Tomorrow October 11th is National Coming Out Day. Each year The Human Rights Campaign along with countless other LGBT organizations encourages those who are closeted to come out. But more importantly they're encouraging the people on the receivng end to be tolerant and accepting of those who choose to disclose such an important aspect of their lives. HRC has a special guide to coming out for African-Americans with tons of great information on their website along with a video message focused on the importance of this life changing decision.
Coming out can be difficult because once you say those two words(I'm gay) out loud you can't take it back. I came out at 16 and it was simultaneously one of the most liberating and one of the most emotionally draining moments in my life. Leading a double life and lying to the people I cared about was not an option for me. No matter what the consequences were I personally knew that my closet was a place for my clothes and not for me to hide. If I acted ashamed of who I was then society would feel validated in their mistreatment of me and others who love as I do. My advice is to come out in your own time when you know exactly who you are and you're prepared to deal with the potential rejection from family and friends.
Luckily, times have changed even since I came out in 1996 and people are more informed. However, it's always a good idea to have a support system of people you trust and can turn to if need be.
There are plenty of resources and people who can help you on your journey. I decided to dig way back into my archives and re-post the very first video blog that I ever made titled "Living Authentically". It was originally created for abovethelife.com, a social networking website for black LGBT folks that no longer exists. In this video I share my coming out story and the positive effect coming out has had on my life. Hopefully you'll be inspired and find the courage to live your life open and honestly if you're not doing so already.