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It seems more and more celebrities and sports stars are coming out of the closet these days (some we may wish would stay in) — but it does lead you to ponder if we need them to?
Do we need them to help us "normalise" LGBTQ in the world's eyes? Do we need them for younger people to look up to? Do we need them to come out at all?
We've seen a recent spate of famous/infamous "coming out's" and, whilst I personally think it's a good thing that we see more and more high profile folk standing tall and being open and honest, there are some ways and means of doing this that help or hinder the "cause." It does also beg the questions, what purpose does coming out publicly serve at all?
Firstly, let us look at why. We mere mortals may come out to our friends and family at some point. For me, that felt refreshing, being honest about who I was and not hiding things about myself, especially who I love and why. Now, we all know that this may go well or it may not — it may have disastrous consequences. Each person will get a different result and this is why it should be an individual's decision and not something forced upon them. But, from personal experience, it does feel better once it's done — believe me!
Now think about how much easier it may be if there are some high profile household names you could look to for inspiration — and not just you but the people you come out to. Would this help? Would it smooth the waters for you? Does it help? Does having some high profile couples and singletons out there actually help?
However, we don't live our life under the constant glare of media attention — who we date, what we wear, how often we get our bunions treated... You get the picture. So, now imagine what it must be like to be gay and closeted and feel that you can't be who you are publicly because of your career and how it's felt (sometimes by you, sometimes by your career advisors/managers) this could impact on your career and earning potential.
We’ve had a few recently where the individuals involved haven’t had much of a say in coming out — or have made use of a potential scandal to come out and possibly not made the best decision in linking the two, naming no names…
It can feel like living a lie is worth it for a while, to get yourself established and then come out and be honest. But at what cost? When is the best time to do this under those circumstances? I, for one, cannot possibly imagine that level of pressure added to the ones around telling your family and friends.
It also raises the question of how much right the public has to know you, the ins and outs of your life, all shared with total strangers, increasingly via the speedy medium of the web where publication is instant and gossip spreads like wildfire. That's a whole other article right there.
I do wish for a world where coming out isn't needed, where you don't have to do the whole statement thing that you like dick (or whatever your particular fancy is) but until then, I can't help feeling that the more visible we are the better — especially under the current regimes around the world, where some seem intent on legislating against hard won rights and pushing us back underground. Personally, that isn't going to happen — I don't do that kind of shade...