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Let the Truth Come Out: National Coming Out Day 2012

National Coming Out Day

Coming out is the generally understood to be the act of an individual confirming something about themselves that was previously unknown, unconfirmed, or unspoken. While the term is usually associated with being transgender, gay or lesbian, it can also apply to being HIV-positive.

One comes out to confirm an identity that is considered unacceptable which is why one hides it. When someone comes out for the first time, the narrator may be revealing something fundamental about herself that she had hidden to avoid repercussions like getting fired, thrown out of her home, being humiliated or rejected.

When we come out to a brother, co-worker or friend, the anticipated response carries added weight. The impact of that response is charged by the depth of the relationship. The value we assign it is scaled by what that person means to us and what we seek from them.

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Three decades later, we must ACT UP again

“I check the mirror for spots, irregularities, telltale signs.” — from The Adodi Muse, “It Begins”

This is a peculiar anniversary that marks a generation, a span from birth to full grown, three full decades, since the onset of the greatest public health issue of our time.

Loss is what this commemoration signifies most. Loss beyond measure, rendered in memorial quilt snapshots of real lives lived, loss evoked in the chants of survivors who touched the untouchable, fed their beloved, wiped up the puke and shit, and were given neither a passing mention nor a place at the mourning table. I am 25 years old when I first feel swollen lymph glands. I have only just begun when “It begins.”

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‘In the Life’ paved way for generation of black gay men

I first learned that I had the power to become, to define myself beyond the circumstance of my birth, through the cultural pride my parents instilled in me and my brother. Our home was enriched with artifacts of black genius. There were books and albums of art titans such as Lorraine Hansberry, James Baldwin, the Temptations, Coltrane and Labelle. There was the framed “Free Angela Davis” portrait posted so high her regal afro nearly touched our living room ceiling.

Through the acknowledgment of record, this little black boy was shown his past and thus felt assured a place in the world. “When I speak of home, I mean not only the familial constellation from which I grew, but the entire black community: the black press, the black church, black academicians, the black literati, and the black left.”