were funny, smart, and poignant, there was something on the board that struck a chord with me. Someone who signed their name only as "H" wrote: "not yet..."
I saw that and I thought, "wow, that's actually pretty deep." :-) Unless outed by circumstance or a meddling third party, we all come out on our own terms and at our own pace. I hope that whatever pace "H" chooses for him/herself, that when the big moment comes he/she has the same kind of awesome community supporting them that I'm proud to say I have.
Oh yeah, and we had rainbow sherbet!