Heather Gold has written a fantastic piece about what coming out is really about:

“Coming out is not just about the gender of the people you desire. It’s about being your whole self, in public. It’s about honesty. It’s about transparency. It’s about difference and togetherness. It’s about self-acceptance, not waiting for the acceptance of others. It’s about integration. It’s about the whole cookie. I wish it, in all aspects of life, for you.”

This is the most brilliant explanation of why coming out is important I have ever seen. And it’s not just relevant for the LGB community either. It speaks to why it’s important for ALL aspects of diversity to be acknowledged, given head-space, entertained, celebrated. As Stonewall say, “People perform better when they can be themselves”.

I wrote an article a while ago for the FFLAG newsletter. Since I wrote it as a representative of my company and I prefer to keep my work and my blog separate, I won’t re-publish it here, but I’ll re-make the most salient point:

People talk about our society becoming more and more tolerant. Tolerance is not something to aim for, though. It’s the absolute baseline. Being tolerated just means not being killed. It means someone putting up with your existence. Sometimes in a very passive-aggressive way, but in more progressive countries it’s probably more like the way people tolerate visits to the dentist — not the way they’d prefer to spend an afternoon, but something that has to be done.

In my personal opinion what we should be aiming for is so much more than tolerance. It’s about celebrating diversity — the different experiences, histories, cultures, customs, memories, practices, viewpoints, attitudes. Everything from respecting the right of a devout Muslim woman to wear whatever veil she feels appropriate, to that of a gay man to wear leather hotpants and a pink feather boa if that’s what makes him feel comfortable.

As Heather would put it, it’s about the whole cookie.