I wrote a couple of posts about “outing” someone. This is also about that…from a different perspective. It is also directed towards the people that would be outed.
I met and wanted to be friends with both Aj and Z. I felt that they were people I wanted to trust. That has been a correct assessment of both women. They have become people I trust. Here’s the catch. Aj is Pagan. Z is a lesbian. I didn’t know those things until after I had made my decision about them.
Because of my upbringing, I should be prejudiced against them. The faith I was raised in tells me that I should think that they both, for different reasons, are to be consigned to Hell. My past had taught me that they should be scorned and repressed. I find that I can not. Because of them, I can not help but to extend the same lack of prejudice to ANY Pagan or LBGT person. I was educated and taught that my past beliefs were wrong.
The best tool you have, as a member of a marginalized community, to teach is yourself. Your life and the way you live it can educate. You can remove prejudice by teaching us that we have no reason to fear you.
If it is safe, let people know about yourself. Let them see that you are a person of character and value that happens to be (fill in the blank). Let them see that you are no different in wanting something to believe or someone to love than they are. Let them appreciate your contribution to their life because of yours.
Having said all that, if it is NOT SAFE, please, please DO NOT come out. No amount of education is worth risking harm to yourself or your family. Not everyone is like me, willing to learn. I was taught by two great ladies. They saw something in me that made them trust me. If you do not see that, stay away. I’d rather that I try to teach than for you to take a risk. My words might be less effective but, protecting yourself is more important than being effective.
One last thought, I am a lucky person for knowing Aj and Z. It is to my benefit that they are in my life. I am truly grateful that they decided they could trust me. Because of Aj, there are now more Pagans that interact with my world. Since I don’t judge them through a religious filter, I get to interact with them as people. They are more open minded than most of the people I normally know. That’s a gain since my faith has persecuted their’s and they don’t hold it against me. Z, on the other hand, is Z. I get to write for her, confide in her, and go to her for prayer. Having someone that I want to stand up for has made me a better person. Because of who she is, I found the courage within myself to be a voice for her. You will never realize how much better a person and husband that has made me.