Yes, it's time: A woman's journey from the closet

Posted by Alexandra Caldwell on Mon, Jun 21, 2010 at 9:00 AM

In search of bravery

The fear I have is ridiculous and paralyzing. Especially because what I'm trying to write about is the need to overcome fear and the comfort of invisibility. But when it comes down to it, invisibility is comfortable. It feels safe. At least in its immediacy.

What I'm afraid of, exactly, I don't know. My own unknown, I guess. Hate. The unpredictability of people. But my fear turns me into a hypocrite.

What I want to say is that fear of the unknown breeds hate. Hate breeds fear of being known. Repeat.

A new civil rights revolution is brewing. It's upon us, whether you're a part of it, fear it, or don't even notice. It's crept into mainstream TV and movies. Nonchalant tolerance has embraced our youth. Rainbows, purples, pinks -- peacefully and silently, a stronger voice grows.

Orientation slips easier into invisibility than race, but that doesn't make it go away.

Invisibility can be warm, cozy and safe, yet also cold, isolating and dangerous. For a long time, it was safer to stay invisible. Too much hate versus not enough understanding. Invisibility was a matter of personal safety.

Not to say that the south is a particularly accepting and safe place, but... the tide is shifting. Slowly, but it is.

There is no longer power in invisibility. Hiding because of fear gives power to hate and perpetuates misunderstanding. It perpetuates the false idea of being a super-majority. Because we aren't as big of a minority as people may want to think. We're everywhere. We're your daughters and brothers, your friends, your coworkers and neighbors. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals. People.

Five states plus Washington D.C. have legalized same-sex marriage. Municipalities and businesses are adding "sexual orientation" to their anti-discrimination policies. So let's all stand up together. Let us no longer be invisible -- or even translucent, in the "everyone-close-to-me-knows-but-why-is-it-anyone-else's-business" way of thinking.

Why is it anyone's business? It's not, exactly, but why should we feel like we have to keep secrets? Who are we protecting? So many people justify homophobia because they don't think they know anyone who would be effected, so therefore homosexuals must all be weird, freaks or pedophiles.

Thus, they remain blind to our humanity. To our normalcy. To the fact that they already know and respect us, and interact with us on a daily basis. We segregate ourselves with our invisibility, and we can never have progress and equality until we aren't afraid to be seen for who we are. Until we show that who we love does not threaten anyone else who loves.

"Yes, but... "

Embracing a new world

Yes, but... it's scary. Yes, but... it's easier to “Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Yes, but... we have to let go of control.

Yes, but how will people act? Yes, but what if I get hurt? Yes, but how can I shed my invisibility cloak when I was invisible even to myself for so long?

Yes, but how can we change the world if we're afraid to admit who we are? Yes, but how can we fight hate and fear if we accept it? Yes, but how will we ever be equal if we don't allow ourselves to be?

Yes, it's time to visibly live by the principles I claim to have. Yes, it's time to respect myself the way I respect others who don't hide in invisibility. Yes, it's time to shed my own fear in order to fight fear.

Yes. It's time.

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