National Coming Out Day

Today is National Coming Out Day, and we asked our staff and clinical interns to tell us what it means to them to come out and be out as LGBTQ. 
“Today it is more important than ever to be out. To be visible, engaged and vocal. When I came out in 1979, little did I know all that I would experience – AIDS , love, marriage, parenting. I am here, I am queer.” Ramon Matos
“I get to live free, I get to be myself w/o feeling a need to lead a ‘double life.’ Being a native San Franciscan has afforded me lifelong knowledge of a diverse world though not always the freedom to express my sexual identity—freely. Today I get to claim who I am, be who I am and enjoy the benefits of the hard work of myself and those before me in the continuing struggle to claim, demand and enjoy equality across all lines.” Erric White
“I’ve been embraced by family, friends, and a new community. I don’t have to be ashamed anymore.” Theresa F.
“I have the extraordinary privilege of being out at work, in my neighborhood, family and community. Living authentically and honestly creates a wellspring of goodness and for that I am so grateful.” DK Haas
“I feel so fortunate to work in my communities as an out and proud gay Latinx man and strive to help others come out as well and live their most authentic and meaningful lives.”
Braulio Garcia
“Being out means living a life that honors my spirit, enables me to have fulfilling relationships, guides my professional identity as a clinical social worker and creates energy to help others.”
 Xiaoming Hu
“As a teenager, I fell in love with my best friend, Dan. I realized then that I wasn’t just drawing outside the lines of social norms. No, I had left the page entirely. I imagined as a queer man I would have a solitary life without friends or loved ones and that I would end up in an anonymous, menial job. Maybe a bit dramatic but then again, I was an isolated teenager in a small town in the 70s, steeped in the rigid teaching of the right-leaning Bible belt. As the years passed and I found my way to merge my private and public life, I established a career that utilized my talents and had personal meaning to me as a gay man. I developed a supportive network of people including my friends, family of origin and family of choice, who celebrated the whole of me including my queerness. But the key to my journey was realizing the grace and freedom gained by ignoring the limitations dictated by the society of my upbringing.” George Harrison, MD
“Coming out is a privilege that I was blessed to have since the age of 16 . . . it has allowed me to have both internal and external freedoms in my life.” Alfie Pacheco
“Coming out means losing family, gaining family, having family. Coming out means I do not have to be polite and pretend you don’t know who I am. I know you see me, I know you recognize my flawless perfectly perfect me. Coming out means Donna Summer and Sylvester, Frameline, the queer/trans film festival followed by the Trans March followed by the Dyke March followed by the Pride Parade . . . Shea DiamondTroye SivanScissor SistersBig FreediaKelani. Celebrate. Don’t Hate.” Dee Hampton
“This is easy for me if it can be a quote from an artist I like:
‘And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it
took to blossom.’ Anais Nin” Jay Newberry