To many people, 11 October is a day no different from any other. But for some, it serves as a chance to reflect on being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community and what it means to come out. First celebrated in 1988, National Coming Out Day is rooted in the idea that the personal can also be political. Some view the concept of sharing your true identity with the world, and living openly, as a form of activism that challenges heteronormativity. Whereas in the present day, the focus has shifted slightly for many.
National Coming Out Day isn’t in place to force LGBTQIA+ people to come out. It’s a day to celebrate the beauty of being your own authentic self and the courage needed to share this important part of your life with others along with celebrating those who may come out to you. This year, Hinge and its Love and Connection Expert, Moe Ari Brown, are partnering with GAY TIMES to provide insights and advice for some of the Not-so Frequently Asked Questions (NFAQ) around coming out. For those who are unsure about their identities, the hope is to inspire feelings of joy, pride, and reassurance.
Many LGBTQIA+ people, particularly those yet to come out, struggle with finding supportive advice about their identity as they may not feel comfortable enough to ask others or don’t have a safe space where this is possible. Hinge wants to help queer daters navigate this journey more easily and access the information they need by answering their NFAQ.
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Dating often starting much later in life for queer folks due to the how the coming out process differs for everyone. It came as no surprise that one of the most commonly asked questions submitted by GAY TIMES readers was whether or not it’s fair to start dating someone when they haven’t told their friends about their sexuality and/or gender identity.
“Who you date and when you date is your choice,” Moe explains. “The primary person you have to be out to is yourself, so as long as you are clear about who you are, it’s okay to welcome other people into that process when you are ready.”
The reaction of family and friends can be one of the most daunting aspects of telling people about your identity, though it’s important to remember there’s never a need to come out unless you feel comfortable, ready and want to. Discussing this, Moe says: “I invite you to visualise being loved and having belonging for being your authentic self. Allow the power of that vision to give you the courage to share this part of yourself with your family and your friends and regardless of how they respond, know that you’ve overcome fear and you’ve honoured the most authentic vision you have for your life.”
National Coming Out Day gives those who are already out and those who are wanting to be more open a chance to focus on the importance and impact of coming out as a marker in embracing your full identity, not only for yourself but for those around you. Hinge hopes that by answering NFAQ about coming out, it will inspire, and maybe even simplify, the process of doing so for anyone that is still coming to terms with sharing their identity with others. “Through our visibility and our stories, we raise awareness so that phobias and isms dissipate with each generation,” Moe adds. “By living and loving proudly, we ensure that our voices are heard, and we are seen for generations to come.”
Have a NFAQ? You’re not alone. 80% of LGBTQIA+ daters on Hinge have struggled to find answers to their questions about relationships, self-discovery, gender, and sexuality. See what other inspiring voices like Moe have had to say at hinge.nfaq.co and submit your own.