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delfin bautista

Query a Queer: Coming out furious, tired for National Coming Out Day

The national celebration comes in the wake of the recent murder of yet another trans woman. 

Many have asked us at the LGBT Center, “What does National Coming Out Day mean to you?”  Below are excerpts from my reflections shared at the National Coming Out Day SpeakOUt on Friday Oct. 9, 2015.

Come out, come out whoever you are … come out, come out wherever you are … come out, come out as whatever awesomeness you are.

National Coming Out Day is a day to celebrate being out and being proud of who you are. For some of us, coming out can sometimes be glittery, it can sometimes be loud, it can also simply, yet powerfully, be living your life and never making a public proclamation. There is not a right or wrong, or better or queerer or rainbowest way to come out. You embody you, you express you, you be wholeheartedly you.

We have much to celebrate … June 26 marriage equality became the law of the land … Laverne Cox graced the cover of Time Magazine … Ohio University implemented a policy that recognizes and respects the identities of ALL students as reflected in their names and pronouns.

However on this National Coming Out Day, I come out angry … I come out tired … I come out ranting and raving. Last week Keisha Jenkins was brutally murdered in Philadelphia, she is the 20th trans woman to be killed this year — 18 of whom, like Keisha, are women of color. There are no words that reflect or capture my outrage, my fear, my confusion. We chant and rally with signs and hashtags of these lives matter and those lives matter, yet more and more it seems like lives are not mattering as lives are continuously silenced and ended by bigotry, violence, discrimination and well-intentioned inactions.

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On this 27th National Coming Out Day, I come out furious … I come out tired of playing nice and tired of being told that we need to take baby steps. I’m tired of seeing and experiencing the dynamic of oppressed groups having to adapt to the needs of the dominant and privileged group, tired of being told that we need to be patient because unlearning problematic behaviors takes time. Well I say hell no, we can’t wait … the struggle bus has left the station and this diva is flooring the gas pedal. The 20 women who have been killed clearly and tragically demonstrate that baby steps are not working in creating a society where “all are equal” truly means that “all are equal.” I come out pleading and come out demanding change now, not when it’s convenient for those in power, but now because Keisha’s life matters now and Keisha’s memory will not be silenced or forgotten.

I apologize if this is not the usual quirky, uplifting delfinism that people have come to expect.  Actually, no I don’t apologize … apologizing is not going to keep safe those who are out of the closet or those who are struggling to get out of the closet … sorry is not going to dismantle rape culture, transphobic culture, homophobic sexist and biphobic culture. On this National Coming Out Day, I invite all of us and I challenge all of us to come out ready to get dirty, ready to revolutionize, ready to be rainbows in the lives of others to paraphrase Maya Angelou. (Coming out is about) committing ourselves and recommitting ourselves and recommitting ourselves to ending violence in all its forms and expressions … the violence of misgendering a person by using the wrong pronouns … the violence of joking with phrases such as “that’s so gay” … the violence of unbridled bigotry that leads to heinous acts that dehumanize and end lives. Our coming out will counter this violence.

Come out, come out wherever and whoever you are. Come out as poly pan romantic, come out as queer, come out as gay, come out as genderfluid, come out as a fierce ally in whatever way you understand and embody allyship … come out as you and come out now. We need all of the queertastic bricks of revolutionary anger that will build a campus, a society, a world where all can truly be who they are without fear, without shame and without having to deal with isms … not tomorrow, not in a few days, not when it is convenient, but right now.

To close I quote my sheroe Gloria Anzaldúa, “I will no longer be made to feel ashamed of existing. (Coming out is) an act of kneading, of uniting and joining that not only has produced both a creature of darkness and a creature of light, but also a creature that questions the definitions of light and dark and gives them new meanings.”

May we all come out today, tomorrow and always … do it to it.

delfin bautista is the Director of the LGBT Center at Ohio University. Do you have a question relating to the LGBT community? Email them to, email them to, tweet @oulgbtcenter with #qaqueer or post on the center’s Facebook page, oulgbtcenter (you can also private message).


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