It’s October 11. In the United States, at least, it’s National Coming Out Day. I know of no such celebration in Canada but we’ve been ahead of the pack in most ways having to do with lgbtq-2 liberation.
For me, Coming Out Day was sometime in February of 1981. I had come crashing out to protest the police raids on Toronto bath houses, so I thought it best to come out to my parents, lest they see me on TV from one of the many protest marches.
I wrote them a letter. I wish I had saved a copy because, if I may say so, it was a model of a coming out letter!
Mom and Dad called me once they had received it, reassuring me that their love had not changed, and thanking me for my honesty. They also revealed that my brother, Craig, had come out to them a few years earlier but he had not disclosed to me, for good reason, ,as I had been involved with an evangelical church while at college.
AIDS was already doing its preliminary work, silently infecting people oblivious to its eventual horror. I was just sowing my oats, wild oats at that.
So most of my gay life has been lived in the shadow of HIV/AIDS, first other people’s, then my own. This has defined my activism and much of my life.
But I was just gay first.