Tuesday 11th October is National Coming Out Day. James Allen (@jamesyjofa) gives us his views on coming out.
Today is National Coming Out day, an opportunity to recognise the diverse nature of our people and the various ways we express feelings.
Coming out can be a life changing event, not least because of the range of emotions involved. Being honest with yourself takes great strength, without thinking about how you can be honest and share your feelings with those closest around you.
This process is not just a one-off event. For many of us who identify as LGBT+ coming out is a regular part of life; when you meet new friends, get a new job, move to a new area, it starts all over again. And some of these new acquaintances will handle this openness in different ways.
I consider myself privileged to have had such a positive coming out with both my family and friends. Their words of encouragement mean I have the confidence to be me without pre-screening what I want to express. I know this experience is not replicated across the LGBT+ community, and many have struggles getting through daily life without fear of judgement.
Having a supportive family or network around you is vital, regardless of sexuality. Knowing we can just be ourselves around each other makes it easier to have quality conversations and work together. So how can we make things simply better?
Perhaps the biggest difference you can make today is by being a straight ally and being there for someone who might need to share their story.