Free to Be You and Me

I wanted to share a brief post about #NationalComingOutDay, which was yesterday. Many of my friends shared stories on their social media about their experiences of coming out and of wrestling with how to live into their gender and sexual identities in a world that doesn’t tend to support difference, fluidity, or authenticity. I want to honor and thank my friends and all those who have come before them, for their courage in defying convention when it comes to who we can love and who we can be. Your boldness gives all of us room to acknowledge the truth about gender and sexuality: that trying to fit into predetermined sexuality and gender boxes hurts all of us.

Yesterday, I shared a post for #DayofTheGirl about my niece London. She is a smart, spirited little girl. One of my biggest fears for her is that people will try to squash her natural energy and beauty by telling her she’s too loud or too disruptive or too opinionated or too daring. The conventional gender box for “feminine” doesn’t include being a powerful, whip-smart woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to say it and go after it. My nephew Lawrence is a stellar athlete – and also a quiet, sweet, sensitive and thoughtful man. I never want him to feel like he has to give up those qualities to prove that he’s someone else’s version of “masculine.”

National Coming Out Day matters to me as a cisgender, heterosexual woman because it’s about my liberation, too. I want and need the freedom to love who I want and to be who I am, and it is a daily struggle to fight for that space. So I stand in solidarity with my LGBTQIA+ friends, colleagues, and neighbors who are putting their hearts and minds and bodies on the line for equality and justice – because we win together, or not at all.

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