Narratives on Race, Sexuality, and Love on National Coming Out Day

To celebrate National Coming Out Day, Miriam Perez sends on these videos of people of color coming out, from Basic Rights Oregon.

The videos are poignant, and sometimes painful recollections of what it meant to come out. Siblings waiting for a moment of discussion that never comes; mothers wrestling with their religious beliefs and the love of their children; and children not coming out to their parents – or waiting for one parent to die to share the truth with the other parent.

There’s a great quote from Kevin: “It’s not good enough to be supportive of these things in general, or supportive of people in general. We tend to think the absence of hostility or the absence of negativity is support; but that’s not true. That’s nothing, it’s neutral. We, straight people, have to take responsibility for providing support.”

The video focused on Latinos (which is in English, subtitled in Spanish) featured Gisella Imar Contreras, a young woman who started life as male. Gisella’s story starkly differed from the others in the series, in that she was unable to reconcille with her family, and ultimately had to sever her family ties after coming out. Melanie Davis, also featured in the video, talked about how trying to conform to a heterosexual lifestyle drove her to alcohol addiction.

In the African-American focused video, Beryl “BJ” Jones talks about coming out in the 80s, and being challenged for the custody of her daughter. She lost custody – her daughter was raised by her mother, and she currently has a grandchild she isn’t allowed to visit. But most of the stories here focused on love, and the idea of creating “a beloved community.”

Happy Coming Out Day, all. Please love yourself – and let someone else know that they are loved.

This post originally appeared at Racialicious. Reprinted with permission.


  1. Belle of Acadie says:

    I am a lesbian in high school but I will not come out I know I would be in danger I am already harassed. The school environment would become almost unlivable if I did people would bully me all the time. It would be easier if I had to friends to protect me but I don’t. For my own safety, for my well-being I won’t tell anyone during the high school years but I’d like to move to the capital of this province and join an organization that supports gays where I can talk about who I am openly. There is GSA at my school but still… I’m almost done just want to get through high school with no more emotional trauma.

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