Exgay activists affiliated with Exodus, Focus on the Family, and the American Family Association frequently attempt to shoehorn sexual strugglers into smallminded and unhealthy stereotypes. If you are “gay,” they insist, you must conform to one stereotype; if you are “Christian,” you must conform to another.
In an article about National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11), GayHealth.com reminds readers that it’s best — emotionally, physically and spiritually — to be yourself and not a label.
“Identifying yourself as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or something else is your own choice,” says Dr. Stephen Goldstone, Medical Director of GayHealth.com. “It’s important not to feel pressured to assume a specific identity just to please somebody else.”
In the same vein, coming out isn’t necessarily an “all or nothing” proposition, according to psychologist Greg Cason, who was the National Coordinator for the inaugural National Coming Out Day in 1988.
“Coming Out Day was never to compel anyone to come out, but to create a support structure whereby people could do something that furthered their identity,” says Cason, “to create a positive view about themselves and others and become closer to those around them.”
The article also offers a helpful glossary of common words like “gay” that are frequently redefined in conflicting or contradictory ways by different people:
Gay: One who has significant sexual or romantic attractions primarily to members of the same gender or sex, or who identifies as a member of the gay community. May be of any gender identity, but now the term is increasingly becoming associated with men while women may prefer to be called lesbians (see below). Other terms include “Queer.” Some men have sex with other men and don’t call themselves gay or bisexual. They are men who have sex with men.
(Hat tip: Gay News Blog.)