Today is the 25th annual National Coming Out Day, a day for every queer person to come out to somebody they care about (assuming they can safely do so). As I’ve been out of my closet for at least half a decade now, the list of people I care about who don’t know I’m queer as a three dollar bill is fairly short, if not non-existent. I guide and mentor queer youth for a living, and I’m training to be a counselor specifically for the queer community. I’m out and loud and proud, baby!
I’m sure that plenty of you are the same in your lives. Not just out of the closet but you burned the closet on your way out to make sure no one could force you back in. So what do people like us do on National Coming Out Day? Assuming we’re already out to the people we care about, I think the next step is to come out to the people who represent us. I’m talking about our elected officials. They need to be reminded that they represent all of their constituents, and many of those constituents are queer. So I’ve included my letter to my elected officials below. Feel free to copy, paste, and modify it as you see fit. Below the letter you’ll find the means to finding out who represents you in congress so you can tell them you’re out, proud, and voting.
Dear [Elected Official],
My name is Dorian Mooneyham and I am a resident of [your district, city, state, etc.]. I am writing to your office today to wish you a Happy National Coming Out Day. As you may know, this is a national holiday in which members of the LGBT community “come out” to people who are important in their lives. As an elected official who represents me in political matters, you are one of those people important to my way of living. So I would like to come out to you now.
I’m Dorian Mooneyham, and I am a bisexual and transgender woman.
What does this mean to you, my elected official?
It means I expect my representative to be supportive of equality, something I expect for all demographics, not just LGBT. I consider equality one of the lowest possible standards for humanity. It’s a founding principle of our country, best summed up by the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Originally “all men” only applied to white, male, land-owners but we have thankfully expanded that to included men and women of all classes, all races, all creeds, and all religious affiliations. No doubt each of the times we expanded that definition, there were those who cried that we were granting “special rights”, but the American people have always seen through that smoke screen eventually and wound up on the right side of history. I’m asking you today to remember that many of your constituents do not have the same rights as others.
I myself am getting married to my fiancé in two years. But because of my transgender status and the ambiguous nature of marriage equality in our country today, he and I are not even sure if it will be legally binding, despite the fact that we are a opposite sex couple. Until sex discrimination is eliminated from marriage, we will be forced to take expensive, redundant, legal steps to make sure that we are each other’s medical proxy. That we are the recipients of insurance and other financial matters if one of us should die. That both of us will be considered legal guardians when we adopt children.
I also work with LGBT teenagers for a living as part of a large non-profit organization. And I’m concerned about whether the bullying many of them face on a daily basis will be taken seriously in the legal sphere. Whether transgender students will be able to use the bathroom that is safest for them. Whether they will be able to secure a job or housing or education as they get older. Whether they’ll be protected from harmful and ineffective “conversion therapy” that their parents might attempt to force them into. Whether they will grow up in a country that accepts them as the productive, proud, outspoken, and passionate citizens they are destined to be, or if they will continue to live in this country as second class citizens.
LGBT citizens are productive and active members of American society. We deserve the same respect and rights as all straight and cisgender citizens. We are not asking to be treated any differently than anyone else, we only ask to be treated fairly. Regardless of what your personal views of LGBT identities may be, the overriding theme of American history has been equality for all. I only ask you to continue with that theme.
Click here to find out who your elected officials are. Personally mine are Ted Cruz (Boo) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (Yay!). Whoever you come out to today, I hope you have a wonderful and productive Coming Out Day. Just in case you need some inspiration, I’ll let Harvey Milk take over from here: