Years ago, I worked at Meijer, which is like Walmart but bigger and Michigan based. I worked on the "cheese wall" which meant I spent my entire shift putting cheese products up in the big refrigerated case near the grocery section.
One day, a guy from the grocery department approached me. We occasionally said hello to each other, but cheese mongering is a lonely road, so it's not like we were BFFs. He came up to me and said, "Hey. I have something I want to tell you. I'm gay."
We were in the middle of a huge Kraft sale, and I was really busy. So I said, "So?"
He explained to me then that I was the first person he had ever come out to. He wanted to practice before telling his parents that night. He was twenty-one years old. Imagine that for twenty-one years, you knew that there was something about you that people didn't like. And that in order to make everyone happy, you just had to deny that this part of you existed.
National Coming Out Day is a wonderful idea, but it's a sad one, as well. It's sad that every day isn't a good day to come out. It's sad that kids are still being mocked for their sexuality, resulting in the tragic consequences of the past weeks.
No kid should ever have to worry that their parents will stop loving them for being who they are. No one should ever be bullied into suicide over the way they were born or the way they weren't born, in the case of Transgendered individuals.
If you are a closeted gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or queergendered individual reading this, I hope that one day the world changes enough that you don't have to hide anymore.