Happy coming out day, world. I think it’s important to remember that, among many other injustices that persist in 2012, people are still bullied, restricted, oppressed, and killed for being queer — both in our country and in too many others. Things are better in some specific places and on some specific days. Mostly that is due to the sacrifices of too many and the work of too few. “Thank you” is too little a thing to say to those people in either group, but that’s all there is to say, so thank you.
I don’t have a fun coming out story. It wasn’t exciting, it surprised no one, and it wasn’t at Thanksgiving. I like to think that I came out when I came out, you know, at birth. That’s not very realistic though; it was probably when at age five I started asking people to call me “Jason.” Though it may have been at age three when I told my entire gymnastics class that I was a boy. Most likely it was when I was Spiderman, Dracula, and Sherlock Holmes for Halloween, all of them twice. Sure, anyone can dress up like anything they want regardless of sexual identity. However, if you’re making bets on who’s not straight, the flower girl who asks if she can wear a tuxedo or, at the very least jeans, under her frilly white dress is probably not the worst choice.
If I had it to do all over again, I would have probably gone bigger with my coming out. I would have come out with a bang. Despite the fact I was born in New York, I know in my heart that the only true way to come out is to come out Texas-style. Below is a list of tips for the best little Coming Out Cotillion Ball/Gayabration/Queer Mitzvah that I can imagine. Feel free to use them if you find yourself in the position of wanting to, being ready, feeling physically safe enough, and feeling mentally classy enough to come out in this ostentatious fashion. If all of this flamboyance isn’t for you, there’s always a quiet, calm, discussion in a place you can easily leave if you need to at a time when you have support available.
1. Play “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross. There is no other song, no other music that will be necessary.
2. Find a large, elegant staircase to descend.
3. Practice walking down the stairs in whatever shoes you will be wearing at the time. The last thing you want to do is totally ruin your Coming Out into elite LGBTQ society by breaking a diamond encrusted heel, slipping on a slippery loafer sole, ripping your Toms, catching a flip-flop in a baluster, tripping on your New Balance laces, or stumbling in whatever kick-ass footwear you plan to don.
4. Speaking of what you’re wearing, I don’t like being told what to wear (see: flower girl dress incident), so I’m not going to tell you. Just remember you only do this once (most likely) so make it memorable. Comfort is key, but most people are comfortable when they look hot as hell. So think about things like ball gowns, three-piece suits, Adidas sweatsuits, neon, leather, headbands, satin gloves, vests, sequins, camo — honestly the right outfit can really remove the need for a lengthy discussion.
5. A t-shirt gun filled with “I’m gay” t-shirts speaks volumes.
6. It’s kind of rude not to serve food at a Coming Out Cotillion, but the amount of tiers on the cake is totally up to you.
7. Audition your announcer. You’d never guess how many people miss this critical step. No one wants their family and friends to suffer the horrifying fate of being accidentally told they’re “Michael Bay” instead of “gay.” It’s like being shot with a million blue-filtered agonizingly slow-motion bullets.
8. If you have your hair and makeup professionally done, ask for the “Not So Subtle Announcement About My Sexuality” package.
9. To save money, try to split a limo with other people who are also going to your Coming Out Cotillion.
10. If your parents promised to buy you a Range Rover, but they end up only getting you a Land Rover, don’t be a dick about it. The economy is really bad right now.
13. You are going to be pretty busy so assign someone the task of explaining, however long it may take, to your grandparents or other elderly relatives that by “girlfriend” you don’t mean “girl, friend.”
14. Don’t even think about using Arial, or any other skimpily narrow fonts, on the personalized candle favors in your gift bags.
15. Do not, under any circumstances, sign a release with an MTV producer.