Today is National Coming Out day! Today is a great day in which we look to our fellow gay community to celebrate being who you are, and letting everyone know how proud you are to be who you are. Coming out is the best way to not only be yourself, but also to bring visibility to the gay community as a whole; people get to see just how many of us there are among them. Coming out is a celebration, and a giant step in the life of any gay man, lesbian woman, trans individual, bisexual person, or questioning person.

Let’s not forget, however, that coming out is an intensely powerful statement, not only to oneself, but also to those around them. Coming out to yourself is a monumental step for every single LGBTQ person, and it is one that often takes years of struggle, soul searching, and coming to terms with your own identity. There are those of us that find it easy to come out, and there are those of us that struggle for years, even a lifetime, to either come out to ourselves, or to those around us (or both). Some people struggle with this more than others, and remember, especially on days like this, that they deserve our love and support, because they are grappling with understanding and embracing their very fundamental being.

I write about this so that people who have not come out, and thus cannot fully and truly understand the powerful ramifications coming out has to a queer person, can better grasp the magnitude of such a statement. I also write about this, so that we can share in understanding just how much of a celebration this day should be; and anyone’s coming out day, for that matter.

I. Am. Gay. While it’s something that seems so small and innocent, it is in fact something that is not only hard to say, but it can be almost impossible to accept for oneself, as well as for those around them.

Honor those that speak loudly about who they are, and be proud of those that represent us in the public eye. Applaud and celebrate those that find themselves, and are out and proud as gay, lesbian, trans, bi, and queer individuals; I can assure you that they did not come to this place lightly, and being who you are takes a ton of courage. This is something that should be celebrated when it happens for anyone, because it marks a monumental phase in someone’s life; the moment when they are finally free to be who they are. Never let yourself fall into the space of questioning why someone has not come out if you believe them to be LGBTQ, because coming out isn’t as easy for everyone; trust me, it took me quite a while to get here myself.

So let’s celebrate today for what it is; a statement, a purpose, an understanding that someone finally get’s to be themselves. There really is no better feeling than the moment when you can finally say to yourself, and to the world…

I’m gay and proud, damn it!

…AND, I want everyone to know!! Happy Coming Out day, everyone!