I feel like it’s a fairly universal truth in our culture that at some point in our youth someone told us to “just be yourself!” While it’s a fabulous notion in theory, it’s basically meaningless in execution. I’ve always known a few basic facts about myself: I’m sorta Jewish, kinda Polish, and if I went to Hogwarts I would definitely be a Ravenclaw. Beyond that the details get fuzzy. All I know is that when I figure something out about myself, and I mean really figure it out, I like to tell people about it. Endlessly.
It blows my mind (in a bad way) that countless people in our world don’t get to do that, but it blows my mind (in a good way) that we’ve dedicated a day to letting our friends, classmates, and fellow humans come out and say who they are.
National Coming Out Day was this last Friday and I’m always pretty excited to see what campus clubs have planned for the occasion. NCOD has been a pretty big deal in my life since high school. I was the leader of the GLBTA alliance in my school and have been an Ally since I found out that was a thing you could be. Some of my best friends in the world now and since high school have had to struggle with coming out and though I haven’t experienced that struggle first hand, I’ve seen how much stress it can put on a person.
My running theme in my blog posts always seems to be “little things you can do to contribute” whether it’s to giving aid local fire victims or expanding your cultural knowledge, and this post is no different; showing support for your friends doesn’t need to be a grand gesture (though grand gestures can be fantastic, especially if they include balloons) it can be as easy as reading a book!
I got a chance to visit a few clubs around campus that were participating in acknowledgment of the day including WSU’s very own English Club (YAWP) where two students (Alex Paulson and Meg Pellettiere) gave a joint presentation on GLBTA literature. They discussed a multitude of authors, their historical significance, and how they contributed to the genre while including some awesome recommendations including Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown, Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin, and Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde.
So even if you missed out on National Coming Out Day this year you can still get your support on by checking out some recommended literature! If you’re looking for a new perspective or a new genre then all three books are a great place to start. So go forth and read! And don’t forget to always be yourself, whatever the heck that entails!