Two years ago on National Coming Out Day, a friend of mine came out as ace. The courage he showed in doing so made me re-evaluate my own decision to stay in the closet, something I’d done since college, and is what ultimately inspired me to be public and vocal about my identity, and to work for ace representation in fiction.
Coming out isn’t a one-time thing, though. There are still people I know in real life that don’t know about my career and don’t see my online persona, and for each one of those people I have to decide whether I want to entrust them with this part of my identity. (I mean, sometimes it’s not relevant. But when people are asking me about my dating life, I sit there going, “Do I tell them I’m ace? Do I tell them I’m bi? Do I tell them that I’m a confirmed spinster and then endure their pitying gazes and reassurances of ‘You’ll find someone someday’? Do I just smile and nod and go along with whatever?”) And sometimes I have to come out to the same people twice, since I don’t talk about my orientation constantly and therefore every second I’m not talking about it, I automatically revert to straight.
Coming out is a difficult thing to do. It takes a lot of courage and endurance and spoons. So today, I want to pat everyone who’s done it on the back, because you did something amazing. I want to tell everyone who is choosing not to do it that I completely support you, because coming out is effing difficult even when you’re in a position like me, where you’re adult and established and relatively confident that there’s not going to be any major backlash about it. Not everyone has that luxury, and you should never feel like you have to do something that puts you in danger or makes you uncomfortable. And I want to tell everyone, “in” or “out”, that just because you told one person last week the Whole Story, if you’re feeling too worn out and beaten down to tell someone else the next week, that’s okay, too.
In honor of National Coming Out DayNo, really, I scheduled the auction to be this week to coincide with today!, I wanted to give back and find a way to help any queer teens who might be struggling today or any day. That’s why I organized YA Lifeline, a charity auction benefiting The Trevor Project, an amazing organization that provides support to LGBTQIA+ teens in crisis. You can learn more about the origin of the auction here, but the short version is that I wanted a way to counteract the damage that can be done by people who try to erase LGBT characters in fiction and make queer teens feel like they’re abnormal by preventing them from seeing characters like themselves represented in their favorite books. Bidding is open now through Sunday (October 16 at 11:55 PM EDT), and there’s all sorts of great stuff that you can bid on, from signed books and swag to query critiques and manuscript edits. There’s also an option to donate directly to The Trevor Project if you prefer.
Thank you so much to everyone who has donated to help support this wonderful organization and the LGBTQIA+ community. I hope that this National Coming Out Day, and in the years following, we can all help make the world a little bit better than the year before.
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